Pest Control Expert Reveals What the “Year of the Rat” Really has In-Store for Rodents

Kari Warberg Block, CEO/Founder of EarthKind®, dives into what homeowners should expect for a year when rats will be top of mind.

January 25th’s Lunar New Year rung in 2020 as the year of the metal rat. The first in the cycle of Chinese zodiac signs, the metal rat symbolizes renewal, success, and favorable outcomes for all signs this year. But beyond cultural personifications, Kari Warberg Block, CEO/Founder of award-wining plant-based pest prevention brand EarthKind®, emphasizes that it really may be the ‘year of the rat,’ and not in the metaphorical sense.

“In 2019, rat and mouse populations, particularly in urban areas, surged. And while there are a number of factors for this including accessibility to food waste and gentrification, warmer weather is certainly a culprit, too,” she states, “Rodents typically shut down and stop breeding once winter hits, so shorter winters and warmer weather equate to more breeding time throughout the year, and they breed fast. To put it in perspective, just 2 rats can turn into 1,250 rats in one year!”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2019 was declared as the second hottest year on record in 140 years, and the past four years have ranked as the hottest in recorded history, with 2016 holding the number one slot. Warberg Block explains that following this pattern, we can expect 2020 to come with lots of rats and mice. However, she emphasizes that “rodents shouldn’t always get such a bad rep.”

Ironically, a group of rats is called a ‘mischief,’ and along with other rodents, they are estimated to invade around 21 million homes each winter. But just because they aren’t wanted in the home, doesn’t mean they aren’t needed for the planet.

“Chinese culture gets it right when they say that ‘rats’ are highly intelligent. They also have a great memory, are highly social creatures, and have even demonstrated empathy and affection. But most important, despite our aversion to them, rats and other rodents serve a vital role to the balance of our eco-system, both for the food-chain and for spreading seeds for tree and plant growth. However, this doesn’t mean to say that they don’t come with risks,” she explains.

According to Advanced IPM, rodents can carry and spread disease in addition to causing roughly $20 billion in damage to homes, businesses and agriculture in the US every year. With a few cold winter months left, Warberg Block notes that rodents will “still be trying to sneak into homes while looking for shelter.” Instead of using dangerous rodenticides and traps, she strongly encourages keeping them out with preventative measures.

“Start with these DIY tips: eliminate rodents’ food source by storing foods in airtight containers and keeping trash in a bin with a tightly fitted lid. Seal potential entry points, like gaps around the openings for electrical wires, along with gaps in windows, door ledges, holes underneath doors,” she says, “I hope everyone thinks twice before using harmful rodenticides, as they pose serious risks to curious children and pets, and cause second-hand poisoning in wildlife creatures. Opt for a sustainable, poison-free repellent, like EarthKind’s Stay Away® Botanical Rodent Repellent pouch.”


Stay Away® Botanical Rodent Repellent is federally registered by the U.S. EPA for use in all 50 states and District of Columbia and functions without killing or the use of harmful chemicals. Formulated with a patented blend of plant fibers and essential oils, Stay Away® Botanical Rodent Repellent effectively keeps rodents out of the home, guaranteed, without harm to you, the planet or the pest. EarthKind’s Stay Away® Botanical Rodent Repellent is safe for use around children and pets when used as directed.

“Preserving the good and preventing the rest through a cycle of kindness has always been at the root of EarthKind’s purpose,” comments Warberg Block, “I started EarthKind® to save farmers and families from costly rodent damage. My intention was never to poison or kill them, but to invent a safer, eco-friendly alternative. We need these creatures. In addition to the beautiful celebration of the Lunar New Year, perhaps the ‘Year of the Rat’ will have people thinking more positively about rats, too.”

Media interested in receiving additional information or speaking with CEO/Founder of EarthKind®, Kari Warberg Block, please contact Sara White at [email protected] or 212-693-2150.

About EarthKind® 
Founded by leading pest prevention expert Kari Warberg Block, EarthKind® is a pioneer in natural prevention for families and households everywhere. EarthKind is a pest prevention brand that manufactures naturally powerful and effective pest solutions that keep pests away, without killing or poisoning them. All EarthKind® products are designed by inventive artists, scientists and engineers who care about the earth, made in the USA with 80% of the materials sourced from American farms and the company is providing handicapped individuals with meaningful employment. Kari was awarded the 2019 GMDC Retail Champions of Change award for her role as an inspirational industry retail leader, and was named to the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman Class of 2012, 2013 ND SBA Small Business Person of the Year and National Second Runner Up. Her latest product line, Stay Away® was the winner of the 2015 NEXTY People’s Choice Award for Best New Product of the Year. Learn more at and on social media: 
Instagram: @earthkindinc 

EarthKind Celebrates the “Year of the Rat”

Chinese culture gets it right when they say that ‘rats’ are highly intelligent. They also have a great memory, are highly social creatures, and have even demonstrated empathy and affection. But most important, despite our aversion to them, rats and other rodents serve a vital role to our ecosystem.