America Is on the Verge of Ratpocalypse

Edal Anton Lefterov – Own work A rat in а street of Sofia CC BY-SA 3.0 File:Street-rat.jpg Created: 1 August 2011

Warmer weather is fueling a rodent surge, straining public health systems and the economy. It’s time for the federal government to step in.

From The New Republic

By Emily Atkin

August 23, 2017

Bobby Corrigan is the rat master. Some call him the rat czar. To others, he is simply a rodentologist, or as NBC recently described him, “one of the nation’s leading experts on rats.” Call him what you want; he is mostly alarmed. “I travel all over the world with this animal, and the amount of complaints and feedback and questions I hear right now are all, ‘We’ve never seen rats in the city like this before,” he said. “They’re all expressing the same concern: Our rat problem is worse than ever.”

Most cities know rat woes well. Washington, D.C., for instance, has burned through countless plans to stymie its longstanding “rat problem” or “rodent crisis,” in which disease-ridden critters are not only growing in number but ballooning to the size of human infants.

What they don’t know is how this all will end. Houston, Texas, is seeing a rat spike this year, and so is New York City. In Chicago, rodent complaints for the early part of the summer have increased about 9 percent from last year, forcing city officials to start sprinkling the streets with rat birth control. Philadelphia and Boston were recently ranked the two cities with the most rat sightings in the country. And it’s not just this year; as USA Today reported last year, major cities saw spikes in rodent-related business from 2013 to 2015. Calls to Orkin, the pest control service, were reportedly “up 61 percent in Chicago; 67 percent in Boston; 174 percent in San Francisco; 129 percent in New York City; and 57 percent in Washington, D.C.”

It’s no surprise that rats thrive in cities, where humans provide an abundance of food and shelter. But experts now agree that the weather is playing a role in these recent increases. Extreme summer heat and this past winter’s mild temperatures have created urban rat utopias.

“The reason the rats are so bad now, we believe, is because of the warm winters,” said Gerard Brown, program manager of the Rodent and Vector Control Division of the D.C. Department of Health, at a 2016 rat summit.

Rat pro Corrigan agrees. “Breeding usually slows down during the winter months,” he said. But with shorter, warmer winters becoming more common—2016 was America’s warmest winter on record—rats are experiencing a baby boom. “They have an edge of squeezing out one more litter, one more half litter,” Corrigan said.

One more litter or half litter makes a serious difference when a population boom is not only a nuisance, but a public health and economic crisis. Rats breed like rabbits; as this alarming Rentokil graphic shows, two rats in an ideal environment can turn into 482 million rats over a period of three years. Urban rats caused $19 billion worth of economic damage in the year 2000, partially due to the fact that they eat away at buildings and other infrastructure. Imagine how much they’re costing now.

What’s more, every new litter increases the risk of a rodent-borne disease. A 2014 Columbia University study showed that New York City’s rats carry diseases like E. coli, salmonella, and Seoul hanta­virus, which “can cause Ebolalike hemorrhagic fever,” according to the Washington Post. Rats also carry the rare bacterial disease known as leptospirosis, which recently killed one person and sickened two in the Bronx.

Clearly, the coming ratpocalypse is no longer a city-centric problem. It is threatening the health of millions across the country, costing billions of dollars, and is being fueled by global climate change that the U.S. primarily created. And yet cities—which are expected to hold 70 percent of the world’s population by 2050—are largely dealing with their rodent crises on their own. Why isn’t the federal government stepping in?

The federal government wasn’t always silent on rats. From 1969 to 1982, the Center for Disease Control awarded cities grants under what was known as the Urban Rat Control program, championed by then-President Lyndon Johnson. The program started small, servicing only 19 communities across the country, but eventually grew to serve 65 communities with an annual budget of $13 million, which was matched by state and local governments. While the program did experience some hiccups, it was widely considered successful. Quoting the CDC, the Associated Press reported in 1982: “As a result of the efforts, 7.7 million people now live in rat-free, environmentally improved neighborhoods.”

But President Ronald Reagan eliminated the program, saying the rat problem should be dealt with by individual states. That irked former CDC Director of Environmental Health William Houk, who told United Press International at the time that the program was “one of the more worthwhile projects of the federal government.” Reagan’s decision to cut it, Houk said, “is a classic example of the government doing something with the people instead of for them.”

