ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County says the emergence of the 2021 Brood X cicadas could trigger an increase in the rat population.
Health officials believe cicadas offer a food source for the rats while they are here and that the rodents could then continue to seek out other food sources in the same areas once the insects leave.
During the 2004 cicada invasion, Montgomery County health inspectors say they received hundreds of additional residential and commercial rat complaints.
Montgomery County health officials offer the following tips for homeowners and property owners:
-Do not put food out for stray animals, use a catch-tray under bird feeders and keep all pet food indoors and in tightly sealed containers.
-Get rid of clutter on your property. Clutter can provide places for rats to hide, sleep, nest and reproduce. Control weeds and shrubs so that rats cannot burrow under bushes and plants.
-Manage your garbage by bringing garbage cans and bags to the curb as close to pick up as possible. Leaving them out overnight can invite rats. Make sure that you have enough trash cans to store trash between weekly pick-ups and use hard, plastic or metal cans with tight-fitting lids.
According to Montgomery County Code, Chapter 39, it is unlawful for property owners to allow their property to be infested.
Residents can call 240-777-3986 to report rat infestations.