More aggressive rats and busier exterminators during COVID-19

Hosted by

Kat Herrera, owner of Kat’s Pest Solutions, stands in front of a hot pink company Jeep alongside her team of professional exterminators. Photo by Orion Michael Alvarado.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, rats seem to be more prominent in every major city. Kat Herrera, owner of Kat’s Pest Solutions in South Pasadena, says her business has nearly tripled.  

“It’s almost like they’ve evolved,” she says of the rats. “They were already pretty smart and tenacious, but I feel like they’ve become smarter. I joke around with clients and say … they’re reading Google to try and figure out how to outsmart us.”

When LA restaurants shut down indoor dining, rats had to get scrappy for food. Urban rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan says, “When those rats got up in the morning … and came out to look for the restaurant garbage and everybody else’s commercial garbage, there was nothing there. And so these rats, just like any other mammal, went into starvation mode. They are more aggressive in trying to find food.”