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Feral cats in demand | Calaveras County’s Most Trusted News … – Calaveras Enterprise

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Barn cats in Calaveras County are in high demand.

Calaveras County farmers are searching for the perfect little pair of four-legged exterminators for their barns and properties.

Feral barn cats are in high demand in Calaveras County due to to an increase in rodent populations caused by the wet winter months, said Calaveras Humane Society Executive Director Dee Dee Drake.

Weve had tons of requests lately, an explosion of requests from people wanting to adopt feral cats for their properties because of this rodent population explosion that were experiencing, Drake said.

Rodent-hunting felines have become such a hot alternative that a small waiting list has developed for the first time since the Feral Feline Program began in 2014. The program works to humanely reduce the population of wild cats in the area through its trap, neuter and release policy.

As of January 2016, the humane society has captured and returned more than 1,000 cats since 2014. That number is slowly increasing.

As more rodents roam, the wild cat population thrives.

There is a huge feral cat overpopulation issue in Calaveras County, said Drake. Its different from some of the urban areas in California because people have so much land out here and the cats have more room to do their thing.

The program uses a trap-neuter-return policy. The cats are caught in the wild, or on a persons property using humanely designed traps, before they are neutered and returned to the area they were found.

A small incision is made on the cats ear to track the neutered population. Some of the cats are then made available for adoption as barn cats. The friendlier, more docile cats are sometimes made available as garden companions.

Returning the cats to the area they were trapped in is paramount.

Feral cats entrench themselves in an area and outright removal can be counterproductive for property owners. If the cats were simply trapped and removed, a new wave of feral cats would take their place and the cycle of wild reproduction would continue.

Drake said it wasnt uncommon for property owners to trap the cats before phoning animal services to simply take the cats or kittens off of their hands.

The most important part of the program is the return, said Drake. We return them to where they came from. We are not able to help people who ask for us to come out and trap and get rid of all of these cats. What we try to help them understand is that if we dont return them, more will come.

As reproduction rates decrease, the number of animals that shelters euthanize also decreases, Drake said.

Over 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in the United States every day and, due to overpopulation, more than 3.7 million are euthanized each year. By spaying and neutering just one male and one female cat, more than 2,000 unwanted births can be prevented in four years, and over 2 million in eight years.

You can actually have fewer feral cats on your property by maintaining good ones that are cared for, said Drake. If you remove them all, youre going to end with a bunch more.

Drake wasnt sure if there is a rule of thumb for how many feral cats a property could hold. She did say that each property is different, and the demographics of each parcel of land can determine how many cats it can sustain.

I dont know if there is a straight formula, but out here we see people with as few as two, said Drake. Statistically, feral cats live shorter lives than our pampered house pets. There is more that can happen to them.

A property owner must have proper enclosures for the cats to sleep and although the cats new role will be keeping rodents clear from the property, the owners must also feed the cats daily. The humane society also prefers to adopt the cats in groups of two. The adoption costs just $15 per cat.

Were not here to make money, said Drake. Were here for the community.

Even if Calaveras Countys feral cat population wasnt an issue, Drake recommends a strong, well-regulated feral cat initiative to help keep populations from getting to a level of concern.

Whether there is an overpopulation problem of feral cats or not, if they are not tended to, they are not cared for, said Drake. An untended colony; there are fights, there is disease, there are unintended consequences for our pets. You definitely want well-maintained colonies.

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Feral cats in demand | Calaveras County’s Most Trusted News … – Calaveras Enterprise

PestWiki An Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Pests, Bugs and Insects – Digital Journal

A Total Insect Guide and Ways to Get Rid of Infestations

28th July, 2017 – PestWiki.com is an ultimate guide to all things bugs and insects. The site offers exclusive information on how to get rid of different types of pests, insects, bugs, etc. which include ants, bees, bugs, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, bats, mice, rabbits, roaches, raccoons, termites, silverfish and so on. Every house has some kind of pest big or small irrespective of how neat or well it is kept or maintained. It is important to keep a check on those dark corners of the house or areas which are more prone to infestation. Once the infestation starts, it is difficult to get rid of the bugs or pests unless a professional comes to the rescue.

