There have been several reports of rats invading homes in Middle Village. At the December Town Meeting of the Juniper Park Civic Association, representatives from the Department of Health warned that unless measures were taken by homeowners, the rat population will continue to increase.

There's information you have to know and some things you have to do on your part in this war against rats…. Rats learn fast. They adapt to new environments quickly, and to eating new and different foods. That's why getting rid of them is so hard.

Fighting rats is a community effort. So, please, share this information with as many neighbors as you can. We have to work together to succeed.

Know the enemy…
Rats make their homes near wherever their food is. So store foods off the floor in closed or sealed containers.

Pools of dirty, standing water are good enough for them to drink.

Rats are the most active at night. They can chew through wood, wallboard, plaster and even concrete to get to food.

Rats can squeeze through openings no more than 1/2 inch high. So they get into your home by squirming through the space around pipes or between doors and walls, through holes in screens and floors, even between windows and window frames.

Female rats have lots and lots of babies. As many as 35 to 285 a year. So poisoning a few rats in a few isolated neighborhoods will never do more than temporarily reduce their numbers. It's going to take an all-out war to defeat them.

Make it hard for rats to get into your garbage…
• All your family's garbage should be cleaned away as soon as possible. Put it into a paper or plastic bag, and then into a metal garbage can with a tight fitting cover. Make sure it is ready for collection whenever that time is.
• Don't put any liquids into your garbage can. And try, if you can, to wash your garbage can out with soap and water whenever you empty it.
Some more defenses you can take….
• You can quickly fill any small holes in your house or apartment: just stuff steel wool into holes.
• Check that there are no spaces between window and door frames and the building's walls.
• Don't throw any rubbish into the yard, alleyways,
• Ask your neighbors not to also.

To report rat sightings or droppings, call:
The New York City Department of Health Bureau of Central Complaints 212/442-9666