Bedford-Stuyvesant

BP shows off carcasses of 90 ‘humanely’ killed rats, calls for more of them

Ever wondered what a bucket full of dead, pickled rats looks like?

September 5, 2019 Kelly Mena
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Following the successful capture and “humane” killing of more than 100 rats in one month around Brooklyn Borough Hall and Cadman Plaza, local officials are calling for the expansion of the pilot program to rat nests citywide.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council member Robert Cornegy, who represents Bedford-Stuyvesant (a neighborhood that has experienced an uptick in rat sightings in the last year) showed off a big bowl of preserved rat soup on Thursday to make their point that rat trapping — not poison — is the best way to get rid of Brooklyn’s least favorite neighbors.

A dead rat is dragged up from the depths. Eagle photo by Kelly Mena

“Rats don’t go to a place where they smell dead rats. So when you use the device like ‘rat candy’ (poison) that the city uses, once the rat dies, the other rats won’t go and eat that food,” said Adams. “But with this device, rats are in here and concealed. They still climb up following the urine track of other rats, because they think it’s a safe environment. By having them contained here, that is how we are able to make sure to keep them in one place.”

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Borough Hall was recently outfitted with a trap known as an “ekomille” for a 30-day period between August and September. The device uses bait (nuts and other small, rat-cajoling foods) to lure vermin into an enclosed space, activating a trap door. The trap door opens up and plunges the rat into a vinegar-alcohol-based solution that slowly drowns the rodent in a supposedly humane, odor-free, hygienic way.

A digital counter on the outside of the device automatically updates every time a new rat is dropped unceremoniously into the solution. The device runs all day using a standard battery, resetting itself every two seconds, according to Anthony Giaquinto, CEO of Rat Trap.

Giaquinto noted that installing and servicing the device costs about $300 to $400 a month. The machine traps 30-40 rats on average between checks (which, according to Giaquinto, should be performed monthly).

The rat-drowning device. Eagle photo by Kelly Mena

Adams believes the devices are a better use of city funding compared to the $5.6 million already spent since 2016 on mint-infused repellent bags by city officials. He plans to put his money where the rats are, and spend a portion of the discretionary funding left in his budget to launch two pilot programs in the near future — one in Bed-Stuy and one in NYCHA.

“I have about $100,000 left, so I’m going to take a significant part of that to do these two pilots,” Adams told the Brooklyn Eagle.

A recent study by RentHop found that Brooklyn called in 6,500 rat complaints to 311 in 2018 — the most in all five boroughs. Prospect Heights, Bed-Stuy and Bushwick have all reported an uptick in rat sightings.

“I find myself at the epicenter of new rat infestation,” said Cornegy. “Listen, we’re supposed to be good fiscal stewards with taxpayer dollars and this is a clear example how we have missed the bullet.”

Cornegy’s district, which has a history of poor trash-collection service, was given the green light for the first new sanitation garage in 34 years earlier this year.

“All [the Sanitation Department] does is pick up trash. Their job isn’t to catch rats. Getting the garage was one step in getting our trash picked up that previously wasn’t getting picked up,” said the area’s district leader, Henry Butler. “But this is a multi-pronged problem that needs a multi-pronged solution.”

Currently, the city’s Health Department uses an integrated pest-management system. The most common method of control is a bait station — little black boxes set next to buildings to poison rodents, according to department spokesperson Adam Lanza.

Health officials previously tested different humane methods and are said to have found that none were very cost effective or practical. However, the department is open to evaluating the effectiveness of new products and methods to control rat populations in New York City, according to Lanza.


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2 Comments

  1. Captplanet

    People love quick fix solutions like the proposed rat boxes. Sadly most just don’t work. The real solution of removing food scraps from the waste stream and putting them in separate brown bins where they won’t constitute a rat buffet every night requires work on the part of residents. But it stops the rat problem at its source and is sustainable. Why not give it a try? None of Cornegy’s residents currently have curbside Organics collection as far as I know.

  2. How is drowning considered a “humane” death ? Proper refuse control is vital, however, rats are prolific breeders with a single mating pair creating 12-15,000 offspring a year. We must restrict their ability to reproduce..There is a birth control product that accomplish the goal ContraPest will do the job. Officials need to realize this