RATS & THE CITY

September 11, 2019 at 4:30 am

Rats like hanging out in Harlem, on the Upper West Side and in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Hot summer nights drive their passion for reproducing. So, what’s being done to stop this vermin explosion?

Aired on September 10, 2019. 

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>> RATS.
YOU SEE THEM SCURRYING ALONG
SUBWAY TRACKS, FORAGING THROUGH
TRASH AND LINKERING IN DANK
CONDITIONS IN THE CITY.
BUT THE POPULATION THAT RANGES
ANYWHERE BETWEEN 250,000 TO
PERHAPS A MILLION, NEW YORKERS
HAVE HAD ENOUGH.
SO WHAT'S THE ANSWER FO FIXING
THE RAT PROBLEM?
HERE TO PROVIDE SOME ANSWERS, A
MAN OFTEN REFERRED TO AS THE RAT
CZAR AND EXPERT, ROBERT
CORRIGAN.
NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.
>> THANK YOU.
NICE TO BE HERE.
>> I JUST PUT OUT A NUMBER THAT
GOES FROM ANYWHERE AS LOW AS
250,000 TO PERHAPS MILLIONS.
DO WE KNOW?
DO WE HAVE ANY REAL HARD IDEA
HOW MANY IRIARTES THERE ARE IN
THE CITY?
>> YOU KNOW, WE DON'T.
IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO
EVEN GET IN ON THAT.
THE RATS INB HABIT ALL KINDS OF
WHERE WE CAN'T COUNT.
SO IT'S VERY DIFFICULT.
THERE'S PROBABLY MILLIONS.
SOMEWHERE IN THE LOWER MILLIONS,
BUT WE'RE NOT SURE.
>> WHEN WE SAY THAT THE RAT
POPULATION IS GROWING, IS THAT
AN ECK DOE TALL OR ARE WE ABLE
TO REALLY IN SOME SCIENTIFIC
WAY, CONFIRM THAT YES, INDEED,
THE RAT POPULATION IS
INCREASING?
>> I THINK GROWING.
I SAY THAT FROM A COUPLE OF
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.
I MYSELF WAS AN EXTERMINATOR
BACK IN THE '70s.
I DID A LOT OF WORK IN
MANHATTAN.
I REMEMBER HOW MANY RAT JOBS I
DID.
BUT THESE DAYS AS A SCIENTIST, I
MEASURE RAT INCREASES BY
SPEAKING WITH MANY PROFESSIONALS
AROUND THE CITY.
I LOOK AT 311 DATA.
THE SIMPLIES THAT ARE PUCHLS
PURCHASED FOR RAT CONTROL.
IF YOU ADD IT UP, THE RATS ARE
IN FACT INCREASING, BUT THE
INTERESTING THING IS THAT IN
SOME NEIGHBORHOODS, THEY SEEM TO
BE DOWN.
PROBABLY BECAUSE WE ARE GETTING
A HANDLE ON IT LIKE THE BOROUGH
IN MANHATTAN.
>> SO NOT ACROSS THE BOARD.
>> NO.
>> WHY DO YOU THINK THE
INCREASES ARE TAKING PLACE?
>> WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S
DIFFICULT.
THERE'S A LOT OF FACTORS THAT
INFLUENCE RAT POPULATIONS, BUT
THE PRIMARY FACTOR IS RATS
FOLLOW HUMANS.
SO WHERE HUMANS INCREASE AND
HUMAN POPULATIONS INCREASE AND
WITH OUR HUMANS COME OUR GARBAGE
AND CLUTTER AROUND DEBRIS AND
INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIRS.
SO THE RATS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
WHERE EVER PEOPLE INCREASE, MANY
TIMES THEY'RE RIGHT BEHIND US.
>> WHY WOULD YOU THINK SOME
NEIGHB
NEIGHBORHOODS --
>> THE STUDY QUITE FRANKLY.
HOWEVER, I THINK THAT IF YOU
LOOK AT THOSE AREAS THAT ARE
SHOWING INCREASES B, THERE, TOO,
I THINK YOU'LL SEE AN INCREASE
IN DENSITY AND WITH THE PROBLEMS
THAT COME WITH DENSITY, IT'S
MORE DIFFICULT TO COLLECT TRASH
IN A TIMELY MANNER.
