Watch out for rats in Baltimore

Watch out for rats trying to get into your home over the winter.

As fall turns to winter and temperatures continue to drop, pests will do anything they can to force their way inside your home. Unfortunately for residents of Baltimore that translates to an increased likelihood of rodents in the house. According to Animal Planet, the Charm City is one of the top-10 most rat-infested cities across the world.

In fact, the city's rat population got so bad that Baltimore Metro union workers filed formal complaints with the Maryland Transportation Administration earlier this year, according to the Baltimore Sun. The group maintained that it was time for the city to address the growing number of rats infiltrating the subway system. David McClure, president of the Baltimore Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, described the conditions workers are dealing with:

"We have pictures of a rat that looks like a baby kangaroo," he said. "No one should have to come and work in these types of conditions. They have my members inside a booth and you have baby rats under the floorboards, [and] huge rats that have been running around in the stations."

If you live in Baltimore or the surrounding areas, you should make an extra effort to protect your own home from an infestation in the coming months. Here are a few easy tips to help prevent rats from entering your home:

Find and seal possible points of entry
Rats are infamous for being able to squeeze through small spaces. Make sure you perform a thorough examination of the exterior of your house, looking for areas a rat could get into. You can seal the gaps and holes you do find with thin sheet metal, steel wool or a wire screen, according to the University of California's Integrated Pest Management Program.

Install weather stripping around all your doors and windows
Weather stripping is a simple, cost-effective way to keep the warm air inside of your home and the frigid air out. Moreover, the tool is an effective rat deterrent. Make sure all the windows throughout your house are lined with weather stripping and don't forget to put it underneath your doors!

Pick up crumbs, spills and other messes
With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas at its heels, there will probably be plenty of holiday food consumed at your home. It's important to vacuum or sweep up crumbs, spills and food particles as soon as you notice them. Rats and other rodents have a great sense of smell, which draws them to even the tiniest amounts of food. Get rid of messes sooner rather than later to ensure rats don't get the chance to locate the food they smell.

Store food the right way
In the same vein, it's a good idea to check that the foods you're keeping in the pantry are properly sealed. Do your best to close every container with an airtight lid so that smells can't get out and rats can't get in!