This site pestwiki.com offers excellent information which is very useful in identifying different types of insects, pests, rodents or bugs. The site also offers information on how to identify the bites of different insects at https://www.pestwiki.com/bug-bites-flea-mosquito-spider-chigger/, and how the bites can be very confusing and poisonous at the same time. Out of all the bugs, the most common of all are the palmetto bugs or the palm meadow bugs which are mistakenly called as the American cockroaches. Although they belong to the same family, these are slightly different from other American or German cockroaches and one can find exclusive information on https://www.pestwiki.com/palmetto-bugs-elimination/ and how one can eliminate them without the help of an exterminator.

The other irritating insects are the flies and the fruit flies especially are very difficult to get rid of. At https://www.pestwiki.com/homemade-traps-gnats-fruit-flies/, one can find great information on different types of flies, how to identify them or classify them, simple home remedies to get rid of them and so on. It is as easy as making homemade repellants to get rid of gnats and fruit flies. Then there are traps that can be easily made to tackle the fruit flies problem. The site is an excellent guide to avoiding bugs and insects in a home without having to call the expensive exterminators every now and then.

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PestWiki An Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Pests, Bugs and Insects – Digital Journal

Bed bugs pose particularly difficult problem in Central Illinois – Illinois News Network

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

One Illinois region is not sleeping tight as a plague of bed bugs continues to bite.

The Springfield-Decatur-Champaign area ranked 30th on Orkins most recent “Top 50 Bed Bug Cities” list, which tracks where the pest control company conducts the most bed bug treatments. The region jumped 12 spots from last years list.

Kathy Wade, director of environmental health at Macon Health Department, couldn’t say why the small, flat, brown bugs invaded the area, but noted they have been a growing problem all over the country.

At this point, it is widespread, Wade said. “They’re being found everywhere, whether in an apartment, private residence high-rise, hotels motels they’re being found everywhere. So, it’s not just an isolated incident.

Wade said the problem is being compounded because some people are not reporting bed bugs to their landlords or are trying to deal with them on their own.

There’s also this horrible stigma attached with bed bugs that your house is dirty, and that’s why you have one, Wade said. The thing about bed bugs is they don’t care who you are; they don’t care if you’re wealthy or poor … they’re just going to come wherever they can.

The best way to eradicate bed bugs is to use a professional exterminator, who often deploys a series of treatments that can cost several hundred dollars, which Wade said could be too much for some residents. Unfortunately, the health department does not receive outside funding to deal with bed bugs.

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Bed bugs are not carriers of any communicable disease, so I think due to that factor, [it] is why you see that there is no funding within the state of Illinois for this, Wade said.

Despite not receiving any outside funding, Wade and her department decided to take actions because they continued to get calls. Wade started the Bed Bug Coalition in late 2016, made up of business owners, organizational representatives and community members who meet monthly to discuss the bed-bug problem.

It’s really turned out to be a great community effort for Decatur and Macon County, Wade said. Our last bed bug coalition meeting, we had landlords, we had thrifts shops coming, some of the [homeless] shelters, and every month the coalition grows.

The coalition produced two pamphlets about bed bugs and prevention methods and is planning a public information forum.

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Bed bugs pose particularly difficult problem in Central Illinois – Illinois News Network

Bedbugs make an unwelcome comeback in Southern California – Press-Enterprise

Gary Shelton tossed clothes, a wooden bed frame, a directors chair and cardboard boxes stuffed with papers from his community-activist campaigns.

Other clothes the 68-year-old Long Beach man washed, dried and bagged.

Then he waited. And waited. And waited.

An exterminator sprayed his ninth-floor Plymouth West apartment three times for bedbugs December, January and February.

If there is any evidence of bedbugs, they treat again, he said.

