Major Improvements to Rat Eradication Efforts
Wednesday Nov 19th, 2014
Mayor Rawlings-Blake Announces Major Improvements to Rat Eradication Efforts
Strategic changes embrace "Treat, Repeat, Track, and Educate" approach
BALTIMORE, Md. (November 19, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. to announce a new proactive approach to eradicating rats in Baltimore City. The City's improved Rat Eradication Program will involve training and reassigning current DPW employees to the program. With these additional employees, the entire rat eradication team will concentrate on one of DPW's nine districts at a time, unlike previous efforts, which were spread throughout the city.
"With this improved program, we will have the capacity to treat every city alley every 20 days," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "Rat infestation is not a problem unique to Baltimore City by any stretch of the imagination, but my administration is committed to realizing a cleaner, healthier city, free of rats and blight. This is just another step toward that goal."
The new program will cover 12,250 alleys (4,555 miles)—treating every alley every 20 days and repeating the process until every rat burrow is eliminated. This logical approach coincides with a rat's 20-day gestation period, aiming to reduce reproduction and eliminate new generations of rats as they appear.
The former program was comprised of an eight-employee team, which conducted approximately 1,100 rodent inspections every two weeks; the new program will require 15 field employees. Inspectors will work as a single team in each of the nine districts, one district at a time, inspecting and baiting simultaneously. With the increased workforce under the new and improved program, DPW expects to conduct more than 5,000 inspections every two weeks.
The Department of Public Works will continue to respond to individual rodent-related 311 service requests, using these requests to monitor rat migration and assess the impact of the program's concentrated efforts. Additionally, DPW is developing a new predictive analytics program to identify relationships between various sanitation- and health-related 311 service requests and track where rat complaints are shifting or becoming more prevalent. This new system will allow DPW to adjust deployment as needed.
Because treatment will have little effect without additional public education, DPW is also launching an aggressive campaign to increase citizen awareness. This effort will include the dissemination of hang tags and flyers. To reinforce the distributed literature, DPW community liaisons will tour various communities to help educate citizens on proper containment of trash and disposal of animal waste—both common food sources for rats.
"The most important step in getting rid of rats is taking away their source of food," said DPW Director Chow. "Keeping tight lids on trash cans and picking up after pets will do more than anything else to eliminate these rodents."
Enforcement efforts, including citations, will continue at problem locations. The new Rat Eradication Program will be assessed comprehensively at the end of twelve months.