Thursday, July 7, 2016

This may have a chilling effect on the rat population in Tompkins Square Park



You may have noticed the red flags around areas of Tompkins Square Park. At first we thought it might be some kind of golf/scavenger hunt-themed drinking game.

EVG contributor Derek Berg points out that these are in place to note where Park workers have placed dry ice pellets into the burrows where rats live.

The city of Boston started employing this method of rat control back in the spring as a non-toxic alternative to poisons.

Here's more from William Christopher, commissioner of Boston's Inspectional Services Department, with an explanation in an article from the Globe this past April:

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. As it melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas, which fills the burrow, suffocating any rats inside.

Christopher said it is a more humane way of killing the rodents — and significantly cheaper than using rat poison.

He said his staff has used more than 400 pounds of dry ice over the past six weeks, and that altogether it cost just $225.

“The simplicity of this process is one of the things that most intrigues me,” he added. “And the success is what has me very excited.”

Using dry ice reduces the risk to other animals and children that poison can pose, he said.

Other cities, including New York, are also now experimenting with dry ice.

As previously reported, our very own Community District 3 ranked No. 1 in 2015, according to the Health Department, as having the worst rat problem in Manhattan. And apparently the city's rat complaint record set last year will fall in 2016.

20 comments:

Trixie said...

Fiendishly clever! I've always loved dry ice. Used to buy it for my Halloween parties on Avenue A between 12th and 13th streets.

Fipper said...

What do they do with the carcasses? Leave them in the holes?

Gojira said...

For those who think there's nothing good about rats (and I am definitely not one of them):

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mama-rat-saves-baby-from-snakes-jaws/

Michael Ivan said...

Works for me!

This was also an awesome story to see /watch...

http://www.vice.com/read/spending-a-night-with-new-york-citys-premier-rat-hunting-club-127

Anonymous said...

Is the dry ice artisnal yet "accessible"?

Anonymous said...

If I were a rat, those would definitely be red flags for me. I'd stay away.

Anonymous said...

This is such a great idea. I always thought putting hoses into their holes and turning on the water would be effective too, but this is even better.

The only thing I worry about is releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the people who say the rats have always been in the park and that they should be allowed to stay? And that anyone who says otherwise doesn't belong in the neighborhood? Hmmm?

Henri Cervantes said...

rat thinks: these little pellets are mighty delicious!

rubygirl said...

When rats die, but there is food available for the surviving rats, they reproduce at a quicker rate with larger litters. So unless the department keeps this up, and fixes the garbage situation, there will be more rats. Let's see how committed they are. However, birth control is humane, doesn't leave behind rotting carcasses and over a period of a few months can reduce the population drastically. It's harmless to other animals as well.

Goggla said...

I think this is a really great idea. Any alternative to those awful anti-coagulants is good in my book. Using dry ice specifically targets the rats, so no other animals are in danger. The rats are already buried, becoming instant fertilizer. There's nothing to clean up and no risk of secondary poisonings (to dogs, hawks, children). Kudos to the Parks Dept/DOH for trying something different and safe.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the rats in the park. They are the least annoying of the newbies in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried putting dry ice around the crusty encampment?

Greg Byrne said...

How does that work with the Hawks that eat them?

Goggla said...

@Greg - this should not have any impact on the hawks or night herons, who eat live prey. If, for some reason, another animal ate one of the dead rats, there would be no danger of secondary poisoning. This is why I think the dry ice is a great idea.

Scuba Diva said...

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous said:

This is such a great idea. I always thought putting hoses into their holes and turning on the water would be effective too, but this is even better.

The only thing I worry about is releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


I know; I never drink club soda anymore, either. And I try not to exert myself too much, lest I pant too hard.

Anonymous said...

Put dry ice around the perimeter of the East Village..great idea

Anonymous said...

Dry ice sounds like a good idea, but really how effective is it. A much better option would be small hunter killer robots armed with mini hellfire missiles or plastic explosives. If you're going to do the job do it right! Works great on humans.

Anonymous said...

Yeah,sounds really fucking "humane".

Anonymous said...

Please note it isn't the parks department that has been treating Tompkins square park. It has been the dept. of health and mental hygiene. (Dohmh). Along with Columbus park and j hood park, our dry ice trials have had an amazing impact in reducing the rat population in those areas.