New York City To Host First National ‘Rat Summit’


New York City will host its very first National Urban Rat Summit this fall, Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday.

The summit will invite experts like academic researchers and municipal pest control managers to come together and share strategies on rodent mitigation and “advance the science of urban rat management,” the city said in a press release. Experts from across the country—including Boston, New Orleans, and Seattle—will be invited to attend the summit, which will be held on Sept. 18 and 19.

“New Yorkers may not know this about me—but I hate rats, and I’m confident most of our city’s residents do as well,” Adams said in the press release. “The best way to defeat our enemy is to know our enemy. That’s why we’re holding this inaugural summit, to bring experts and leaders from across the country together to better understand urban rats and how to manage their populations.”

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management Program will host the summit.

Read More: Rat Infestations Are a Global Problem. Is Birth Control the Solution?

The announcement of the summit comes after city officials have embarked on several initiatives to combat the city’s growing rat population. New York is the third “rattiest” city in the U.S., after Chicago and Los Angeles, according to the pest control company Orkin’s 2023 ranking. The rankings are based on the number of new rat treatments—both residential and public—that Orkin performed in the cities over the year.

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In September 2019, then Brooklyn borough President Eric Adams announces the results of a pilot program aimed at curbing the rat population in New York. Angela Weiss—AFP/Getty Images

In April 2023, Adams appointed Kathleen Corradi as the citywide director of rodent mitigation, the first person to hold the position meant to address the city’s rat problem. The city also now has four “Rat Mitigation Zones,” which are areas that the city targets to reduce rat populations.

New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch also led an initiative to containerize all 14 billion pounds of trash that the city produces annually, according to the city’s press release. All that trash used to sit on the street out of containers for hours, attracting rats. (Tisch is perhaps best known for the line that made her go viral in October 2022: “The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement. But the rats don’t run this city. We do.”)

Rat sightings reported to 311 have since declined, according to the city’s press release. Within the city’s Rat Mitigation Zones, rat sightings have gone down nearly 14%.

“Under Mayor Adams’ leadership, New York City is taking the fight to the rats, enacting proven strategies that have been delayed by inertia for too long—and getting results, with rat sightings down 12 of the 13 months since we began the Herculean task of getting all 44 million daily pounds of rat-attracting trash off the streets,” Tisch said in the city’s press release. “The Urban Rat Summit is an opportunity to share best practices as the ‘Trash Revolution’ marches forward.”



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