About the rat problem in New York City

Rats are very prevalent in New York City. Until 2015 New York City had been the ‘rattiest’ city in the USA. Statisticians and pest control agencies had for a long time believed the number of rats to be four times as many as the population of human beings. In 2014, this belief was proven wrong. Better estimation methods were employed, and it was concluded that the number of rats was 25% of the human population.

There are different types of rats in New York. However, the Norway rat, which is brown in color, is the most prevalent. The Norway rat is highly mischievous due to its small size. The adult is only 16 inches and weighs a maximum of 0.9kg (2 pounds). The small size allows this rat to squeeze through tiny gaps- gaps as small as 2cm. The rat has high survival skills. It can leap vertically to a height of 120cm, swim in water for as long as three days and survive a five-story drop. Rats reproduce at the age of two months and mate once every two months- this explains why the rat population is ever growing. The rat has a lifespan of about one year.

There are reasons why New Yorkers report incidences of rats. Rats destroy property and are harmful to human health. They carry disease-causing organisms that have the potential of causing diarrhea and fever. The pathogens they carry are transmitted to humans once they come into contact with their saliva and urine. Rat complaints in New York are reported through calling 311 or making online complaints on the city’s website.

The health department of the city is the authority responsible for rat eradication. The health department inspects both private and public property for these rodents. The health department is not liable for chasing out the vermin; the owner of the property has the responsibility. In case, the property fails a second test the owner of the asset is held accountable and can be fined. The owner will have to pay the health department if they have to exterminate the rats.

The health department uses the methods such as poison, contraceptives and traps. These methods will control the rat population, but eradicating the rats completely impossible. In the recent past, the health department has employed modern methods of rat control. The method used currently is the integrated pest management. This process is focused on learning the behavior of the rats. The health department insists on building integrity- building property that discourages rats. Sealing gaps around the property is a good start.

Rats are a menace. Their eradication starts by New Yorkers learning methods of controlling them.

Go back to the How to get rid of rats home page.

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