Ratastic News Week “Mutant Rat-Humans” Edition

David Bennett

When science fiction becomes real, life becomes very interesting!   National Geographic highlighted 8 Jules Verne inventions that actually came true.  Jules Verne of course is famous for his 1870 science fiction novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (among others that he wrote!).  For instance, the inventions he talked about that came true included the electric submarine, television/radio newscasts (he mentioned these in 1889 in an article he wrote called “In the Year 2889: “”Instead of being printed, theEarth Chronicleis every morning spoken to subscribers, who, from interesting conversations with reporters, statesmen and scientists, learn the news of the day”), solar sails, lunar modules and skywriting just to name a few!    Scientific achievement marches on, and so we’ll take a look at a Japanese researcher who is growing human organs in rats!   Rat brains are helping to develop smarter self-driving cars too! (Just a couple of the ways rats help medical and technological advancement for people!)   We’ll also take a look at one effective measure the city of Baltimore is using that is  drastically decreasing rat burrows (something that our friends in Los Angeles may want to implement!), and finally, the chain store Family Dollar is increasingly finding itself in the midst of rodent infestation publicity not just in one store, but in a few stores across the country.


Last week’s quiz question: Are you right handed or left handed? Rats too have a preference! Which hand do rats use most often? 

Answer: Most rats are right handed!

This week’s quiz question: Who is the patron saint of Pest Control?




When the Truth is Stranger than Fiction:  Japanese Researcher Uses Human Stem Cells to grow Human Organs in Rats, and Rat Brains Help to Develop Smarter Self-Driving Cars!

The nation of Japan recently paved the way for a Japanese researcher to grow human organs in rats! DW.com reports: “A Japanese researcher is set to become the first scientist to develop live animals that contain human organs. Hiromitsu Nakauchi plans to insert human stem cells into rats and then transfer the cells into other animals.  Japan has become the first country to allow the birthing of human-animal embryos to create human organs.  Experts at the Science Ministry approved a proposal by University of Tokyo researcher Hiromitsu Nakauchi to grow human stem cells in mouse, rat and pig embryos and then transplant those cells into another animal, according to Naturemagazine. Nakauchi hopes to eventually create animals with complete human organs that could be transferred into a human body… In 2017, the researcher effectively cured a diabetic mouse by growing a healthy mouse pancreas in a rat embryo before transplanting it into the sick mouse.”   Although used extensively in labs for many medical experiments, rats, mice and pigs aren’t considered the best hosts for the growth of human organs because of the genetic distance between these animals and humans, so Nakauchi is hoping that this work helps scientists better understand this problem.    Despite this issue, rats are also helping to develop smarter self-driving vehicles as well!  Makes sense since rats are so freaking smart!   Science Daily explains:  “In a study published in Nature Communications, BU researchers Jake Hinman, William Chapman, and Michael Hasselmo, director of BU’s Center for Systems Neuroscience and a College of Arts &


Sciences professor of psychological and brain sciences, confirmed the presence of specialized brain cells that provide rats with personal maps of their surroundings. They believe that human brains likely have these neurons too, although further research is needed to be certain of this. The study, partially funded by a $7.5 million multidisciplinary grant from the Department of Defense, offers valuable insights into the workings of the brain’s navigational system — knowledge that could be leveraged to create smarter autonomous vehicles that can find their way around obstacles as well as living organisms.”