Rat-plagued cities are now left to their own devices. And they’re not exactly doing a great job. In part, that’s because rats are elusive. As Linda Poon wrote this year for CityLab, “no one really knows how many rats there are. Not in New York City, nor Washington, D.C., nor Chicago—all three of which rank among the most rodent-infested cities in the U.S.” Rats in these urban areas depend on humans for food and shelter, meaning their environment only improves as more and more humans cram into cities with every passing year. And as researchers noted in the Journal of Urban Ecology this year, rats rapidly evolve to resist poisons, the most commonly known form of extermination.

Read the rest of the story here.

HT/John R T

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August 30, 2017 8:09 pm

Does this mean global warming is set to “resurrect” mus ianuarius santerii, the (misnamed) Santer’s dormouse?
Since the last exemplar was seen “deposited on a scientist’s [Ben Santer’s] doorstep by suspected Conservatives who then drove off in a yellow SUV” no less than 21 years ago!
Fears are held for the extinction status of this iconic disembowelled rat. “Authorities” (in ecology) have asked the public to be on the lookout for its distinctive features:
supine posture
vivid blood-red coloring*
chilling effect on scientific honesty
(*Like the porcupine, Santer’s Dormouse knows One Big Thing: how to fool predators into thinking it’s playing dead. When in fact it’s simply dead.)

Bryan A
Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 31, 2017 8:43 am

This breaking NEWS footage was just uncovered. A News crew went to visit the Gilbert’s Islands to verify first hand just how much inundation was occurring due to sea level rise. The reporters and camera crew were never heard from again. A second investigating team was sent to determine the fate of the first crew but all they found was their blood spattered cameras and sound gear AND this clip on the tape.

Charles Dolci
Reply to  Bryan A
September 2, 2017 3:16 pm

Oh my goodness. I didn’t realize the problem was that serious. If we ignore this crisis we do so at our own peril. I for one will not stand idly by and let this go unchecked. I am going to my gun dealer and get an assault rifle with the largest capacity magazine the law allows.

Reply to  Charles Dolci
September 3, 2017 6:20 am

I recommend a Browning .50mm with a 100 bullet clipazine! Ought to get the job done. ;}

george e. smith
Reply to  Brad Keyes
September 2, 2017 6:59 pm

Just hold em up by the tail, and dip them in the donut embalming grease.
Takes all the hair off in a jiffy, and you might even lock in the scream.
Tastes just like chicken !

August 30, 2017 8:11 pm

Another day, another bogeyman.

Reply to  markl
August 31, 2017 7:12 am

Thanks to the ongoing Bogeyman Grants and Bogeyman Ex gratia incentives programs.

Reply to  markl
August 31, 2017 7:13 am

I live in a 250,000 region, with ZERO stories about a lot of rats. Never see rats running around anywhere.
This sounds like another climate change baloney.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 31, 2017 11:33 am

They’re running around New York, but that’s directly caused by Mayor DeBlasio’s Greatest Hits–like encouraging the homeless mentally ill to swarm there from practically everywhere else, with the promise of “free” housing in top-drawer hotels and handouts of everything else. While in fact they live on the streets leaving waste, spoiled food and garbage everywhere in between ranting, spitting, peeing and shoving innocent people onto the subway tracks. Mayor Putz also got rid of the prior rat-control programs that under his predecessor Mayor Bloomberg were working just FINE. But you know, keep listening to the likes of PETA instead of exterminators. Don’t even get me started on his upstate counterpart Gov. Cuomo II, who can’t wait to dismantle the extant power infrastructure. Expect an NYC ghost town in 5 years if these 2 clowns don’t get voted out of office!

DD More
Reply to  Sunsettommy
August 31, 2017 11:48 am

Why are we getting Political Stories again?
Calls to Orkin pest control service “up 61 percent in Chicago; 67 percent in Boston; 174 percent in San Francisco; 129 percent in New York City; and 57 percent in Washington, D.C.”
Rat-plagued cities are now left to their own devices. And they’re not exactly doing a great job. In part, that’s because rats are elusive. As Linda Poon wrote this year for CityLab, “no one really knows how many rats there are. Not in New York City, nor Washington, D.C., nor Chicago—all three of which rank among the most rodent-infested cities in the U.S.”

Reply to  DD More
August 31, 2017 12:34 pm

Because Man Caused Globall Warmining is purely political, no science involved. Same with rat infestation increase, nothing science related, at all, totally caused by politics.

