Good morning. Today is Friday. Mayor Eric Adams has a residential rat problem. We will hear what someone who has spent more than 40 years in the pest control business would advise the mayor to do.
Eric Adams, when he was Brooklyn borough president in 2019, with a graph showing how fast rats can reproduce. Credit… Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mayor Eric Adams, who officially declared war on rats, was fined once again for failing to control rats in his four-unit rowing house in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section.
The most recent subpoenas were issued on December 7, a day after the mayor appealed the previous subpoenas, and include fines of up to $1,200. The mayor said on Wednesday he would fight the citations again, although he acknowledged there was a mouse problem in the city. “So, who are we kidding?” said.
As my colleague Dana Rubinstein put it, the mayor’s rat problem reached “another level of nonsense” on Wednesday. Curtis Sliwa, the founder of Guardian Angels, who lost to Adams in the mayoral election last year, appeared in front of the mayor’s row house. Sliwa brought two of the 16 cats he and his wife lived with, showed him a dead mouse, and offered to set up a cat colony to the mayor.
I wondered if the mayor wanted a different recommendation. John Murphy, a manager at Lipatech, a company that develops and distributes products to control mouse infestations, had some ideas. He was featured at the New York Pest Expo last year and an earlier workshop called “Serious Rodent Management with Style.” Its mission is to train other licensed pesticide applicators and work with municipalities on rodent issues.
So what would you say to the mayor?
Mr President, your problem can be solved. There are actions that can be taken to manage this situation you are experiencing.
First question, Mr. President, where do your mice come from? Was it feces? Was it nesting material?
Madam Mayor, due to the population density in Brooklyn, it could be a random mouse. It could be a random rat three houses away or a construction site on the next block. Why are they quoting you? I don’t know how to read the violation.
And if I were the inspector who handed the mayor the sentence, I would ask, is there evidence outside or did you actually go in? If outside, are the rats coming from the sewer line or are they running on a neighbor’s property? Do they nest here? Are they just passing by or is there too much garbage in front of this house? Maybe the litter attracts rats from elsewhere.
So, Mr. Mayor, here’s a mouse, there’s a mouse. The best advice is to seek out a licensed professional. Let them assess the situation and let them do what a pest control practitioner does best: Look for favorable conditions and give you a summary of what your house and block looks like.
The mayor says he has spent $7,000 on efforts to reduce rats. What would you say to him?
I’m sorry, mayor, what did you pay for? Did you pay someone to do house exclusion work, i.e. plug holes and other stuff in an old building? Have you paid someone to evaluate and put up a protective barrier from rodent control tools to prevent rats from coming in and invading the property?
Do you pay them to protect your building just so that rats don’t get into your building? Maybe you need someone to create a more comprehensive program, look at the neighbors and ask, “Why do rats keep coming here and I keep getting violations?”
Seven thousand dollars is a lot of money. If they went in and fortified the building so you can’t get in, I respect that but what else is going on outside? You need to have a comprehensive approach because this is a recurring problem.
What can the mayor do if the invasion is coming from the next building? Did you chat with the neighbor?
Yes, Mr. President, I can say that the problem is with your neighbor.
Now does this host do it himself or call a professional? If they call in a professional, yes, they will pay out of pocket, but they can come and find a company that sets up a program and controls that population.
The neighbor may want to use a mousetrap. But maybe it’s because rats live under the pavement and there are cracks in the pavement and then there are the garbage containers. Maybe the neighbor is throwing out the garbage bags and the rats are eating the garbage bags.
So, once again, where do rats come from?
Can’t a violator’s next-door neighbor buy rodenticides from a hardware store?
They could, but they would probably enforce it against the label guidelines. I prefer to bring in a licensed professional pest control company who can assess what the needs are and provide a summary to control the rat problem.
The average landlord doesn’t read the label. With all due respect to the homeowner here, often the way homeowners apply rodenticide is the exact opposite of what the label is telling you. The label says you cannot use this bait outside unless it is in a tamper-proof bait station. You shall not bait around the building.
A landlord might not read this and say, ‘I’ll put the bait loosely around my bins’. You can not do this. It needs to be fixed and secured so that you cannot lift the bait station over your head and shake the bait. Is a landlord aware of this? Would a landlord consider this?
Do you think President Adams knows this?
There is a group of people working under the mayor’s command. There are people who will answer your questions. But he can call me. If I went to Brooklyn maybe he could pay for my EZ Pass. But I won’t come with cats, that’s for sure.
Rain before 1 p.m. and temperatures near the mid-40s are expected. Partly cloudy in the evening, temperatures in the mid-30s.
PARKING ON THE ALTERNATIVE SIDE
Suspended today (Three Kings Day).
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I came out of a meeting on the Upper West Side on a cold winter evening and hurried downstairs to catch the bus home. At the time, I was wearing a knit hat with silver tinsel inside.
A group of guys, probably in their late 20s, came out of a bar.
“Nice hat,” one of them exclaimed sarcastically but well-mannered.
Without a second thought, I went back to my adolescence.
“Beautiful face,” I shouted.
When I arrived at the bus stop, I could hear him and his friends laughing in the distance.
— Irene Biggs
Drawn by Agnes Lee. Submit applications here and Read the rest of the Metropolitan Diary here .
I’m glad we could get together here. See you on Monday. — J.B.
PS Here is today’s Short Puzzle and Spelling Contest . You can find all our puzzles here. .
Melissa Guerrero and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected]