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New York tackles rat problem with dry ice

18 Jun 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Health Department workers placing dry ice into rat burrows in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, on June 7, 2018, in New York.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - A snout and two little black eyes pop out from the hole, too late: A foot already covers them and the hole will be quickly filled with dry ice.

This new weapon in the hands of New York's sanitation service spells certain death for the rat.

Mr Rick Simeone's team is at work in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side, one of Manhattan's oldest districts. he day before, they spent more than three hours locating all the entrances to the burrows, 67 in all. That means there could be more than 250 "rattus norvegicus", the scientific name for common brown rats, living there.

Burrow by burrow, the team drops into each hole several small pellets resembling ice cubes but which are actually dry ice, carbon dioxide in solid form.

The surrounding air temperature ensures that the carbon dioxide reverts to gaseous form and asphyxiates the rats, which are usually asleep at this time of the day.

Normally, 90 to 100 per cent of the rodents are exterminated.

"It's a method that's very effective in mostly green spaces, parks," said Mr Simeone, director of pest control for the New York City Health Department.

"You always hear that rats are winning the battle. But this turns it around."

Rats have made their home in New York since the middle of the 18th Century and are responsible for the transmission of numerous diseases.

A 2014 study published by a PhD candidate at Columbia University estimated about 2 million rats in the US financial capital, which has a human population of more than 8.5 million.

The rats are most often seen scurrying in the street or in the subway. A celebrated video posted on YouTube in 2015 showed a rat dragging a slice of pizza on the subway stairs.

They live an average of only six or seven months in the port city, but a female can give birth to as many as 100 baby rats each year.

In 2012, Mr John Stellberger became the first to use dry ice against rats in the United States, based on an idea from one of his employees.

The head of EHS Pest Control company, Mr Stellberger recalled that he spoke of the idea with sanitation officials in Boston, who conducted a brief trial in 2016.

That pilot was suspended after several months pending an approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which came in June 2017.

At the beginning of this year after several months of tests, New York officially adopted the dry ice technique, joining Boston, Chicago and Washington.

Dry ice is only used in open spaces including parks and green areas, Mr Simeone explained, because it would be too complicated to identify rat tunnels in the streets or residential areas where concrete is everywhere.

Aside from its effectiveness, dry ice presents no risk to wildlife in parks and public gardens, unlike rodenticide which had previously been the only weapon deployed against rats.

The newer method, which costs about the same as poison, corresponds to the times, Mr Stellberger said. Many of his customers ask him to get rid of rats without cruelty.

Mr Simeone said the rodents "sort of go to sleep" as they asphyxiate. But dry ice alone will not resolve New York's rat problem, warned Mr Simeone, as well as Mr Robert Corrigan, the president of RMC Pest Management Consulting who is sometimes called the "Rat Czar" for his expertise in ridding the world of rodents.

In July last year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a major US$32 million (S$43 million) plan targeting rats and focused on the three most infected districts of the city.

The plan did not put dry ice in the forefront but rather the rats' access to food, which is the heart of the problem. Each pest needs about 80g of food a day to survive.

Intelligent garbage cans, closed containers, greater frequency of garbage collection, and collaboration among different city services - the programme aims to put an end to the permanent pantry which New York streets have become for rats.

Mr Corrigan, who worked with the Department of Health for 12 years, is pleased that authorities have finally chosen to tackle the question from a scientific rather than an empirical way.

"When I see a lot of rats on a block, instead of asking where should I put my poison, I ask, 'Who's feeding these rats?'" he said to illustrate this change in philosophy.

As Mr Simeone put it, "eliminate the garbage" and you no longer need poison.

To learn more about this dry ice against rats technique, contact EHS Pest.

Source: straitstimes.com

Rodent and Pest Exclusion

15 Jun 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

While assessing a Norway Rat and House Mouse infestation at a beautiful old home, I observed this rather ugly application of insulating foam. After some research I learned it was applied to exclude mice and rats!

The fact is this foam was developed as structural insulation product, not for pest proofing. Rodents will easily breach this product and use it to insulate their nests!

Please use permanent products for permanent solutions.

Dry Ice for Rats

10 Jun 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Applying Bell Labs Rat Ice for a Norway Rat infestation in 7 flower boxes. The carbon dioxide seemed to place several of them into a slumber like state after several minutes. It’s a humane and green method of protecting public health.

Today we will bring the EHS Dump truck and empty the boxes and return the flower boxes to the grounds crew.

See burrowing? Call or Click EHS.

Solving Mouse Infestations

07 Jun 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Peekaboo! A client tried a wad of steel wool into a very large opening. Good intention, but not effective. Mouse-proofing isn’t always easy, we will finish with a permanent mat of T304 stainless steel and make it removable for future investigations. If you can’t remove the food first, exclusion of structural flaws is the solution to protect and prevent.