Reply to  markl
August 31, 2017 8:42 am

Well, yes. I have lived in this very ordinary suburb for 44 years – I do remember finding one dead rat in my garden 40 years ago – haven’t seen one since, dead or alive. The article nevertheless makes sense : of course rats will benefit from warmer winters – and we certainly do have warmer winters these days.

Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 8:11 pm

No rats here. Got cats and snakes that watch my barn and sheds. Watched a Black Ratsnake shed his skin this morning and held it up to measure. I’m 6′-2″ and had to hold its head above mine to keep the tail from touching the ground. Lots of Corn snakes and Bullsnakes this year too.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 8:47 pm

“No rats here” ….r u srsly?
As a climate psychologist, I have to wonder if you’re looking out the same faculty lounge window the rest of us are.
Our Department is so overrun by the bubonic little critters, we’ve started giving them tenure.comment image

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 30, 2017 8:53 pm

Gotta love that. Thanks Brad. 🙂

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 30, 2017 9:19 pm

Have to share this, when I watch that it reminds me of the rats that were used for pain research at SIU-SDM.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 9:34 pm

Thanks Pop. Ethologists, mammalogists and Punitive Psychology aficionados may like to know that CliScep maintains a large archive of such footage. It depicts Lewandowsky in the throes of the entire spectrum of human emotions, plus a couple of extra ones.

Bryan A
Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 30, 2017 11:34 pm

I think they feel emboldened now that King Rat has released his second movie and are simply coming out to enjoy the warmer weather

Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 31, 2017 1:15 am

(Rat of Unusual Size)…

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 31, 2017 3:42 am

The only solution is a spay and neuter program.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
August 31, 2017 6:35 am

“The only solution is a spay and neuter program.”
That horse has bolted, I’m afraid. The damage to the gene pool is already done:
John Cook conceived

Stephan Lewandowsky, a Wisconsin psychologist, ingests a neurotoxic potion that makes the vilest gorgon look like the fairest maiden in the land, allowing her to seduce him.
By the time the alcohol wears off, Lewandowsky is alone in his bedchamber. The succubus—who gave her name only as Naomi Oreskes—has stolen silently away, carrying his precious seed within her.
He never even knew her academic title.
The fruit of their drunken coupling, a boy-child named John Lewandowsky-Oreskes, will change his initials to those of the Antichrist when he comes of blogging age. Thus will the ancient projections be validated.
Lewandowsky tries to put the tryst behind him, but it’s futile; his fate is entwined with Oreskes’ forever. The lovers are destined to lie together again, and again, and again, and again (mainly in the peer-reviewed literature).

Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 31, 2017 6:39 am

John Lewandowsky-Oreskes, but can he sing as well as the other J-Lo

David A
Reply to  Brad Keyes
August 31, 2017 10:01 pm

Yes, always interesting when folk complain about the rat race, but never comprehend that they are it.

george e. smith
Reply to  Brad Keyes
September 2, 2017 7:03 pm

They say that lawyers are a pretty good substitute for rats, for some of those behavior experiments.
There’s plenty of lawyers, and there are some things you just can’t get rats to do !

Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 31, 2017 3:40 am

“Warmer weather is fueling a rodent surge,”
Don’t you have enough “climate scientists™” already ???

August 30, 2017 8:15 pm

The truth about rats and lemmings.
Everybody have heard about lemming years, when a large number of lemmings follow each other over a cliff, falls down into the sea below and drown. Political analogies abound, and so this has become common knowledge: That’s what lemmings do. But why? By the way, this is a lemming year in Northern Sweden. To explain why, there is an even better example with rats. When food is plentiful they multiply fast and after about 4 years there are far too many rats for the food supply. No, they do not die of starvation, virtually all the rats get stressed out and die, all in short order, and the cycle starts anew. It used to be a fairly limited supply of food for the rats, people ate what the land produced, and the number of rats were kept below the stress level. Enter modern day landfills. There is an overabundance of food in a very limited area, so rats congregate there and multiply. Eventually they will hit the stress level die out and the cycle is renewed. Enter the division of rodent control. In their wisdom they put out rat poison to keep the population down. In so doing they manage to keep the rat population just below the stress level, thereby ensuring that every year is a year of plenty of rats rather than every fourth year.
I refrain from tempting political analogies.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  lenbilen
August 30, 2017 8:26 pm
Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 8:31 pm

Yes, the part about lemmings jumping off a cliff into the ocean and drown is folklore, but there are lemming years, and then they are gone.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 8:58 pm

I get it. Just like we hillbillys have Rabbit years (and Coon,and [God forbid] Skunk years).

