Posts Tagged ‘Mouse Control’

Northern Manhattan Subway Riders Say Rats Abound

Fulton Street in Manhattan, June 2010.Marcus Yam/The New York Times The rats are downtown, too: Fulton Street in Manhattan in June.

Rodents, the traditional scourge of New York City, are having a rough year. The rise of the bedbug seems to have rendered rats a has-been pest, a mere nuisance to be ignored rather than read about in countless alarmist trend articles. The bedbug is a breakout media star; the rat is, well, still a rat.

But there is one realm where the rodent still rules, where rats play the stars of an underground theater with a captive audience in the millions. Where else but the subway?

Earlier this year, the city’s Board of Health, in what was called the first study of its kind, discovered that half the subway lines in Lower Manhattan exhibited signs of mild or severe infestation. At the time, many New Yorkers expressed a surprising fondness for the creatures.  Now, a new, slightly less scientific survey has found a similar rat takeover of 20 stations in Upper Manhattan, based on the observations of thousands of riders who say there is a “severe” rodent problem in the underground.

The Have You Seen a Rat Today? campaign, sponsored by State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, collected responses from about 5,000 New Yorkers who filled out surveys distributed by the senator’s office.

Because this type of survey is self-selecting, and because there was no way to verify the responses, the results of Mr. Perkins’s study (also see below) ought to be taken with a grain of rat poison. But the findings do seem to match up anecdotally with many New Yorkers’ experiences.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they saw rats on a daily or weekly basis in the subway, with a majority of sightings on the tracks. (Far fewer rats appeared to make their way onto benches or into the trains themselves.) Only 1 percent of the respondents said they “never see rats.”

All 20 stations in Mr. Perkins’s district, the 30th, were cited. The worst offenders: the big 125th Street express stop at Saint Nicholas Avenue; the 145th Street station on the A, B, C and D lines; and the 163rd Street station in Washington Heights. Strangely, the new 96th Street station at Broadway was also cited, although perhaps all the recent construction sent rodents scurrying of late.

The point of the survey, Mr. Perkins said, was to prompt officials to examine new methods of attacking the rodent problem. He also proposed a ban on eating in the subway, similar to no-food policies used on transit systems in Chicago and Washington.

“What we know for sure is the rats are not growing the food they are eating, nor are they shopping at Whole Foods or McDonald’s,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview. He noted that discarded food and litter are the primary culprits that attract rats to the mass transit system: “If you feed ’em, you breed ’em.”

Mr. Perkins mailed his survey results to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Oct. 21, and he urged the agency to step up its eradication efforts. The agency has laid off station cleaners this year and acknowledged over the summer that it may not have the budget to pursue a more advanced attack against rodents.

“I know this is a challenging time for transit and for the M.T.A.,” Mr. Perkins wrote in his letter. “But rodents in the subway jeopardize the health of all those who travel and work underground.”

In the interview, Mr. Perkins emphasized the far-reaching effects of his cause.

“This system is so important to people,” he said. “It is an experience that determines significantly one’s daily life, not simply from a bread-and-butter go-to-work point of view, but from an emotional and psychic point of view.

“You’re on a subway and a rat is sitting next to you — that moment does not end for a while.”


Mouse found baked into loaf of bread

Article form the Telegraph.co.uk

Photo: SWNS
The loaf of Hovis bread with the mouse

The loaf of Hovis bread with the mouse     Photo: SWNS

Stephen Forse, 41, spotted the rodent squashed into the crusts of the Hovis Best of Both loaf.

The animal was missing its tail, raising fears it might already have been eaten.

Premier Foods, which makes the bread, was fined £16,821.14 after the firm admitted it had failed to ensure all stages of food production were protected against contamination.

Oxford Crown Court heard how Mr Forse, from Kidlington, Oxon., bought the £1 loaf from his local Tesco store in January last year.

He took the loaf home and was making cheese sandwiches for his six-year-old twins Matthew and Jonathan and daughter Hannah, eight, when he noticed the 4cm long animal squashed into the corner of the crusts.

Mr Forse, a police driving instructor, said: ”I noticed a dark coloured object imbedded in the corner of three or four slices.

”Initially I thought it was where the dough had not mixed properly prior to baking.

”As I looked closer I saw that the object had fur on it.

”I continued to prepare some sandwiches for the children from another loaf of bread that was in the fridge, checking carefully each slice in turn as I still felt quite shaken.

”As I was feeling ill I couldn’t face eating anything myself. I sat with the children as they ate theirs.

”My eight-year-old daughter actually commented at one point ‘why aren’t you eating anything daddy?’ to which I just replied that I wasn’t hungry.”

Mr Forse gave the loaf to environmental health officers who took it away for forensic analysis.

At a hearing on Friday Premier Foods pleaded guilty to failing to ensure all stages of food production were protected against contamination.

They also admitted failing to maintain a robust pest management system at its British Bakeries site in Mitcham, London.

Council technical officer Aileen Smith said: ”Mice harbour disease, particularly salmonella which can result in severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and can be fatal to children, the elderly or those with a compromised immune system.”

Council vice chairman George Reynolds added: ”We just cannot tolerate sloppy standards when people’s health is concerned.

”I cannot imagine what this must have been like for Mr Forse and his family but I am thankful, at least, that their health appears not to have been affected.”

Tesco yesterday declined to comment.

Premier Foods is Britain’s largest food producer, with an estimated 99 per cent of UK households buying their products and 47.2million people consuming their food.

A spokesman said: ”We apologise profusely for the distress caused as a result of this isolated incident.”

He said production was stopped when the firm was told of the find and there had been a ‘thorough investigation’.

He added: ”There was no evidence of mice within the bakery and no history of any similar issues.”