Finally, in March, Shelton was given the all-clear.

Its like living out of an overnight case for three months, he said of the lengthy process.

Comeback bug

Experts say the reddish-brown bedbug, which is about the size and shape of an apple seed, has made an extraordinary comeback after a roller coaster of a century.

In the early decades of the 1900s, the bug was widespread across the U.S. But the advent of DDT during World War II changed that, killing off huge numbers in the 1940s and 50s.

We thought it was gone forever, said Dini Miller, professor of entomology at Virginia Tech. When you think about it now, that was kind of stupid.

After lying low for decades, the dreaded insect that was mentioned in medieval European literature has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts since 2000.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, theyre in apartments, houses, shelters, college dormitories, cruise ships, buses and trains. They typically live within an 8-foot crawl of where people sleep.

If you thought your car was a refuge from the blood-sucking pests, guess again. Miller said bedbugs are fond of automobiles for good reason.

The food comes and sits down on a regular basis, she said. And everybody gets something to eat.

But you dont know when your blood is being slurped through the bedbugs version of a straw an elongated beak for a meal. The Centers for Disease Control say the bug injects an anesthetic and anticoagulant that renders its bite painless.

Itchy bite marks can appear in a few days. They are similar to marks from a mosquito or flea bite a slightly swollen and red area, the Centers for Disease Control said.

They do not transmit any diseases, said Dong-Hwan Choe, an urban entomologist and assistant professor of entomology at UC Riverside.

The bugs feed mostly at nighttime, which creeps people out, Choe said.

And dont think you can fool them if you work a graveyard shift and sleep during the day.

Sleeping with the lights on is also not likely to deter hungry bed bugs, University of Kentucky entomologist Michael Potter wrote in a 2015 article, Your Guide to Bed Bugs.

A feeding takes three to 10 minutes, according to Potter. Then the bug crawls back into its hiding place to digest the meal. Its flat body enables it to hide in tiny crevices in mattresses, box springs and bed frames.

Unlike other insects, bed bugs cant fly. But they can crawl more than 100 feet in a night.

The nations big bad bedbug blow-up can be traced to a number of factors, experts say: DDT is long gone; the EPA banned it in 1972.

Even so, the bugs were building up resistance to DDT, Miller said. And they are building up a defense against insecticides being used today.

Some have developed thick, protective skins. Others produce enzymes that break down toxic ingredients and render insecticides harmless.

We like to call those the hard drinking bugs, she said.

Still other bedbugs have mutated.

They meet, fall in love and make other genetically immune babies, Miller said.

Inland Empire bedbugs in decline

Bedbug outbreaks reported to the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health have actually gone down in recent years, according to spokeswoman Lana Cao.

In 2015, the department received 188 calls regarding bedbugs. In 2016, that had dropped to 163. And as of July 17, the department had heard only 71 complaints.

Cao suspects educational programs offered by the departments mosquito and vector control program are part of why reported outbreaks are declining in San Bernardino County.

The education is super helpful, she said. They let you know what they look like and what to look for.

Still, thats of little comfort to those covered in itchy bites delivered by surprise bedroom guests.

Once you get an infestation, its pretty bad because they spread like wildfire, Cao said. They dont really transmit any diseases. God forbid if it does.

Riverside Countys Department of Environmental Health does not track calls related to bedbugs, but provides educational information and directs callers to pest control companies instead. But calls for service in Riverside County have been going up for Green Dog Pest Service, according to owner Deanna Sparks Kjorlien.

Its gone up, for our inspection business, 50 percent over the past year, Kjorlien said. Were getting twice as many calls for Riverside County.

Her company, which was founded in Hemet, but moved to Solano Beach earlier this year, uses bug-sniffing dogs to detect bedbugs.

She attributes the rise to changes in bedbugs and changes in Inland Empire residents:

The bugs are building up a resistance (to insecticide), and theres a lot more travel, Kjorlien said. Any time you have travelers and anyone who has their luggage with other luggage, going from hotel to hotel, the nature of bed bugs is that theyre hitchhikers.

