According to a council member, the population of rats that once infested Manhattan’s East 86th Street has been significantly reduced.
According to Councilmember Julie Menin, she has found a solution to the rat problem that involves exterminators pumping carbon monoxide into the burrows in sidewalk tree pits. This method has proven to be remarkably successful on East 86th Street between Second Avenue to Park Avenue, and thus, she plans to expand its usage to other areas of the neighborhood.
Menin spoke about the success of a mitigation effort that began on East 86th Street, a corridor that had received numerous complaints due to the abundance of retail stores and trash accumulation. Over 100 rat burrows were eliminated through this technique, which has prompted Menin to launch the same initiative on other streets within the district.
Mayor Eric Adams has made the eradication of rats a crucial aspect of his administration’s agenda. While some tactics have proven to be less effective than others, initiatives like the sterilization of rats in Bryant Park failed to produce desired results. In fact, despite deploying a drowning device near his garbage cans, the mayor himself was fined for rat infestations outside his Bedford-Stuyvesant home. However, there are indications of progress, with citywide rat complaints on the decline and new approaches to garbage collection that are limiting the rodents’ access to free trash meals. In West Harlem, for instance, shared trash bins have been introduced to address the issue of unsightly trash piles that rats often feed on.
According to Menin, her knowledge about the carbon monoxide approach to extermination was gained through researching similar efforts in other cities such as Boston. Subsequently, she enlisted the services of a local exterminator, Urban Pest Management, to fumigate the burrows located in tree pits. This initiative was initiated in the previous year.
According to a release from her office, the application of this method resulted in an eradication rate of almost 100% in the tree pits. The results were impressive and showcased the effectiveness of the approach.
Menin has set aside $30,000 to fund additional sanitation efforts. The exterminators will be using Burrow Rx, which are mobile machines that inject carbon monoxide into rat burrows, eliminating the rodents while they rest.
According to Matthew Deodato, the president of Urban Pest Management, the carbon monoxide that seeps out from burrows is not harmful to humans, pets or other animals. This is because it dissipates into the air, just like exhaust from vehicles, which is only dangerous in the absence of sufficient ventilation.
Deodato, the creator of Burrow Rx, has ingeniously incorporated the use of vegetable oil to produce smoke. This approach allows him to easily monitor the direction of the fumes and ensure that no harmful carbon monoxide is making its way towards underground offices or homes without proper ventilation.
As he carries a spiked garden hoe, Deodato aims to ensure that any rats that escape the fumes are finished off. He, however, tries to avoid killing the rodents in public spaces.
According to him, individuals still have a strong emotional reaction towards witnessing the death of any living being. Even if it’s a rat, it can cause distress and discomfort to some people.
According to a statement from Menin’s office, Andrew Fine, the secretary and treasurer of the East 86th Street Association, expressed his satisfaction with the program’s success in eliminating 100 burrows. He noted that the street only requires “occasional maintenance of one or two” burrows now. Fine believes that the program has been a resounding success.
According to Menin, this solution may not be the ultimate cure for all of New York City’s rat issues, but it certainly serves as a highly efficient method to tackle the problem of rats in tree pits.
According to the latest update, the program initiated by the concerned authority will now be implemented in additional locations due to an increase in complaints from the residents. One such location is East 75th Street, specifically between Second and Third Avenues, where the rat problem has escalated. The issue is attributed to the ongoing construction work and overflowing garbage outside Robert Wagner Middle School.
During his visit to the block, Deodato drew our attention towards a hole present in the tree pit located at the back of the school. According to him, a rat had attempted to carry a bag of apple slices into the burrow. He skillfully maneuvered the Burrow Rx hose deep into the hole and started pumping.
According to him, if there is no way out, they simply drift off into unconsciousness and eventually succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.
There were no sightings of rats.