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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Experts warn a higher number of rats may soon try to move into homes and apartments across the Kansas City metro.

Pest control company The Pest Dude says its been unseasonably warm recently, but colder weather is on the way. Just like other animals, rats will be looking for warmer areas to escape winter.

“Rodents, above all other pests, are a public health concern as they can cause considerable damage to both residential and business premises. Not only can they damage the structures of both residential and business properties, but they can also significantly affect a business’ reputation,” Zachary Smith, The Pest Dude, said. “As temperatures continue to drop, we’re seeing increase in service calls as rats continue looking for somewhere warm to spend the winter. While most of us may associate rats with sewers and holes in the ground, brown rats are very nimble climbers, and can be found in attics and inside walls.”

Orkin, Inc., the Atlanta-based pest control company, agrees. It ranked Kansas City, Missouri, as the No. 27th “Rattiest City” in the country in 2022. While Kansas City fell out of the top 25 on the list in the latest ranking, it still comes in higher than St. Louis at No. 30.

There are some easy ways homeowners can either prevent or deal with a rat invasion.

Make sure all entry points, such as vents, to your home are sealed and clean up debris piles. You’ll also want to keep trees trimmed so branches are at least 3 feet away from the roof line.

Make sure all food in cabinets and your pantry is in sealed containers, and don’t leave fruit sitting on your counters.

Droppings and gnaw marks are signs of rats. Homeowners may also notice things like shredded attic insulation and cardboard that the rodents would use to make nests.