And even when Inland Empire residents are staying home, more are living closer to other people.

Were not all single-family residences in the Inland Empire any more, Kjorlien said. Theres lots of apartments and shared-wall houses.

And thats especially true at senior living communities, such as the Plymouth West community in Long Beach.

They go from apartment to apartment to see their friends. Or they go to the shared dining hall, Kjorlien said of residents. If one person gets infested, its spread. If you dont get all the apartments treated, everyone gets them.

L.A. region a hot spot

As for the region overall, Los Angeles is the nations sixth-worst metro area for bedbugs, according to Atlanta-based Orkin. In the pest control firms 2017 ranking, L.A. followed Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and Columbus, Ohio.

For the Orkin survey, the L.A. area was defined as Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Miller noted Terminix puts out an annual ranking, too. In its most recent report, Detroit was No. 1 on the list. L.A. was No. 4.

You have to take all of this with a grain of salt, Miller said. But, its one of the few indicators that we have.

Theres no denying that Sheltons home is in one of the hardest-hit properties.

Davis said 84 of Plymouth Wests 196 units have been treated in the past 12 months.

Some units have been treated multiple times.

A friend was over and noticed a live bug in the middle of the bed spread, Shelton said.

He was stunned. I wasnt getting bites that I was aware of, he said. But he promptly called the apartment manager.

After seeing one, he started seeing a lot more bugs.

Once you see them, youll see them in your mind, Shelton said. Youll see them everywhere.

Staff writer Beau Yarbrough contributed to this story.

Size:1mm to 7mm, roughly the size of Lincolns head on a penny

Color:Reddish brown, similar in coloration to apple seed

Food:Human blood

Home:Within 8 feet of sleeping quarters. Known to live in apartments, houses, hotels, shelters, cruise ships, buses, trains and dormitories

Travel:Cant fly or jump, but can crawl fast up to 100 feet per day

Bite:Similar to mosquito, flea bites; does not carry disease

Evidence of presence: Bedbugs in folds of mattresses and sheets, rusty-colored blood spots; a sweet, musty odor

Treatment:insecticide, heat; significant preparation required of home occupants in advance; professional treatment recommended

No-nos:Do not spray bed sheets, blankets or clothes; do not apply bleach or alcohol. Applications of rubbing alcohol have sparked fires.

Sources:U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Your Guide to Bed Bugs, by Michael Potter; news reports

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Bedbugs make an unwelcome comeback in Southern California – Press-Enterprise

Apartment bed bug infestation persists after treatments – FOX31 Denver

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AURORA, Colo. Bed bugs are creating an ongoing nuisance for tenants at a northwest Aurora apartment building as landlords across the country find it difficult to properly exterminate the pests. Studies from this year indicate bed bugs are becoming more resistant to pesticides.

When I moved here, my son and I enjoyed it, Stapleton Apartments tenant Max Vaughns said. We [were] having fun.

But over the last three months, Vaughns said he has spent some nights in his truck to get away from bed bugs. Pictures provided to FOX31 show what Vaughns claims is evidence of bed bug bites and his young sons allergic reaction.

Written notice of entry into Vaughns apartment at 2201 Dayton Street explains pest control crews treated the apartment on more than one occasion. Each time, Vaughns said, nothing was resolved.

Exterminators told FOX31 killing the bugs is a difficult job. Roughly 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year, according to exterminators.

Tenants at Stapleton Apartments said management has admitted that Vaughns is not alone.

Vaughns, upset the issue hasnt been resolved, said he has stopped paying rent and is now facing eviction. He plans to be out of his unit within one week. Meanwhile, hes hoping this story will serve as a warning for anyone searching for an apartment.

I just want to make sure that others are aware of whats going on, Vaughns explained.

FOX31 called apartment management on Sunday and is still waiting for comment.

