NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- After Hurricane Sandy flooded parts of New York City there was speculation whether rats would survive, but a city official says the streets look normal.
"We haven't seen an increase in rats above ground caused by Hurricane Sandy," Sam Miller, assistant commissioner for public affairs at the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told New York magazine. "Flooding often displaces rats but also drowns young rats in their burrows and that can reduce the rat population."
Some speculated the surviving rats would be disoriented and become a health threat.
However, Miller insisted, "no research has demonstrated an increased health risk from flushed rats from underground."
In any event, the hurricane and the approaching winter make it a good time for all U.S. residents to examine their home for places where rodents might seek shelter for winter.
"The storm, coupled with the cooler weather, can drive rodents inside to overwinter and breed," said Dave Bridge, Atlantic division technical services director at Orkin, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins Inc.
Orkin recommends five tips to help prevent rodents from making their home inside your home:
-- Make sure all holes, gaps and cracks around doors and windows larger than one-quarter of an inch are sealed, as mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime.
-- Replace door sweeps, and make sure doors and windows close tightly.
-- Clean out gutters, and install gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating.
-- Store firewood as far from the home as possible.
-- Trim branches, plants and bushes that hang over the home.