Bryan A
Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 11:38 pm

Speaking of lemming cliff diving

Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 31, 2017 8:57 am

Sheesh, lemmings jumping off a a cliff. This was a Norse myth from the middle ages. There may a smidgen of truth in it. As someone pointed out, rodents of all kinds tend to live self-limiting boom and bust population cycles around predator/prey/food. The biologists have it mapped out with a mathematical formula.
A good year leads to a growth in the rodent population. It rapidly increases over several years if the weather cooperates. Predators increase. At some point the cycle breaks as the rodents either die off from malnutrition and disease, or migrate.
The migration may have appeared to be blindly running off a cliff and produced the legend. Some native American tribes regularly hunted bison by steering a stampede over a small cliff.

Reply to  lenbilen
August 30, 2017 8:36 pm

Tut tut, Len Bilen,
Didn’t you get the memo from Minority Whip the day our Commander in Chief finally pulled all American troops out of Paris?
Failing to join all the other rodents in their cliff-wards race to Do Something, explained Hoyer, was ‘a shameful abdication of American leadership.’
Because as we all know, sometimes being a leader means going along with every crazy@$$ suicide pact du jour the yoof voters Approve or Strongly Approve Of.
Wait, no it doesn’t.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  lenbilen
August 30, 2017 9:29 pm

Here is a BBC nature film showing lemmings going over the cliff.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 30, 2017 9:47 pm

Fascinating footage.
In evolutionary ethology, theological ecology and behavioral zoology, this kind of failed suicidal gesture, whether by lemmings or other species, comes under the technical term “cry for help.”

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 30, 2017 9:57 pm

For those not privy to the above joke:
“In 1958, Disney released a documentary called White Wilderness, which showed the wildlife of the Arctic on the cinema screen. …
Realising that the Arctic rodents did not collectively top themselves, the film-makers resorted to trickery. After producing footage of the lemmings migrating by placing them on a snow-covered turntable, they shipped some of them to a cliff overlooking a river and herded them over the edge.
The resulting footage [posted by Guy above] shows hordes of lemmings plummeting off a cliff, with the culpable humans studiously out of frame.”

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 31, 2017 1:40 am

Thanks, so it really happens

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  lenbilen
August 31, 2017 6:33 am

lenbilen – August 30, 2017 at 8:15 pm

To explain why, there is an even better example with rats. When food is plentiful they multiply fast and after about 4 years there are far too many rats for the food supply.

Yup, and the same is true for those 3rd World countries where the populations are increasing at a very fast pace ……. ever since the UN, World Food Organizations, etc., etc., have been delivering them thousands of tons of food each year to prevent them from starving.
The more food they are given, the faster they reproduce and the quicker the excess population begins it out-migration to other countries under the guise of “refugee status” from a “bad situation” not of their doing/fault.

August 30, 2017 8:17 pm

Whatever. And if you fail to flush your toilet 30 times per day, the planet will explode.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  John
August 30, 2017 8:28 pm

My water company said that too. I think it’s a sales campaign.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 8:29 pm

…not really.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 8:42 pm

Anyway, my wife satisfies that requirement by herself. Does it make any difference if you have multiple baths?

Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 11:45 pm

I must agree. My neighbour has a far lower monthly bill than I yet I live alone, she has two in her apartment Can we safely say Scam?

August 30, 2017 8:32 pm

Not in New York City, nor Washington, D.C., nor Chicago—all three of which rank among the most rodent-infested cities in the U.S.

If a warmer climate means more rats then the southern states should be overrun with rats. With the exception of L.A. and San Francisco, the rattiest cities are all in the north. link Once again we have an expert saying something which is frankly stupid. That gives him something in common with Polar Bear experts.

Reply to  commieBob
August 30, 2017 8:35 pm

When they rank DC, do they count the rats that walk on two legs?

Reply to  commieBob
August 31, 2017 2:13 pm

Yes, why do they prefer NYC to Atlanta? Now that would be worthy of some research. I would suspect it has something to do with the water, ships and harbors, at least as a source of a continuing supply. Our perhaps Atlanta’s politicians aren’t as corrupt and incompetent.