Call or click for a no cost inspection!

EHS Pest Rodent Expert - Cambridge, MA

Delaware Burger King reopens following rodent infestation and 'gross unsanitary conditions'

06 Jun 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

A Burger King in Wilmington, Del., was has reopened after being temporarily shut down due to rodents running amok among the restaurant’s stash of burger buns.

The News Journal of Wilmington has confirmed that the restaurant was up and running as of Tuesday morning.

Footage of the initial rodent incident, which was shared to Facebook by Wilmington resident Shantel Johnson on Thursday, shows at least two of the critters scurrying around inside a large package of sandwich buns.

“Don’t go to Burger King on 202. [Rodents] running all over their buns,” she wrote in the caption of the video, alongside three vomiting emoji.

Delaware’s Division of Public Health Office of Food Protection (OFP) was made aware of the footage the following day and arrived to conduct an inspection, where they reportedly found rodent droppings in the burger buns, as well as droppings on the floor near storage areas and behind the fryer, among other places, the News Journal of Wilmington reported. Inspectors also found part of the ceiling to be leaking, and flies coming out of a drain.

The OFP immediately ordered the restaurant to close, citing an "imminent health hazard" and "gross unsanitary conditions.” Workers were also ordered to be retrained in “food security issues.”

The restaurant, located in Wilmington, Del., was closed by health inspectors on June 1. (Google Street View)

A representative for Burger King confirmed to the News Journal that this particular location is independently owned and operated, but stated that the company will be investigating in order to “ensure they take the appropriate measures.”

The restaurant, located in the Brandywine Hundred area of Wilmington, was scheduled for a follow-up inspection on Monday.

For rodent infestation solution, contact EHS Pest.

Source: fox news

Got Voles? Try this first

25 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest Rodent Expert

Simple and helpful information from our professional partner Victor Woodstream Havahart to help reduce Meadow Vole populations.

Voles are attracted to areas with abundant cover and food potions. By maintaining the cleanliness of your yard and reducing the amount of thick vegetation, you can begin to keep voles from returning to your property. Some steps you can take include:

  • regularly mowing your lawn
  • pulling weeds
  •  tilling soil
  •  removing falled birdseed, berries and nuts
  • cleaning up all other brush and debris that may provide cover.

Contact us for additional information.

Is there really a 'big epidemic' of tick diseases? CDC warns about 7 new viruses

23 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Experts say we can expect each tick season to be worse than the last.

A recent afternoon walk turned into a tick attack for a Massachusetts man.

As community forester Derek Lirange was hiking around the Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Worcester on May 16, he spotted a few ticks on his pants. Within a few more minutes, there were five or six more ticks, followed by more and more. By the end of the hike, he counted 26 ticks.

I hadn't taken every precaution, such as spraying with insect repellent, but I was wearing long pants and socks," the 26-year-old told TODAY. "It was a creepy, ongoing discovery."

Luckily, none had embedded. But the spike of the tick population in the gardens led to the cancellation of a spring walk around the reservoir.

Welcome to the new tick season. No one knows exactly how many ticks are out there, but the skyrocketing cases of tick-borne diseases recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides indirect evidence that the little bloodsuckers are becoming more numerous, said Alfaro Toledo, an assistant professor in the department of entomology at Rutgers University.

“It’s a big epidemic affecting the entire East Coast,” said Toledo. “Witness the spread of the deer tick to the north and west.”

And it’s not just deer ticks we now have to worry about. The numbers of Lone Star ticks, which can trigger an allergy to red meat, are also on the rise and their habitat continues to expand, Toledo says.

In its recent report, the CDC said there have been seven new tick-borne viruses discovered to infect people since 2004.

Why more ticks?

One big factor leading to the so-called tick explosion is the overall warming trend. But there are several factors beyond warming weather driving the rise in tick numbers, experts say. One is the booming numbers of deer and rodents. Deer, which are the preferred hosts of adult ticks, are increasing in numbers, “because basically there are no predators anymore,” Toledo says.

More deer means more female adult ticks go on to lay eggs.

High numbers of rodents also drive the numbers of ticks. After hatching from eggs, tick larvae attach to rodents to feed and, unfortunately for us, pick up diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Once the larvae get their meal of blood, they move on to the next phase of their cycle, the nymph stage, which is when they’re most likely to latch on to a human.

EHS Pest - Types of Ticks

Ticks in the Northeast Rutgers-New Brunswick Center for Vector Biology

Though both nymphs and adults can transmit disease, the nymphs are more likely to do so because of their small size. Adult ticks are big enough to be easy to spot and get rid of before they can pass on diseases like Lyme. Nymphs are much smaller and often attach long enough to transmit disease without our ever spotting them.

