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Uptick in rat infestations since Sandy

Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:03 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Exterminators in New York City said they have seen an uptick in rat complaints, especially inland, since Hurricane Sandy.

The specialists speculated many of the area's rats were driven inland by storm swells and flooding along coastal areas during the storm, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The problem was compounded by homes left vacant, piles of garbage from cleaning up storm damage, even more garbage from the winter holidays and the frigid weather driving rats indoors.

"They became so bad I couldn't even take all the jobs," said Jonathan Vargas, a partner with All Day Exterminating.

Vargas said his rat complaint calls have doubled since Hurricane Sandy.

Timothy Wong, a managing partner with M&M Environmental pest control company said the disruption of the subway and sewer didn't help. He said the current rat problem is the worst he's seen in 10 years.

"There's so much garbage out in the streets these days. Renovations because of the flood. Christmas trees. These things make it worse. For them, it's restaurant week," Wong said.

Meanwhile, citations for rat infestations are down with only 1,996 issued since the story, compared to 2,750 issued during the same period last year, the Times reported.

Since Hurricane Sandy, the Health Department said it has stopped issuing violations for Zone A, which includes parts of all five boroughs.

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