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Apartment bed bug infestation persists after treatments – FOX31 Denver

Bed Bugs Be Gone: Rutgers Gets Nod for Fighting Pests – New … – TAPinto.net

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ Theyre the creepy, crawly, nasty things that bite in the night.

Bed bugsno one likes em, and few know how to kill em.

But they stand little chance against Changlu Wang. He heads Rutgers Universitys urban entomology lab and has strived for years to rid New Jersey low-income housing projects, including in New Brunswick, of bed bugs. He and his team have earned the respect of their colleagues and beneficiaries in their efforts to develop new strategies to combat this scourge.

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In fact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that, under Wangs leadership, Rutgers is one of four winners of the HUD Secretarys Award for Healthy Homes. The honor recognizes excellence in making indoor environments healthier by improving homes, according to a news release.

The recipients of this award understand the strong connection between where we live and how healthy we are, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who was appointed this year by President Donald Trump, said in a statement. They demonstrate innovative approaches to making homes healthier, and exemplify the outstanding work thats taking place throughout the nation.

In his drive to fight bed bugs, Wang worked with poor communities, manufacturers and other universities to build better integrated pest management plans, according to the release.

What is an integrated pest management strategy? Well, according to the federal government, it boils down to how workers and residents prevent and control bugs and the like, while respecting the environment.

Wang and his team received a HUD grant in 2013 to implement and evaluate a model bed bug management program in poor communities. He partnered with three Garden State housing authorities and worked in more than 2,000 apartment units to pull off the study, which closed last year, according to the news release.

It designed and implemented a low-cost and highly effective bed bug monitoring protocol and a model IPM program, HUD wrote in its press release, noting that Wangs work was published in a respected peer-reviewed journal on bugs.

Wangs work also touched New Brunswick. In 2012, he agreed to help the city Housing Authority tackle its bed bug problems, according to Rutgers. He found a number of infested apartments and, within six months, killed 96 percent of bed bugs there.

But the Rutgers researcher and his team also planted seeds that could prove more valuable in the long-term fight against the pests.

The really good thing about him was that he didnt just come in like an exterminator and lay down some stuff, the housing authoritys executive director, John Clarke, told Rutgers. He educated our staff and residents about what caused the problem and what we might do to eliminate the problem.

Indeed, Wang and his team have proactively tried to teach residents, especially those in low-income areas, best practices to prevent and control bed bug infestations. This online guide, for instance, dispels common myths and highlights what residents should do to protect themselves.

The three other winners of the award include the Denver Housing Authority, for breaking up concentrated poverty and ushering in mixed-used development; Vermonts Weatherization One Touch Program, which helps increase access to health and energy efficiency; and Washingtons Tribal Healthy Homes Network, for addressing asthma in native communities.

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Bed Bugs Be Gone: Rutgers Gets Nod for Fighting Pests – New … – TAPinto.net

Pawcatuck rat problem gets worse – The Westerly Sun

PAWCATUCK Calling it a townwide problem, homeowners in the Courtland, William and Moss Street area are sounding the alarm about rats in their neighborhood.

On the Stonington Community Forum group on Facebook, Elise Dessaules Adcock, a resident of William Street, posted Monday that her family had killed seven rats so far and when officials from Ledge Light Health District, which replaced the towns health department in April, visited her home, they said Adcock would have to pay for eradication.

We thought notifying the town was a good thing, but when Ledge Light came out, we were told they are OUR rats and we had to hire someone to take care of the problem, she wrote.

Adcock posted a picture of a rat on her property and a hole where a rat ate through a wall in her garage. Adding that she has lived on her property for 20 years and never seen a rat, Adcock said, This isnt a cheap issue to deal with and its not going to solve the problem with only a couple of us trying to take care of it.

On the forum, Janice Meagher responded, But also nuts that the town isnt helping since it seems its a pretty widespread area that is impacted.

