Published in the September 8, 2016 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Residents in a few West Side neighborhoods have seen an infiltration of rats over the last month or so, with one Highland Avenue homeowner capturing six of them in traps set up in the yard.

This on-going problem was addressed recently by the Board of Health, which sent letters to people on Frank Street, Gould Street, Highland Avenue and Cedar Street.

The letter is as follows:

A number of people in this neighborhood have notified us about an increase in rodent activity. This is an issue in many communities this year. Below is a list of things you can do to control the wildlife and rodent population in your area.

If you decide to hire a pest control operator, check that they are licensed and practice “integrated pest control (IPM).” This is a system of prevention, monitoring and control which offers the opportunity to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of pesticides and to minimize the toxicity of and exposure to any products which are used. IPM does this by utilizing a variety of methods and techniques, including cultural, biological and structural strategies.

Animal-proof your home by following these simple guidelines:

• Use sheet wire mesh and sheet metal frame on openings that are located on vents and windows. These materials will prevent wildlife and rodents from gnawing and gaining entry into your house.

• Metal guards should be used around pipes and wires. Be sure to seal entries carefully so that they will be secure.

• Basement floor and foundation entries must be repaired with concrete. Wood should not be used to seal off entries found in these locations. Rodents are able to gnaw through wood.

• Seal all holes in walls with plaster.

Get rid of harborages: Harborage provides homes for wildlife and convenient places for them to nest and breed.

• Abandoned appliances: (Washing machines, stoves and old refrigerators) should not be stored on the property. They should be removed and disposed of properly.

• Rubbish and garbage: All rubbish and garbage must be stored in rodent proof containers with tight fitting covers. All Dumpsters should be kept closed and prevented from overflowing. Remove all source of water that would be accessible to wildlife.

• Tall grass and weeds: should be kept short enough to prevent rodents from nesting and hiding.

• Stacks of lumber: provides comfortable places for rodents to nest and breed. To prevent this, stacks of lumber should be neatly stacked 12 to 18 inches above the ground and spaced away from walls or fences.

Other guidelines:

• Do not feed your pets outside or leave pet food containers outside.

• If you observe wildlife activity, do not continue to use bird feeders, bird baths or feed birds in other ways.