AS MANY CLUTTER, AS MORE AND
POPULATIONS PUT OUT THEIR TRASH
PILES AND JUNK AND SO FORTH.
>> IS THERE A SOCIOECONOMIC LINK
IN TERM OF NABLDS AND THE RISE
AND FALL OF THE RAT POPULATION?
>> I THINK THERE IS AND THERE'S
SOME GOOD POPULATION THAT
SUGGEST RATS TEND TO BE
ASSOCIATED IN MORE CASES WITH
POVERTY STRICKEN AREAS, WHICH
MAKES SENSE.
YOU KNOW IN POVERTY STRICKEN
NEIGHBORHOODS, YOU'RE NOT GOING
TO HAVE THE BEST BUILDINGS WITH
THE BEST FOUNDATIONS AND ALL THE
REPAIRS BEING DONE AND RATS NEED
VERY SMALL HOLES TO GET INTO THE
FOUNDATIONS THAT ARE WEARING
OVER TIME.
THOSE MAY BE LESS EXPENSIVE
PROPERTIES, SO O THERE'S MORE
HARBORAGE.
TWO, THERE IS WHERE PEOPLE ARE
SUBJECT TO POVERTY AND LOW
SOCIOECONOMIC CONDITIONS, THEY
MAY NOT BE ABLE THE TO AFFORD
THE SERVICES OF PROFESSIONAL
EXTERMINATORS, SO THEY DON'T
HAVE A REGULAR ROUTINE,
PROFESSIONAL COMING BY AND
HELPING TO KEEP THOSE NUMBERS IN
CHECK.
SO THERE ARE A LOT OF FACTORS.
YES, THERE'S PROBABLY MORE RATS
ASSOCIATED WITH POVERTY STRICKEN
AREAS.
>> THE LAST AREA I WANT TO TOUCH
ON WITH YOU IS WHAT CAN CAN WE
DO?
>> THAT'S THE KEY QUESTION
BECAUSE THAT'S THE MOST
IMPORTANT QUESTION.
YOU KNOW, THE THING FOR EVERYONE
TO KEEP IN MIND IS A RAT IS A
RELATIVELY LARGE MAMMAL.
ONE TO THREE OUNCES OF FOOD
EVERY SINGLE NIGHT SO IF THERE'S
A LOT OF RATS ON SOMEONE'S BLOCK
OR AROUND SOMEBODY'S PROPERTY,
THE FIRST THING THEY SHOULD ASK,
WHERE ARE THOSE RATS GETTING
THEIR DAILY NUTRITION AND HOW AM
I RESPONSIBLE?
PERHAPS AM I RESPONSIBLE?
IS THERE SOME OTHER FOOD SOURCE
THAT I NEED TO CHECK?
WHERE THERE'S RATS, USUALLY FOOD
AND WHAT CAN A RESIDENT DO IS
ASK THAT QUESTION, WHERE ARE
THEY GETTING FOOD AND CAN I DO
SOMETHING TO HELP CORRECT THAT.
>> LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, HOW
ABOUT -- WHAT CAN WE REALIST
CLICK EXPECT THE CITY TO DO TO
HELP COMBAT THIS.
>> WELL, FIRST THING TO KEEP IN
MIND AS A CITY WITH A STAFF,
THEY HAVE A TERRIFIC STAFF HERE
IN PEST CONTROL SERVICES, BUT
THIS IS MUCH BIGGER THAN ONE
AGENCY.
MILLIONS O RATS SPREAD FROM
EVERY SINGLE BOROUGH.
HOWEVER, THAT SAID, I THINK THE
CITY'S BEEN MAKING PRETTY
IMPRESSIVE MOVES FORWARD BECAUSE
THEY'RE ALLOCATING MONEY TOWARDS
SCIENCE.
FOR THE LAST, SIX, SEVEN YEAR,
MONEY HAS BEEN COMING TO THE
AGENCIES WHERE WE CAN STUDY DATA
AND THE SCIENCE OF RATS.
WHY ARE THEY IN CERTAIN
NEIGHBORHOODS, AND ONCE WE GET
THE SCIENCE TO GET A FULLER
PROFILE ON WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH
THESE RATS, THEN WE CAN ADDRESS
IT ARE WITH MORE EFFICIENT WAY,
YOU KNOW BUT THE CITY HAS TO
KEEP UP ITS CONSTANT
SURVEILLANCE, GOING UP AND DOWN
BLOCKS IN COMMERCIAL AND
RESIDENTIAL AREAS.
>> I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SOME
REALLY GOOD INFORMATION AND
GREAT ADVICE AS TO HOW WE CAN
ALL PITCH IN TO HELP.
THANKS FOR SPENDING SOME TIME
WITH US.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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