Ratastic News Week “Chinese Take-Out and Gentrification” Edition!

David Bennett

Rats and people—some would say the two don’t mix.  In this edition of the Ratastic Newsflash, we’ll give you a mixed view of the strange couplings of rats and people, and a suggestion that when news organizations report on staggering rat infestations from 311 sources, that maybe it’s not the rats that are being counted, but actually, the people’s complaints as more neighborhoods undergo gentrification.  Then there’s the guy on a NYC subway who fed a rat Chinese take-out—on his lap—in another portrait of a seeming comradeship that has also been demonstrated by New Yorkers when it came to Pizza Rat, Avocado Rat, and Subway Flood Rat!   Then we’ll go to Baltimore, MD, where no doubt the owner and patrons of Insomniac Cookies are experiencing insomnia because of an infestation of the store!


Last week’s quiz question! Who’s the greatest ratter ever? Who do rat dogs today have to measure up to?

Answer: The record was set by Jacko a 13lb bull terrier on 1862 during a rat baiting contest, when he killed 100 rats in 5 minutes, 28 seconds!

This week’s quiz question: How many Nobel Prizes have been based on research with rats?



Are newspapers mapping rats or mapping gentrification?  You decide!

Housing Wire says that in NYC, “rat sightings reported to the city soared nearly 38% to 17,353 last year from 12,617 in 2014, The New York Times said. In the same period, the number of times city health

inspections found active signs of rats nearly doubled.”  The article also pointed out that the greatest amount of rat complaints come from the affluent Upper West Side. “   This seems to prove a point for the writer of a Deadspin article that makes the claim that most rat complaints in New York City come from wealthy white people, and that newspapers  inflate the problem because they can’t tell the difference between where there are people there are rats, or where there are wealthy white people, there are complaints about rats: “Where there are people, there are rats. Or, more accurately: Where there are well-off white people, there are complaints about rats. It’s just that two of the country’s biggest newspapers can’t seem to tell the difference.”  Moreover, the author claims that because the main source for newspapers reporting on major infestations of rats are complaints made to 311, which is publicly accessible.  So she asks the question, “Who is calling 311?”  She also asks whether accessing 311 calls is really the best way to measure the true numbers of rat infestations.  She decides—maybe not and says to keep in mind that the most calls come from neighborhoods that are rapidly gentrifying. “It comes clearer with a simple question: Who, exactly, is calling 311 about rats? The pieces published this week in the New York Times and last August in the Washington Post came to similar conclusions about where D.C. and New York City are seeing spikes in rativity (rat activity): the neighborhoods most rapidly gentrifying.   The basis for this is that when people in rapidly gentrifying areas call in to complain, it is because they think the city will do something about it, and that is complaints that are up, not rat numbers.  “A person’s tendency to call 311 is less about if they see a rat on their walk home from the subway and more about their belief that if they complain about it, the city will do something.  A study from 2016 drives this home, pointing out that it’s not that some people see more rats than others, it’s that some people think their complaints get heard and others, well, might have some experience to the contrary.”   The article says that restaurant data from the Health Department is more  accurate when it comes to actual rat counts.   The reports will usually state if rats were found.   She concludes by saying that the best way is to actually go out and count rats. 

Man nonchalantly feeds rat takeout on his lap in NYC subway

For most people, the sight of a rat will put them off their lunch.  Not so with one good Samaritan on a NYC subway, which seems to support the odd comradeship some New Yorkers have for these little creatures that other people only want to kill.  The little guy smelled something delicious!  He was SOOOO hungry! A man eating Chinese takeout had what looked like a pet rat in his lap.  Did the man flip out?  Did he toss his food and run screaming?  Not so! He looked at his food, and he looked at the rat.  And like St. Francis welcoming the animals, the man started feeding the rat from his own takeout container as the rat perched on his lap savoring every delicious crumb. MSN.com got a video someone else took of the spectacle.  No one else seemed perturbed either.

Rat infestation at Insomnia Cookies in Baltimore may make you never sleep again

Insomnia Cookies in Baltimore, MD probably never thought they might live up to their name until they got a rat infestation that made them shut down until it was taken care of.  The Baltimore Sun reports that the establishment was shut down by the Health Department.   Insomnia Cookies specializes in warm cookies delivered until 3:00 am daily—hence the name. They’re so good you’re going to get a cookie attack and not sleep until you have one!  Who needs sleep?   You need cookies!   The chain has more than 100 locations in various states, but only one location in Baltimore was shut down.    Baltimore is on the Orkin Rattiest Cities 2018 list, coming in at number 9.   Baltimore had been number 6 two years ago, so rat control measures the city is taking seem to be working, such as sealed garbage cans and other measures. This Segway’s well into talking about RodeXit rodent proofing strips, We can help !  


RodeXit Exclusion Rodent Proofing strips.

“ Most Rodents that gain entry to buildings enter beneath doors that aren’t rodent proofed or from doors that have been left open or ajar.” *

    *Page 107 – Robert M. Corrigan: “Rodent Control – A Practical Guide for Pest Management Professionals.”


The RodeXit technology was successfully tested by the Danish Technological Institute in a wear and tear test.

  • A straight strip was mounted on a 72 cm broad swing door panel.
  • When the door was closed, there was no gap between the strip and the underlying terrain.
  • The underlying terrain was a slab of concrete.
  • The underlying terrain was (contrary to good building practice)
  • 1.5 % reverse-sloped – 1⁄2 inch on 1 yard (1.5 cm on 1 m).
  • The door was opened and closed 13 thousand times.
  • The RodeXit strip was only marginally affected. 
  • Less than 0,04 in (1 mm) was worn off.

To Close a pest control company operator reached out this last week and shared these comments and images about RodeXit exclusions proofing strip installation. 

” It took no time at all to install it , this is what I like about it . I’ve spent 5 minutes on installation, it took more time to get the tools!! Speaking about tools: pair of diagonal cutters, marker and electric screwdriver, not much at all!!!
I replaced a brush type door sweep that was installed 6weeks ago, mice chewed right through in no time.”

Tags: Cityrats, Eco Friendly, Environmental impact, Exclusion, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, Norway rats, NPMA, NWCOA, NYPMA, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Rats, Rodent exclusion, Rodexit

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