A Ross Township pest control expert says 2020 has been a busy year, partially because restaurants' and bars' dumpsters have been emptier.By Lisa Washington

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With restaurants and bars operating at a lower capacity because of the pandemic, not as much food and garbage is going into dumpsters. Without their usual food sources, pest control experts say the rodents are going into the suburbs to find food.

Pest control expert Dan Martin says 2020 has been busy for his pest control company, Budget Pest Control in Ross Township. He says people who live in the suburbs are calling him because they’re seeing rats and mice in their yards or basements, many for the first time.

“One of the major food sources for rats especially are garbage dumpsters outside restaurants and bars,” said Martin.

He added, “Because of the COVID-19 shutdowns most of those dumpsters have not been very full.”

Martin said rodents don’t mind leaving places like the Strip District and downtown to look for food.

“They can travel quite a ways and they will,” he told KDKA’s Lisa Washington. “They’re scavengers, they’re always looking for a different source of food and because their normal food source is not available, they’ve traveled out to the residential areas and have gone into people’s homes at a much higher rate than before.”

Martin says his team uses a combination of bait and rat and mouse traps to get rid of the rodents. There are things you can do too to help keep them away.

He explained, “First of all on the outside of your home, make sure that any garbage cans are tightly sealed so that there is not a food supply for the rats or the mouse. Also check around your home — around all of the different openings, around your doors, around your windows.”

And it’s not just homeowners who are seeing rats and other rodents in their homes. Commercial spaces downtown that now have lower occupancy because more people are working from home are also seeing an increase in rodents.