And while deer ticks are most likely to be the ones transmitting Lyme and lone star ticks, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, dog ticks and a new invader, the Longhorned tick, can also carry and transmit disease.

EHS Pest - Mosquito, Ticks and Bedbugs

Experts used to tell people they’d be safe from tick bites if they kept their lawns mowed and stayed out of wooded areas—and that’s still mostly true for deer ticks. But Lone star ticks and dog ticks, which both can carry diseases and bite humans, are perfectly happy roaming through mowed lawns, said Matt Frye, an entomologist at Cornell University.

Frye says we should just accept that every year now is going to be a bad tick year. That means we should get serious about examining our bodies for ticks. “You should do a tick check every day, like you brush your teeth every day,” he said.

EHS Pest - Ticks in the muffin

Can you spot the five ticks in the muffin? The CDC caused a panic when it tweeted that ticks can be as small as a poppyseed. CDC

The situation isn’t entirely hopeless. Though there are no real natural enemies of ticks, researchers are working on some ingenious ways of knocking their numbers back. One method currently being tested in communities with high numbers of ticks is to treat rodents with tick-killing substances, Frye said. Boxes baited for the rodents give them a dose of the same tick poison used to protect dogs.

The idea is that if you can lower the numbers of ticks that make it to the nymph stage, fewer people will be infected. That method is still being tested, so it won’t help any of us right now.

In the meantime, if you do spot a tick and want to know what kind it is and whether it’s carrying a disease, you can send it to a lab for testing, said Laura Goodman, an assistant research professor at Cornell.

She suggests you place your tick in a sealed, escape-proof container and ship it to Cornell or one of the other certified labs around the country. One of the best ways to kill the tick, Goodman says, is to place the container in your freezer. The shock from going directly from warm weather to freezing temperatures will be enough to do in your tick, she said.

For safe tick solution, contact EHS Pest.

Rodent Tracking

22 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Rodents travel pathways into and inside of buildings. Many of these trails are laced with pheromones that communicate safe pathways, territories and mating cues.

We humans secrete sebum to protect or skin and hair. Rodents tend to travel the same pathways, this material gets deposited on surfaces and leaves a trail or grease mark. Combined with urine, these trails contain pheromones that orient rodents within their environment.

Dr. Matt Frye knows about tracking rodents. He is a company favorite that inspires us to be better.

For rodent tracking, removal and extermination, contact EHS Pest.

What to Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Tick

21 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

There’s nothing more frightening than coming in from a glorious day spent outside to find a tiny, blood-sucking parasite feasting on wherever it decided to call home on your body. But fear not: Brian Chow, infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center, says you don’t need to avoid going outside all summer. If you take the right precautions, the chance of disease from these nasty creatures can be avoided.

“The best way to avoid tick bites is to wrap all exposed skin when you head out into heavily wooded areas,” Chow says. “Other effective precautionary measures include using an insect repellant containing DEET or wearing clothes that have either been soaked, or pre-impregnated, with permethrin. Whereas DEET only repels insects, permethrin kills on contact.”

In the past couple years the scare of tick-borne illnesses has risen, and although Chow says they’re not particularly sure why that is, as they continue to monitor and track them, they think it might have to do with the change in micro climates. He says the only ticks that do transmit disease are the black leg ticks or deer ticks—the very tiny ones. As if trying to find a sesame seed-sized insect wasn’t hard enough!

“Especially during this time of year, the baby ticks are out in higher numbers and can be smaller to see,” Chow explains. “If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s important to do a tick check. The hardest places to see them are at the hairline, armpits, or groin.”

He recommends also hopping in the shower and scrubbing the body with a brush to dislodge the ticks before they have a chance to bite. If you do happen to get bitten, though, Chow says that you have a lot of time to figure out if they’re on you, and to get them off, as it does take anywhere from 24-48 hours for a tick to transmit a disease.

“The tick has to find a place on your body, bite you, and then get so full it regurgitates back into you,” he says. Um, gross. “If you’ve been bitten, take tweezers right around the head where it’s attached to the skin and pull straight up. You don’t want to burn or smother the tick.”

According to Chow, the most common diseases that are transmitted by ticks are lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Lyme disease is often characterized by the bullseye rash and later signs can include headache, fever, bell’s palsy, and meningitis, he says. Both anaplasmosis and babesiosis, which mostly cause fever, present very quickly, but Chow says that some people will fight off the diseases themselves. Anyone with weakened a immune system is more susceptible, however.

Although he reassures us that these diseases can be cured by antibiotics, don’t take your chances this summer—avoid becoming a tick’s late night snack and take a pair of tweezers to that sucker ASAP.

To find out more about ticks and how to deal with them, contact EHS Pest.

Source: Boston Magazine

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