August 30, 2017 8:33 pm

Ooh the memories! This takes me back to my college days in the 1960s. The progressives were all up in arms about the babies of the downtrodden classes who were being bitten by rats. And America was such an evil country for deliberately allowing that to happen.

Reply to  Ralph Westfall
August 31, 2017 5:21 am

Me too. A Pittsburgh newspaper ad included a life-size photo of a rat with instructions to cut it out of the paper and put in in your baby’s crib.
Then I think call them and sign up for pest control.

August 30, 2017 8:33 pm

I smell a rat…

August 30, 2017 8:38 pm

All Cities have rats living in them. Some of the most dangerous of the rats are those that are elected to Councils and Parliaments.

August 30, 2017 9:04 pm

The province of Alberta is reputedly rat free$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3441
They generally have good Provincial revenue from oil and gas extraction to pay for the rat program. A clear case where fossil fuel use results in lower rat populations.

Pop Piasa
August 30, 2017 9:06 pm

Seems to me that rats did best before the industrial era. Particularly during the dark ages when the GT was lower than now.

Gary Pearse
August 30, 2017 9:22 pm

The Black Plague (caused by an abundance of rats) was during the Little Ice Age, don’t you know! Global cooling could be said to have brought them out.
Wasn’t some Ozzie climate bean counter complaining the other day about cats eating too much and causing a ‘Cat ass trophy’ for the climate.
Maybe they are mistaking Democ Rats in their count. Or could it have been caused by the Ratification of the Parisitical Greenmint? I think this Global Warfarin is just hype.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 31, 2017 12:23 am

It is very doubtful whether the Black Plague was actually spread by rats. For one thing it partly occurred in areas which had not yet been reached by rats:
Remember that it was caused by a variety of Yersinia pestis which is now extinct and which probably used another vector.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 1:24 am

The plague had two stages. The bobonic stage, giving you the bubes, which you catch from a flea bite, and the pneumonic stage, which makes *you* the source of infection. In each of those two forms the bacterium Yersina Pestis activates different sets of genes, so different that it looks you’re dealing with another organism altogether, but it is the same. Something happens in the bubonic stage that triggers the switching to the pneumonic.
So, you catch the disease near a port through a flea bite. While you unknowingly incubate, you travel and by the time you reach your destination far from the port you are ill and the chances are the pneumonic switch has already taken place. Then you infect, extremely efficiently, everybody around you.

Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 6:04 am

Likely introduced to Europe by the Mongol hordes, who had no qualms about using the plague-ridden bodies of their own men as siege weapons of convenience.

Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 6:38 am

yes… this research suggests that it may have started from gerbils in Asia
mind you marmots also carry it and to this day there are cases in Mongolia caused by summer marmot hunting…

Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 1:18 pm

The traditional story is that biological warfare during the 1346 Mongol siege of Caffa on the Crimean Peninsula spread the plague by sea on a death ship to Sicily in October 1347. But more likely it entered Western Europe by various trade routes:

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 31, 2017 6:18 am

The Wolf Grand Solar Minimum (1280~1350) marked the start of the Little Ice Age, causing brutally cold winters, early frosts, short growing seasons and horrendous famines in Europe, wiping out 25% of the population. At the tail end of the Wolf GSM, the Black Death (1346~1353) managed to kill off 60% of the survivors of the Wolf GSM…
The Mother of All Ironies is that a 50~year Grand Solar Minimum event is expected to start in 2033, so if anything, the tiny amount of CO2 forcing will likely help ameliorate the GSM cooling, but global temps by 2100 will likely be 1C colder than they are now and not 3~4C warmer that CAGW alarmist predicted..

August 30, 2017 9:23 pm

Just put a bounty on them.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 30, 2017 10:23 pm

Interestingly enough bubonic plague played a role in the rise of Islam. The Byzantine and Persian Empires exhausted themselves w constant warfare but there was a bubonic plague outbreak, 6th century I think that killed 20-30% of the population centers of the Near East. Bedouin nomads stayed away from cities and didn’t pack up the rats to take w them as they moved around. Their populations remained strong and they had no match when they started their conquests in the 7th century.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 31, 2017 1:15 am

On the menu, even more effective. Rattatouille, if you allow me the pun ….

