Nostrand roadwork might scatter rats, But Health Department said it's not where they live

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It’s not only the size of the rats, it’s the multitude – and there have been numerous sightings of both in Bedford-Stuyvesant of late.

Community Board 3 Chairman Henry Butler said part of the problem could be the preliminary infrastructure work being down before the massive reconstruction where Nostrand Avenue between Flushing and Atlantic Avenues commences.

The roadwork comes after the community has been complaining for years of the many potholes and road conditions along Nostrand Avenue, he said.

“Usually when there’s a big construction project the [rat] problem comes rising up,” said Butler, adding it happened after the roadwork along Stuyvesant Avenue.

Normally, prior to any major road reconstruction, utility companies are called in to replace faulty or old wires, pipes and lines so a newly paved road won’t have to be ripped up right away.  Currently, National Grid is doing just that along Nostrand Avenue off DeKalb Avenue.

A Community Board 3 spokesperson said they tried to get a pre-construction rat abatement done, but National Grid said it wasn’t their responsibility.
National Grid spokesperson Karen Young reiterated to this paper that it’s the city’s Department of Health that responds to complaints about rodents.

“National Grid meets with the local community boards to provide information about our construction projects,” said Young. “We encourage them to contact the appropriate agencies with experts trained in dealing with specific matters such as pest control.”

DOH spokesperson Susan Craig said while construction work can disturb the nesting area of rats, it is not necessarily where rats live. Rats live where there is an abundance of food, water and shelter to live, she said.

“ From Jan. 1 until now, we have done 1,048 initial and compliance inspections by pest control services in the Community Board 3 area (Bed-Stuy). We’ve issued 168 notices of violations to properties with active rat signs, and we have administered 1,267 bating applications,” said Craig.

The Health Department’s Bureau of Veterinary and Pest Control Services answers complaints about rats conducts inspections, exterminates, and issues violations to properties with active rat signs, including uncovered garbage.

According to the DOH Web site, rats like to build nests or burrows in the earth and prefer traveling along the same paths over and over–often using building foundations, walls, fences and bushes to find their way.

To keep rats out of your property or neighborhood, you and your neighbors can take steps to make life more difficult for rats:
· Clean up: garbage and clutter give rats a place to hide.
· Store all garbage in hard plastic rat-resistant containers with lids. Rats eat your garbage.
· Provide enough trash containers for all of the occupants of your building. Any exposed trash will attract rats.
· Keep landscaped areas around your property free of tall weeds and trim shrubs that are close to the ground.
· Check for cracks or holes in the foundation of your building, sidewalk, and under doors and repair them by filling and sealing them.

For more information visit www.nyc.gov and go to the Department of Health link.

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