NEW YORK (PIX11) — There are millions of rat stories in New York City, but perhaps none quite like those from an exterminator.
PIX11’s Eileen Lehpamer got a first-hand look at the never-ending job of a “rat killer” by spending the day with one who is doing his job a little differently. On a bright and sunny morning, Matt Deodato, with Urban Pest Management, was on the hunt for rat nests in Yorkville, Manhattan. Like many neighborhoods, it’s an area flooded with rodent complaints
“I don’t see any burrows close to the holes,” he said. “They’re the size of a fist.”
But it didn’t take long. He found at least four active rat burrows inside tree beds on East 95th Street, near First Avenue.
Deodato is using a method that’s less common than the typical rat bait stations that most exterminators put out. It’s called Burrow X. He puts the hose down into the rat holes.
“The Burrow X machine gives out carbon monoxide, and they are dying from the exposure to the carbon monoxide,” Deodato explained. “If you have an active area, it eliminates it in 3 to 5 minutes.”
In a city where people are phased by very little, the gassing of the rat burrows stopped New Yorkers in their tracks.
“Every once in a while, the big guys, they’ll come up … through the burrow,” Deodato said.
Erica Venero, who lives on East 95th Street, calls the block “rat alley” and blames the garbage thrown out in bags, especially behind a nearby public school.
“The garbage will probably be this high, so if you’re walking, they are frolicking waist-high from you,” she said. “They should have bins or something.”
Deodato said proper garbage bins are key because rats can chew through the traditional hard plastic cans.
“These are all the things that just make it so easy for them to survive,” he said of the improperly kept garbage.
The rules around curbside trash pickup change in April. New Yorkers will have to put trash out later at night, so it doesn’t sit as long before pickup. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is also trying to hire a rat czar.
Data from 311 shows that requests for help with rats jumped by 1,500 calls from 2021 to 2022.
“What can you do? It’s winning battles. I think the war, in the end, is theirs,” Deodato said.
Rats are also getting into cars and chewing up wires. It’s happening to 30% of cars brought into mechanics, especially in the colder months, according to David Goldsmith with Urban Classics Auto Repair.
So what can folks do to protect their car? Eileen Lehpamer will have more on Tuesday at 10 p.m.