In early June, Ledge Light responded to complaints of a rat infestation at 1 Millan Terrace, owned by Terrance Holbrook and Ronald Kutz. Holbrook and his sister, Rebecca Holbrook, lived at the house, where she had been feeding rats with bird food. Ledge Light issued a public health order for a licensed exterminator to assess the home and take steps to eradicate the rats.

On June 9, Ryan McCammon, who is the supervisor of environmental health for Ledge Light, and First Selectman Rob Simmons held a public meeting for area residents at the police station to go over preventive and abatement measures since the rats were spreading into surrounding neighborhoods.

On June 12, McCammon said he went door to door in the surrounding neighborhoods, including Frank Street and homes nearby on Broad Street and Swan Street, to pass out information.

Simmons said the town would assume the initial financial burden, hiring Griggs and Browne, a licensed exterminator from Waterford, to do abatement work at 1 Millan Terrace. The firm initially removed about 50 dead rats from the property.

The rats, identified as Norway rats, burrow into holes in foundations and structures to make their nests, preferably close to available food and water. They typically weigh about three-quarters of a pound to one pound and their bodies are about 6 to 8 inches long with 6-inch tails. Since they can breed 12 times per year and have 8 to 12 young per litter, rats can populate an area within a very short period of time.

Several residents thought it was unfair that the town helped one family, but wouldnt assume responsibility for what has become a widespread problem.

Jess Beck Lomax wrote, They wont help you, but your tax dollars are paying for the clean up on Millan Terrance.

Adcock responded, Right and if only a couple of us are trying to take care of the problem, the problem isnt going to go away!

Lomax responded that Adcock should call a local news station or newspaper to bring attention to the towns financial assistance to one family but not to others.

Adcock said shed spent around $50-plus so far to take care of the problem, but now getting pest control in tomorrow which will cost around $200, plus $40 per month and thats a lower estimate since another place was going to charge us $350 to $450 dollars for 60 days!

Many residents on the Facebook forum also saw individual home exterminations and do-it-yourself remedies as a Band-Aid to a much larger problem.

Alzira M. Silveira said, Even if you do pest control and get rid of those rats if theyre in the neighbors yards as well wont they still come back to you?

Savage Jenny said the problem was more widespread.

Ive had Terminix at my house on Mechanic St. for over a month!!! According to them its also on the other side of the river in Westerly and takes up several streets.

Ant Miceli wrote the rats were on Morgan and Robinson streets as well.

Ive also heard that Westerly had a problem as well. Something must have changed in the river to be forcing them all up both sides of it.

I too think its a town issue, wrote Janet Knight, who said she saw one crossing the West Broad Street end of William Street last week.

Ant Miceli conveyed a message from Selectman Michael Spellman, who said he was aware of the rat issue that has seemingly developed overnight and exists in the Moss, William and Courtland Street area.

Ive called Town Hall and First Selectman Rob Simmons and ensured Ledge Light Health District will commence operations ASAP to address and mitigate the problem, Spellman said. In the interim eliminate any outside food source i.e. cat or dog food on your porch and keep garbage cans tightly sealed. Secure basements and ground level doors as well so you dont attract or harbor displaced or wandering rats. Do not feed rats under any circumstance as that will attract them. Rats can survive on an ounce of food and water a day and usually live within 1,000 feet of a food source. More ready food, more rats. Itll take a little bit but it will get fixed. Thank you all for contacting me so we can address this issue quick.

Adcock said she had also been in touch with Spellman and Simmons.

I know that this issue will get taken care of … but, if anyone has any issues, they should contact them at the town hall, she wrote.

For more information, contact McCammon at Stonington Town Hall at 860-535-5010. Information about rat eradication is also available at http://www.ledgelighthd.org.

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com

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Pawcatuck rat problem gets worse – The Westerly Sun

Rats taking over Brooklyn grandmother’s home – New York’s PIX11 / WPIX-TV

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CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn A Brooklyn grandmother is a security guard by day, but it’s at night when she’s home that she’s scared.

Sharon Sanders has spotted rats lurking inside herSterling Place apartment many times over the last few years.

