By Ryan Hill

AUBURN (CBS13) – There’s been an explosion in mice and rats in Sacramento, and a new state law could be to blame.

Linda Oddo has an unwelcome house guest at her Auburn home.

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“I hadn’t seen the rats before; and, in the last few months I’m now seeing the rats at night,” Oddo said.

Calls are going through the roof for pest control companies because of what is being found in some clients’ homes.

“It’s been massive. It’s everywhere. It’s not just certain areas. It’s all over Sacramento,” Angel Salazar, S&S Pest Management, said.

“Our company has gotten a many-fold level of increase for specific requests for services for rats,” Darren Van Steenwyk, Clark Pest Control, said.

It’s the time of year for more rodents to rear their heads. Companies say this year is different in part because of a new law.

“The primary product that we used to use, second-generation anti-coagulants, became illegal to use around homes,” Van Steenwyk said.

In September 2020, California signed into law a ban on those commonly used rat poisons. Salazar and others can level with the goal of preventing other animals and wildlife from eating the poisoned rats. But it’s giving them little wiggle room to get rid of the rats.

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“They’re used to one thing, and when you have a sudden change like that, it kind of like scares them and they don’t go to it as quickly as they used to,” Salazar said.

CBS13 wanted to find out why these rodents aren’t taking to this new form of pest control. Van Steenwyk said the new poisons aren’t as palatable as the old ones to rats. They’re also more easily figuring out that the new product is poisonous and are communicating that to other members of the colony, which makes them become bait-shy.

“Now, it doesn’t matter what we do because they won’t enter any bait station — whether there’s toxic in it, whether there’s a snap trap or even just a monitoring block,” Van Stennwyk said.

Van Steenwyk also added that there was an antidote for the old poisons in the event another animal or household pet happened to get into a bait station to treat the symptoms. The new products do not, according to Van Steenwyk.

Another thing is that the new products take weeks, not days, to affect the rats.

“Oh! I’d love that. If we could find Pied Piper to get rid of the rats. But, right now, it’s up to the pest control companies and their hands are tied,” Oddo said.

Pest control companies CBS13 also spoke to say the pandemic is creating an issue when it comes to the increased rat problems.

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Some said with more people staying at home, it’s leading to more rats in more rural areas searching and finding food.