Rat Population Will Be Challenged
Circling the News spoke to Marty Friedman, Rec and Parks pest control advisor and Mark Jackson in the Rec and Parks forestry division, about the rat problem at the Palisades Rec Center.
“We have to remedy the rat issue,” Friedman said and noted that the rat problem had gotten worse this year because of the drought. He also said the situation downtown with the homeless, where there is also a large number of rats, and a recent outbreak of typhus, is a real problem.
“Rats/fleas carry about 46 potential virus and antibodies,” Friedman said and noted that they have taken steps to addressing the problems in the Palisade maintenance yard.
Exclusion is the first step they are using, which means they are closing places and access points where rats are breeding and living: 1) closing off all crawl spaces and vents in buildings at the Rec Center, where rats might have access and 2) cleaning the maintenance yard area of potential areas that might harbor rats, such as brush, boards, overgrown areas and other trash.
“Rats are in palm trees and shrubbery,” said Mark Jackson of the L.A. Park and Forestry division, which addresses pest control. “It will take time, the rats will never go away, we can only hope to control them.”
Friedman said removing the incinerator could be a problem because it might contain asbestos or other materials, which would need to be dealt with separately (many thought the incinerator was serving as a breeding ground for park rats). It has been cleaned out.
Friedman was asked if the people that live next to the park could possible have rats in their homes. “Absolutely,” he said, pointing out that rats don’t stop at the park and those people might consult with their own exterminator.
“We’re restricted with baits, we can’t use poison,” Jackson said.
“Right now, “there are no poisons in any of our parks,” Friedman said, saying that the single dose rodenticide poison that most people are familiar with is coming off the market because of concerns about secondary poison to feral cats and larger cats, such as bobcats.
There are some new bait boxes that use a paraffin bait, or a bait that will cause nerve damage and where it will take two or three feedings to kill the rat; but right now, they are not being used in the parks.
Glue traps will be put down at the maintenance center. He was asked if they are effective. “With juvenile rats, yes, with larger ones, no, because they can shake them off.” Maintenance officials are supposed to check daily to see if they are trapped and then dispose of the rat.
“We will get flack either way, no matter what we do,” Friedman said who notes they attend seminars and keep up with the latest literature about pest control..
“We will try to work in the best and safest matter,” he said. “We want to keep people safe.”
This is a worldwide problem we have been dealing with since we were cavepeople. Rats are really successful creatures. Killing some of them is a good way to instantly control the population, but to make a long term change, we have to just stop some of them from having pups…or so many pups.
Toronto put birth control pellets instead of poison in traps and the population went down.
But if the rats are weakened, what takes their place?
The strong rodenticides can sicken and kill not only cats, but also all the other animals that predate on mice and rats — and control their population growth: owls, eagles, hawks, mountain lions, foxes, coyotes, etc.
It’s long overdue for them to be removed from the market!