Rat Burrows Down 80% in Baltimore:  Increasing Rat Inspections Play Key Role in Rat Burrow Reduction Says City

We’ve been interested of late in innovations and best practices various cities are putting into place to control rat infestations in the war against rats.   We think that simple, non-toxic innovation coupled with a good IPM program can really deal rat infestations a death blow!  The City of Baltimore has, over the last two year, implemented what might seem a very small change, yet one that has reaped big rewards: increasing rat inspections from 100,000 to 160,000 per year that identifies locations of rat burrows throughout the city.   Less rat burrows mean less rats, and it’s all part of the city’s Healthy Elimination of All Pests Long-Term Campaign!   WBALTV.com explains: “The department released multiple facts to back their claims. Officials said they have increased inspections from 100,000 to 160,000 per year. Through those inspections, officials said they reduced identified rat burrows by nearly 85%, from 1,863 to 282. DPW officials credit the inspections for a decrease in 311 calls for rat abatement by 38% in the past two years. They said other East Coast cities have seen increases in the same time period.”  New York City also uses inspections coupled with a computer-based mapping system called appropriately, RIP (Rat Information Portal).  Their site says “Information about the most recent inspections, compliance, baitings, and cleanups on any given property are available as far back as September 2009. Check the date of a failed inspection — the property owner may have already fixed the problem.” New York City ranks #3 on Orkin’s Rattiest Cities list.   Chicago, which is #1 on the Rattiest Cities List and has been in the #1 spot the last four years recently increased the number of rat control crews, with a resultant 18% drop in rodent complaints in the last 2 years just by adding ten more crews.    It is often the simplest fixes that are the most important!   Baltimore came in at #9 on Orkin’s Rattiest Cities list for 2018.   We think innovation is amazing, and we will be talking a lot more about innovation in rodent control over the next little while. 


Family Dollar Stores Across Country Experiencing Rodent Infestations

From March to July this year, Family Dollar stores across the nation have been experiencing rodent infestations that have brought them unwelcome publicity.   We couldn’t help noticing that most (not all) of the cities where the infestations have been occurring also features on Orkin’s Rattiest Cities list:

Memphis, TN –#49 on Orkin’s list, store closed while the company clears the infestation as of 7/23/19

Milwaukee, WI#21  Issue resolved as of March 2019

Pittsburgh, PA, #19  Issue resolved as of March 2019

Las Vegas, NV (not on Orkin’s list) Issue quickly resolved by the company and store is now open as  of 5/1/19

Cobb County, GA, which is on the outskirts of Atlanta,GA–#15 on Orkin’s list

The infestation at these Family Dollar locations may be a result of rat infestations existing already in these cities, and we highlight this issue with Family Dollar to show that city infestations negatively impact area businesses.    In the case of Cobb County, GA, because it is on the outskirts of Atlanta, which has an existing infestation issue, the rats seem to be expanding out towards the suburbs.   The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:“A spokesperson from Dollar Tree, Family Dollar’s parent company, sent Channel 2 a statement that said: “We closed our store in May to address property maintenance issues. We are working with contractors and plan to reopen our store in August.”  The company has been working to resolve the infestation issues in all of the cities that have had problems.


Word of thanks! 

Attended District of Columbia Rat Riddance Rodent and Vector Control Academy, sponsored by the District of Columbia Department of Public health, the two days flew by.  Thanks to Gerard Brown, Program Manager- Rodent Vector Control Division, Wanda Williams, Donna Bennett and rest of team putting together this outstanding program.

Class was facilitated by Bobby Corrigan who masterfully engages all, learn practical knowledge every time listen to him, the teaching style is  best have witnessed, vast knowledge presented in palatable form. 


Also privileged to interface with Scott Mullaney from Unique Pest Management,  who we published case study on recently.








IPM – Integrated Pest Management, included component about exclusion, day 2 afternoon comprised of localized real world rodent intervention.



In a single back alley, mainly back entrances for restaurants,  captured these images where RodeXit proofing strips would meet the challenge of blocking threshold gaps, irregular gaps in case of vertical door sweep for rodent exclusion. 

Image of garbage can lid gnawed by rodent highlights the issues. 






Visit us at PestWorld2019 San Diego, California, October 15th– 18th. booths 140 & 142


Tags: Exclusion, Food quality and safety, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, National Pest Management Association, Norway rats, NPMA, NWCOA, NYPMA, Pest Control services, Pest management, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Quality Assurance, Rat infestation, Rats, Rodent exclusion, Rodexit

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