Watch CBS News

New York City health department offers advice on how to combat rat problems

How New York City residents can try to keep rats under control
How New York City residents can try to keep rats under control 02:10

NEW YORK -- Keeping rats under control has been an ongoing conversation between the New York City health department and residents.

CBS2's Alecia Reid reports on recommendations from the DOH "Rat Academy."

Rats will gnaw through just about anything softer than steel, including cement and wood, according to the city health department. They also breed quickly and only need an ounce of food and water each day to survive.

RELATED STORY: New York City proposes series of bills to mitigate rat problem

If you see a lot of rats, their food source is nearby.

With 8 million residents in New York City, the DOH says the average household produces about 8 pounds of food waste each week -- enough to feed 19 rats in that span of time.

"When we put our trash away, we put it in the bins," Upper West Side resident Alison Levy said.

Levy has the right idea. Closed garbage cans with secure lids will deter rodents.

This week, the Department of Health held a so-called "Rat Academy" to educate people on how to reduce rats.

Vermin leave urine and droppings everywhere they go. In order to destroy the path that other rodents will follow, clean regularly and use a bleach solution. Also, seal up holes and cracks in walls.

"I've seen people just drop things everywhere, but then I try to just pick it up," Los Angeles resident Eviana Vergara said.

The city is currently removing abandoned dining structures, which are ideal habitats for rats.

To help in the battle against rats, the sanitation department is considering changing the time you can put out trash from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Residents using trash bins with sealed lids could put out as early as 6 p.m.

READ MORE: NYC sanitation department looking into plan to curb garbage, rat problems

"I think that's a great idea. We need to minimize the amount of trash that's on the street available to rats," Park Slope resident Sam Vasquez said.

Rats can fit through a hole the size of a quarter and mice can fit through anything the size of a dime. Keep that in mind if you see any openings near the foundation of your home.

To report a rat problem, call 311. Those complaints get sent to the Department of Health. DOH inspectors will step in for emergency pest control treatment only when an owner fails to.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.