Rat complaints drop dramatically in Montgomery County

KENSINGTON, Md. (WJLA) - Three years ago, Montgomery County was perplexed after a dramatic spike in residents and restaurants reporting rats.

That trend has bottomed out, officials say, but with rat complaints way down, county workers have no idea why it happened so suddenly.

Homeowners in many parts of the county, including Denise Kort, remember June 2010 - the month where Norwegian rats invaded her neighborhood. However, new data shows a promising trend.

In 2004, Montgomery County received nearly 1,700 rat complaints. It dropped to less than 600 in 2008 and just 167 last year - a 90 percent drop over those 9 years.

County officials are applauding the news, but are clueless as to why the rats, seemingly all of a sudden and on their own, vanished.

"We have no positive reason why they're down, but they're down," Kenny Welch, the Environmental Health Director of Montgomery County Health and Human Services, said. "It appears we're doing something correctly."

County employees regularly pass out brochures telling people to avoid planting certain fruit trees, tossing food in compost piles and using bird seed, which all cuts off a rat's food supply.