Worthington leaders will meet with the Columbus Public Health next week to try to find a way to exterminate an infestation of rats in a Colonial Hills neighborhood.
Approximately six to eight households in the vicinity of the 400 block of Loveman Avenue have reported seeing and killing rats in the past two months.
"I personally have seen (at least seven times) huge black rats crossing the street and walking around the neighborhood, and I now have an infestation in my garage," Shawn Haybron wrote in an email to the city last week.
He lives at 482 Loveman Ave. and was one of a dozen Colonial Hills residents who attended the Worthington City Council meeting on Monday night, May 5.
The rats have been found in sheds and garages and have been seen eating from bird feeders. One resident said his cats brought home a dead rat in the 500 block of Park Boulevard. Park is one block from Loveman.
"It's a health issue for us," said Connie Davis, who lives two doors from Haybron.
Both say they believe rats are being drawn to the neighborhood by the bamboo being grown in the yard of the house between their two houses.
The towering bamboo also draws swarms of birds, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, neighbors said.
Some residents said they had to hire help to dig the bamboo from their own yards because it spreads easily.
Bamboo is not prohibited in Worthington. It is not on the list of noxious weeds mentioned in the city code.
To include bamboo in the plants that are prohibited, the city would need to declare it to be "other undesirable vegetation" in the noxious-weed section, according to a memo from Assistant City Manager Robyn Stewart.
She reported that there are two types of bamboo: clumping and running.
The running type tends to be very challenging to contain and has been outlawed in some areas of the country, Stewart said.
"The staff is aware of a number of properties throughout Worthington that have bamboo, so restrictions or prohibition of bamboo would likely affect a number of locations," Stewart wrote.
"How do we know if plants have anything to do with it?" council member Bob Chosy said.
City Manager Matt Greeson said that would be one of the topics discussed with the health department's personnel.
Other residents of the neighborhood might be asked to permit the health department to enter their properties as they try to find a solution to the problem, he said.