“I’m scared. I’m scared,” Sanders said. “I have small grandkids and rats are taking over my living room.”

Sanders three grandchildren all live with her. She’s complained many times over the years about the rats.

She captured a giant sewer rat jump from her computer table to her kitchen flooron cellphone video.

“I’ve been making complaints with housing for two years and nothing,” said Sanders. “I mean, they’re big. They’re taking over.”

Sanders wants new cabinets, regular visits by exterminators and for the holes under her sink to be closed up.

PIX11news reached out to the New York City Housing Authority.

A spokesperson said, “This situation is unacceptable. We will do better to ensure all NYCHA residents have clean, safe homes. Staff is at the residents home now making extensive repairs and an exterminator will visit today.

If you have a story reach out to monica morales on Facebook at monicamoralestv.

40.671461-73.930595

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Rats taking over Brooklyn grandmother’s home – New York’s PIX11 / WPIX-TV

New York unveils $32-million fight vs rats – Inquirer.net

Manuel Junior Medina, an exterminator for M&M Environmental, displays a glue trap littered with droppings and hair which a rat chewed its way out of in a basement in Manhattans Lower East Side on February 21, 2013 in New York City. New York unveiled a new $32 million effort Wednesday to cull thousands of them with rodent-proof trash cans and tighter garbage rules. AFP FILE

NEW YORK, United States Desperate to turn the tide in its war on rats, New York unveiled a new $32 million effort Wednesday to cull thousands of them with rodent-proof trash cans and tighter garbage rules.

Rodents are one of the least savory aspect of life in Americas financial and cultural capital, a daily menace scurrying between subway tracks or darting around trash bags dumped on the street for collection.

English novelist Charles Dickens complained about rodents when he visited in 1842 and last year the health department received a record 31,362 rat-complaints from irate New Yorkers ringing into a help line.

The new measures will be rolled out in Chinatown, the East Village and the Lower East Side in downtown Manhattan, around Grand Concourse in the Bronx and in Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.

Its been a problem for way too long, Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted Wednesday, unveiling what he called a change of approach after comparing extermination efforts over the years to bailing out a leaky boat.

The latest plan seeks to cull rats by 70 percent in target areas by depriving them of food, and goes hand in glove with existing extermination programs.

Money will be spent on rat-resistant trash cans, replacing dirt basement floors with concrete in public housing, increasing trash collection and forcing larger buildings to put out garbage only shortly before trash collection.

Fines will also be increased for private businesses that dump garbage illegally, up from $1,500 to $5,000, and rising to $20,000 for multiple violations.

If successful, the $32 million initiative will be rolled out to other areas.

Legend has it that there as many rats as humans 8.4 million but Columbia University statistician Jonathan Auerbach in 2014 debunked the myth, estimating the number of rats at two million.

While officials say there is no scientifically accurate way to count the rat population, de Blasio promised many thousands of rats would be eradicated.

Until now New Yorks main rodent weapon has been the so-called rat reservoir program, in which the city invested nearly $3 million in 2015 and which subjects concentrated areas to months of intense baiting.

In 2015, a New York rat shot to internet stardom when filmed walking down the stairs of a subway station with a slice of pizza in its mouth. The YouTube hit has been viewed nearly 10 million times. CBB

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New York unveils $32-million fight vs rats – Inquirer.net

Mice seen as invading City Hall – Philly.com – Philly.com

The shriekisinstantly recognizable.

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of

Well hear someone scream, and we know there is one out, said Alba Collazo, Philadelphias chief deputy register of wills.

A mouse, that is. Or, worse, plural.

Throughout its 116-year history, City Hall has had its fair share of vermin, but employees who have been there for decades say the current mice population is exploding.

Its infested. Ive never seen them this bad, said Matt Myers, inheritance tax chief, who has worked in the Register of Wills office for 30 years. Myers said that just last week, six to eight mice were caught in Room 180, the main reception area for the Register of Wills. Myers office is across the hall.

