REVERE — Four weeks into a $150,000 rodent control program, more than 560 property owners have reached out to the city for extermination.
“The four professional exterminators retained by the city have been provided with all the addresses, most have been addressed, and the remaining locations will be addressed in the near future,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “But this is not the end of our effort.”
Heavy-duty, rodent-proof barrels will be distributed to every household in the city to be used for municipal trash collection and four exterminators have been retained by the city to combat the problem. Use of rodent-resistant bags for disposal of trash was made mandatory by a local ordinance and the Inspectional Services Department said penalties would strictly be enforced for failure to use them. This will continue until the distribution throughout the city later this year of 60-gallon heavy-duty covered trash barrels.
“Rats proliferate when there is a food supply, and when residents use flimsy trash bags or use careless trash bags or use careless trash disposal, it’s like setting out a meal for a rat,” said Arrigo.
Rodents and overgrown and unsanitary conditions are by far the most frequent complaint logged at the Mayor’s 311 Constituent Services hotline, and these complaints tend to originate in areas where reported rat activity is high, said Arrigo.
Arrigo said it is imperative that people are careful with storage and disposal of trash and that they keep their property free of overgrown shrubs and items that can serve as shelters for rats.
Rats colonize in nests and maintain their own territories. Individually, rats typically remain within a 150-foot radius of their nest, according to a statement from Arrigo’s office. They flourish in neighborhoods where their needs for food, water, and shelter are being met.
“In other words, inadvertently we are treating rats like pets rather than predators,” said Arrigo.
Dumpsters and trash barrels and the areas in which they are stored should be kept reasonably clean and free of food scraps. Property owners should take steps to prevent water from pooling under air conditioners or gutters and downspouts, and should take every effort to seal potential entry points into their homes, garages, and sheds with metal mesh, concrete, or durable sealants. Rats can squeeze through holes as small as one-half inch in diameter and enter a structure.
At the end of June, $150,000 in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget was allocated for rodent control. A major component of the first phase of the project was to retain extermination companies.
“We expect that this will at least be a start,” said Arrigo. “Still, as I have repeated over and over, no rodent control program will have any long-term success unless everyone in the city helps out.”