New pilot program to help combat rat problem

August 13, 2013 3:24:07 PM PDT
It is a growing and rather gross problem, rats in New York City.

Well now the Upper West Side of Manhattan is taking a new tactic to get rid of the annoying rodents.

The city wants residents to report when they discover rat nests, so workers can plug them up with an experimental material normally used on construction sites.

Go ahead, ask people on West 87th Street about the rat problem on their block.

"It's horrible, it's at times horrible. During the day you see them running back and forth, and they're as big as rabbits," one resident said.

That's one reason why City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who represents Manhattan's Upper West Side, hopes a gravel-like material called stalite will help drive the rats away.

Starting in September, the city will mix the porous non-toxic material into 30 tree pits around the neighborhood. Stalite is not a pesticide. The goal is to keep the rats from nesting.

"We're going to see if that stops them from coming out if they're in, or keeps them out and from developing a burrow," said Gail Brewer, city councilwoman.

What brings out the rats? Well, certainly construction drives them to the surface. Garbage cans with holes for sure will attract rats.

There are some rat control measures taken on 87th Street. They have mesh at the bottom of a basement doorway. In a tree pit there are rocks and even a 7-and-a-half pound barbell weight placed to keep the rats from burrowing.

Some people still put their garbage in plastic cans and that's not so good. Well-constructed, tightly sealed, bins for tenants to place their trash in are much better.

The city will monitor and then share the results of this rat control pilot program later this year.