A few rats may have slipped over the border from Clintonville to Worthington, but they do not seem to be setting up a new homestead in Colonial Hills.
After receiving reports of rats in the subdivision on the city's south side, officials from Columbus Public Health inspected the area where the rodents were reported.
After inspecting 22 homes in the immediate vicinity, they found positive evidence of rats in two homes and a possible indication in one.
The houses are on Loveman Avenue and Kenbrook Drive and are not next to each other, according to the report presented to Worthington City Council on May 19.
During its May 5 meeting, council heard from several Colonial Hills residents who reported rat sightings and killings in the 400 block of Loveman Avenue.
Some suggested the rodents were finding cover at a home in the 400 block of Loveman Avenue, where bamboo is grown.
The health department team inspected that house and found no evidence of rats or of rats having been on the property and leaving for neighboring homes.
Council member Dave Norstrom said he hopes the residents who targeted one neighbor realize they were wrong.
Three council members, including Norstrom, live in Colonial Hills.
He said he appreciated the situation being brought to council's attention.
Following that meeting, Worthington contacted the Columbus health department, with which it contracts for health services.
The department, which is experienced in addressing rat infestations, including the one in recent months in Clintonville, which is immediately south of Colonial Hills, went to the neighborhood and put door hangers on all houses within 200 feet of the eight homes where rats were reported.
They inspected the 22 homes where residents allowed them access. That is when they found two, possibly three, indications of rats.
The inspectors also left door hangers at the homes where no one answered the door and will return to do inspections if they are called.
Columbus Public Health does not recommend an eradication program at this time, assistant City Manager Robyn Stewart told council.
Instead, residents need to be informed about how to make the environment less attractive to rats, she said, adding that the city would follow up with the three residences where some evidence of rats was found.
The health department recommends getting rid of rats by making sure residents do not feed them or give them a place to stay.
Some specific tips include cleaning up pet feces daily; not leaving cat food or dog food and water outside; cleaning up bird food from the ground; making sure compost bins keep rats out; using garbage containers with tight lids; covering openings to houses, garages and other structures and drains; not keeping junk like old cars in a yard; and stacking building materials, lumber and fire wood at least 18 inches off the ground.
The health department encourages residents who want to use poison to work with a licensed applicator because rat poison is dangerous to cats and dogs.
Strict regulations apply to the use of rat poison, and licensed applicators are aware of the laws, according to information from Columbus Public Health.