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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


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