Published in the July 27, 2018 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Town officials say they have received several complaints recently about rodents and other wildlife pests, including rats.

Some residents feel the reason why there has been an increase in rodent sightings in the area of Armory Street, West Water Street and near North Avenue is because of the construction of a new multi-story, mixed use building at 175 North Ave.

When asked about this, a local health officer explained that the rodent sightings have nothing to do with new construction since the Health Department requires rodent abatement work to be complete before signing off on any needed permitting.

As one way to deal with the recent rodent complaints, the Animal Control and Health departments held an informational meeting on July 17 in the Public Safety Building to let the public know what can be done to control rodent problems around their properties.

Following are some tips, recently posted on-line.

“With basic animal proofing, you should secure any trash you keep indoors or outdoors in firm garbage bags or containers (with fitted lids!). Be sure to not leave your trash outdoors for long periods of time before or after the garbage pick-up time.

“A disorganized space tends to attract wildlife because it provides food and shelter. To reduce clutter, discard any unused materials such as, boxes, yard waste, and trash. Along with eliminating shelter and hiding places, get rid of any weeds in your yard, and cut the grass consistently. Trimming the bushes and the trees on your property will also reduce the threat of rodents because it reduces potential shelter.

“Many people overlook the small steps they can take to check and rodent-proof their houses. To make sure your house is rodent-free, take a look at these simple, yet effective, suggestions.

• Check your basement for any small holes or cracks. Rodents can enter houses through the smallest of holes in this area. If you do find one, you can seal it with mortar or plaster

• Rodents and other wildlife can gnaw their way through wood. Use concrete for any repairs you make to the basement’s foundation or floor.

• Screens on the windows are a very important factor in safety from any sort of wildlife. Sheet wire mesh is a sturdy material that can be used to stop rodents and other animals from gnawing their way into your home

• Use sheet metal frame and metal guards on all points of entry (openings on vents, windows, pipes, wires)

• Keep all outside doors shut, and secure the area beneath the doors with a metal trim, concrete, or plaster

• Don’t leave waste, pet food, or any source of water outside or accessible to animals

• In the kitchen, seal up all your food in glass or metal containers with a secure lid.

• Don’t store food in the lower cabinets

• Clean up any crumbs or food off of the tables and counters

• Harborage, shelter for wildlife, is a large factor in the increase of wildlife and rodent population. Harborage provides a favorable spot for wildlife to have shelter, and breed. These are some of the places to keep an eye out for.

• Abandoned vehicles: if the vehicle is on private property, the property owner is responsible for the removal of the vehicle

• Abandoned buildings: should be boarded up properly

• Abandoned appliances: washing machines, refrigerators, stoves, and dryers should be disposed of properly

“Lumber: stack your lumber twelve to eighteen inches above the ground, away from walls or fences.”