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 6:40 am

rural, grain fed rats are perfectly edible and eaten by many farming communities…
(my father was frequently served rat while researching in remote areas of china during the 1980s)

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 8:08 am

My brother-in-law has a pet albino corn snake to which he feeds ratsicles – dried dead rats – which he first warms up in a microwave oven before dangling it by the tail in front of the snake.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 12:21 pm

At last you emerge! Welcome back.
Have you checked Arctic sea ice extent lately? Your confident prediction that 2017 was sure to see a new record low isn’t looking too good at the moment. Right now, Arctic sea ice extent is higher than in 2012, 2007, 2016, 2011 and 2015, and possibly headed to cross over 2008 and 2010. Only 2009, 2013 and 2014 look “sure” to be higher than 2017 among the past ten years.
During the late unpleasantness in SE Asia, I was offered rat by gracious Vietnamese peasant hosts, but didn’t want to deprive them of such a delicacy, so gratefully begged off.

Reply to  Gloateus
August 31, 2017 12:44 pm

I hate to have to admit my pick in the Clown Hadow North Pole Stupidity Tour deadpool is a bust. Here we are, 31st Aug and they have yet to be crushed in the ice. Although, I’ll bet they have crushed lots of ice for all those Arctic Oceanic Margaritas!

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 12:32 pm

The Arctic sea ice jig will soon be up.
The five years 2007-11 had about the same average sea ice extent as the following five years, ie 2012-16, despite the off the scale low year of 2012, thanks to two summer cyclones. If, as seems likely, the next five years average higher than the past five years, despite steadily increasing CO2, how will Fat Albert and his minions to say about such an inconvenient truth?
In spite of five years of rising CO2 and a Super El Nino, 2012 remains the record low, and this year is yet again higher than 2007. Ten years of climbing CO2, yet sea ice growth.
CACA falsified once more.

Reply to  Gloateus
August 31, 2017 12:51 pm

My favorite recent entry in the climate follies was the report of a tanker making the Arctic passage without assistance from an icebreaker. No mention of the fact it is an ICEBREAKING tanker, specifically designed and built to deliver fuels to ice bound locations. The hi-larity never ceases!

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 1:37 pm

Unlikely to take a big dip in the next two weeks.
As Griff’s betters told the opposite of a fortune teller, even this year’s “record” low spring ice maximum was due to a brief weather event. There was never any way 2017 was going to wane lower than 2012 at Sept max, unless yet again there were two cyclones. And even then, the odds were slim.
The issue now is, will 2017 be the sixth, seventh or eighth lowest year in NOAA’s cooked books?

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 2:45 pm

noaaprogrammer: And he doesn’t explode the frozen rats in the microwave? I soak my snakes mice in warm water to thaw them. Is the microwave thing a myth?

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 31, 2017 4:16 am

Singapore I think tried a bounty on rats. People immediately started breeding them.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
August 31, 2017 12:46 pm

They are quite industrious! Singaporeans rarely miss a stitch, as it were.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
August 31, 2017 2:21 pm

One free iTunes download for each dead rat brought in should be sufficient. Knowing our elected leaders, though, they’ll end up making it profitable to breed rats for the bounty.

Bob Burban
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
September 1, 2017 10:22 am

Perhaps the city fathers can distribute recipes for “Rat Au Vin” … (in deference to Baldrick)

Steve C
August 30, 2017 10:50 pm

It’s always ‘orrible, unwholesome rats, spreading diseases. If only we got edible dormice instead, plagues could have been all about free food, and much more fun …

August 31, 2017 12:32 am

“A 2014 Columbia University study showed that New York City’s rats carry diseases like E. coli…”
Escherichia coli is a disease? And I who thought it was a largely harmless anaerobic bacterium which we all carry around many billions of inside our alimentary canal. As do the rats presumably.
E. coli is used as an indicator for dangerous organisms, particularly in water, since it is easily cultivated and indicates the presence of fecal matter.

Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 12:14 pm

E. coli in the gut isn’t a disease, but ingesting it by mouth does cause illness.

August 31, 2017 1:06 am

I got triggered from “… is worse than ever.” How old is this rat czar, 200?

August 31, 2017 1:09 am

The world’s marmots need not fear endangerment!
As commiebob points out above, the alleged expert ratologists spewing their ridiculous theories as facts borders on idiocy.
Lenbilen points out the natural cycles of the rodents these ratologists fear are fueled by one thing only; food.

