By Sharon Chin

SAN RAMON (KPIX 5) — Some East Bay neighborhoods are facing a growing problem with rats, and with a potentially powerful El Nino weather system headed our way this winter, the problem could get worse, and expensive for residents trying to eradicate them.

Janet Soderstrom first spotted rats in her San Ramon garage in August, where they chewed through her insulation, laundry tub, and gnawed through the brake fluid cap in her car.

“I actually had to sneak into the garage at night to see them,” Soderstrom said.

The rat control company she hired set traps in her garage, sealed her house with cement and screens, and gave her a one year warranty.  After the cost of her automotive repairs, Soderstrom had spent about $1,000.

“Who has $1,000 to spend for something as unexpected as this,” Soderstrom said.

She misses the weapons she used to use – a toxic rat poison that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation said consumers could no longer purchase.  Now, only professionals can use the poison to kill rodents.

Despite the availability, even the professionals choose not to use the strongest poisons, as it can sometimes be more effective to inspect, then seal the home from rodents using non-toxic traps.

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