The Department of Public Property, however, says there is no problem. Through a city spokesman, department officials declined to be interviewed for this article. Instead, spokesman Mike Dunn offered four one-sentence bullet-point statements that said in part: There have been no reports from the pest control professionals indicating an increase in mice activity. And: There has been no emails or verbal conversations indicating an increase, from the pest folks.

Still, the citys pest-control costshave more than doubled in the last four years. In 2014, the city paid $55,777. This past fiscal year, which ended June 30, the city paid $133,573 for pest control. Increase in costs is due to bedbug treatments, Dunn said.

Bob Daily of Tri-County Pest Control points to a new trap he set up in the press office on the second floor of City Hall. (CLAUDIA VARGAS / Staff)

Myles Guevremont, general manager for Tri-County Pest Control, which has the pest control contract for City Hall, said he could not say whether there has been an increase in mice because this is the first year his company was contracted for pest control.

We dont really have anecdotal data to say, compared to last year it looks worse, Guevremont said.

But for those working on the first and second floors, this spring and early summer have been a contrast to prior years.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt, whos been in office since 2012, said that his first-floor office had not had any issues for a long time, but that within the last month, there had been a constant flow of mice in his office, and they were not there to register to vote.

We have 10 different types of traps set up, he said.

Recently, Schmidt caught the whiff of decomposition from an unseen corpse. The smell seemed to come from a back closet.

We tore it down to find it, Schmidt said. It was behind the water cooler.

Collazo, who has worked in the Register of Wills office for more than 30 years, said that every time there is construction nearby, the mice tend to be more active.

This has been our worst year that weve ever seen, Collazo said.

Experts say the problem likely has been exacerbated by people leaving foodbehind and the building not being properly sealed.

Martin Overline, president of Home Paramount Pest Control, which had the citys pest-control contract for several years until 2016, said the Department of Public Property needs to be involved in making sure there are not openings in the building to allow rodents in.

Mice usually follow utility lines. If the building is properly sealed, they cant travel along the lines, he said.

Carlos Hernandez, owner of Pest-A-Side, which until May had the largest pest-control contract with the city, blames the city for not having a designated eating area for employees.

I repeatedly said to them: put everything in a garbage disposal and get rid of it every day, Hernandez said. Dont eat at your desk. If you eat at your desk, of course mice are going to be around.

Guevremont, who now oversees pest control in City Hall, said that mice issues tend to be isolatedwithin specific offices and are not building-wide: The range of a mouse is very small. They are only traveling 15 to 30 feet from where there is a nest.

The Register of Wills office has sticky traps set up all alongthe perimeter of the floorboards.

Collazo said sometimes she can hear when the mice are caught on the sticky traps. Once they are dead, she can smell it: Ill call maintenance.

The customers who come in for birth certificates, marriage licenses, and services at the Register of Wills tend to be less scared than the employees who say they see the creatures almost daily.

A woman was sitting there, and she just goes, Oh, there goes the man with the brown shoes and fur coat, one of the Register of Wills receptionists said, reenacting her shock at the time.

The second-floor press office, across the hall from Mayor Kenneys suite, was also inundated with mice earlier this spring and into early summer. Sticky traps were set up to no avail, despite multiple sightings. A mice inspector set up a spring-loaded trap he called the neck-breaker. Two mice were caught on it within a week.

Bob Daily, an exterminator with Tri-County Exterminators, sets mouse traps around the City Hall press office.

On the other side of the second floor of City Hall, Room 296, which houses the Civil Filing Center, has been closed this summer due to bedbugs and renovations.

Hernandez, the citys former pest control manager, called the pest situation in city-run buildings very bad.

Bedbugs are sucking blood all over the place, he said. Theres mice running all over the place in police stations and fire stations.

As for the mice in City Hall, Collazo said, she is considering getting an office cat.

We would have to have a big one, she said.

Published: July 12, 2017 12:46 PM EDT

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