Waipahu family's rat problem fixed almost overnight

Adeline Marks
Adeline Marks

By Leland Kim - bio | email

WAIPAHU (KHNL) - Gratitude and a peace of mind for a Waipahu family whose rodent problem is behind them. The Marks family is finally rat-free after months of sharing their apartment with rodents.

"We're very pleased," said Adeline Marks. "Now we can get a good night's sleep."

They tried resolving the problem by going to their landlord, but they didn't get much help. In desperation, they called our "Talk Story" line.

We went over to talk to the Marks family on Tuesday. After our story aired, four months of rat problems were fixed almost overnight.

The Marks family reached their breaking point on Tuesday, after living with rats for four months. A dead one was found in their kitchen stove.

"I was disgusted," said Marks. "I was very upset."

Just three days later, the family's much happier. Right after we covered their story, the apartment management sprung into action.

"I'm just very thankful that you folks had came and did this report because I was so amazed that how fast they had fixed everything and they finally went into the attic and took care of the problem," said Marks.

They put rat traps in the attic, and filled in holes near the kitchen sink. They also took care of a problem with the back kitchen door.

Just a couple days ago, the bottom part of the door frame was hollow. After our story aired, they patched up the hole.

Now the apartment is sealed, thanks to a cooperative management team.

"The manager says if there's any more rats or any more problems, just let him know and he'll come and fix it," said Marks' husband Anthony.

"Much more responsive than previous occasions?" asked KHNL.

"Yes," he answered.

The Marks family says they no longer hear rats at night, and they couldn't be happier.

"We moved here four months ago but I never really felt like this was home, and I always dreaded coming home and now, I actually look forward to coming home," said Marks. "It gives me a piece of mind and I just feel like we're finally home."

An inspector with the state Department of Health came back for a follow-up inspection Friday morning. Everything is now up to standard.

Having rat problems isn't unique to the Marks family. In the past 12 months, the Department of Health's Vector Control Branch investigated 870 rat cases on Oahu, up four percent from the previous year. The increase on the east part of Oahu is higher, up 14 percent.

Inspectors usually use tamperproof traps attached to a cement block, so children and pets cannot get to them. They say the rat population typically increases early spring when there's an abundance of food and water. As conditions get drier during the summer, rats then migrate to residential areas.

"Sometimes during the year, we'll see mice population explosion, and we'll see the mice move in around people's homes where they have water in their yards, or have pet food out and the grass is green and they're looking for food," said Greg Olmsted, program manager for the Department of Health's Vector Control Branch.

"The garbage can, if not covered well, really attracts rat and mice coming in the home," said Dr. Pingjun Yang, an entomologist with the Department of Health. "Any holes, even pipes getting in the house, should be sealed with metal screens, and under the door."

If you decide to use traps to take care of the problem, the health department has some advice:

1. They say make sure you read labels and follow directions.

2. Don't use poison inside the house because it can harm pets or children.

3. If you use poison outside, make sure you put them in tamperproof traps.

4. If you still have problems, call Vector Control at 483-2535.