“It’s no surprise that rats thrive in cities, where humans provide an abundance of food and shelter. But experts now agree that the weather is playing a role in these recent increases. Extreme summer heat and this past winter’s mild temperatures have created urban rat utopias.”

Rat populations explode because of an abundance of available food; usually considered waste foods by the urban dwellers; who have been known to fill their environments’ with piles and piles of trash. Trash that they then blame on their urban leaders

“The reason the rats are so bad now, we believe, is because of the warm winters,” said Gerard Brown, program manager of the Rodent and Vector Control Division of the D.C. Department of Health, at a 2016 rat summit.”

A) Why wasn’t mickey mouse mann included with these august experts? Surely rodentia manniacal could provide valuable insights into expert ratologist thinking?
B) It is amazing the lengths alarmists go to bolster their daft “consensus” nonsense.
C) Back in my “on the farm days”, rats were a problem when we stored wheat. We set and placed rat traps to keep the beggars under control. At first we were baffled by night after of night of sprung rat traps without dead rats in the traps.
Then we realized that the rats ate their trap caught relatives, leaving a few shreds of skin, fur and blood stains.
Rat populations rapidly achieve overpopulation status leaving all members of a local rat population near starving.

michael hart
Reply to  ATheoK
August 31, 2017 11:49 am

I too was also led to understand that food was biggest factor, and that they are particularly fond of cooked food, of which there is a greatly increased amount available these days. Western waistlines aren’t the only thing to have increased secondary to the success of the food industry, coupled with inadequate waste collection of what we can’t eat.
Perhaps they got some new ‘experts’ in who also want to feed at the same trough as climate scientists.

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 1:14 am

That rat looks pretty poorly to me.

Stan Vinson
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 31, 2017 4:25 am

I agree. That was one sad rat.

Leo Smith
August 31, 2017 1:39 am
James at 48
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 31, 2017 2:46 pm

That Border’s got some old school Paderdale in it.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 31, 2017 1:51 am

Some very interesting contributions and a couple of points I’d like to mention. The Black Death which raged through Europe in the 1300s seemed to consist of two quite distinct forms. The slower but equally agonizing death by pus filled eruptions (don’t you just love the thought of going back to living like this courtesy of the Green movement) and organ failure is attributed to flea bites from fleas leaving their dead rat hosts. But there also is absolutely clear description of an airborne (breath transmitted?) killing agent which rapidly killed victims in two hours. The coughing up blood symptoms seem to fit the Ebola like fevers known today. Hopefully a medic or biologist reader can tell us more.
A curiosity about this infected fleas biting people vector. Some experts say rat fleas can’t bite through human skin so it can’t have worked that way. In the 17th Century there was another outbreak of plague in London. The authorities stopped it by ordering cats and dogs to be caught and killed. Maybe the dogs were bitten by rat fleas and in turn their fleas bit us? Anyway killing the dogs worked and the outbreak subsided. (Can you imagine someone suggesting that today? They’d be lynched. Not a promising thought if rabies ever gets loose in an outbreak).
I’m not a great cat fan, but they are effective rodent and vermin killers. Perhaps living in cities, which is generally good for us, means we should have more cats.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 31, 2017 2:14 am

Never heard of pneumonic plague? It still has 100% mortality by the way. Kills too fast for antibiotics. I thought this Ebola nonsense was over since Yersinia pestis DNA was isolated from Black Death victims.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 4:30 am

Tty – I wasn’t actually suggesting that the Black Death was some form of Ebola, but your links are very worthwhile and add to the doubts about rats being the major or only factor.
An especially telling point is the plague spreading through medieval villages where mortality was as high as towns. Given that the plague is agreed as having arrived in Weymouth and within months killed between half and two-thirds of the population. Fast spread even for rats.

Reply to  tty
August 31, 2017 12:12 pm

Black rats are far from the only rodent vector of ordinary bubonic plague. In the US, the sylvan reservoir of Yersinia pestis is mainly among wild squirrels, ground squirrels, prairie dogs and marmots.
The rodent vectors In Medieval Norway might well have been Norway rats (R. norvegicus) rather than black rats (R. rattus). But of course, there is also human-human transmission, both directly (deadly pneumonic plague) and via an insect vector.

Reply to  tty
September 1, 2017 2:15 am

“The rodent vectors In Medieval Norway might well have been Norway rats (R. norvegicus) rather than black rats (R. rattus). ”
Definitely not. Norway rats only arrived in Norway (and Sweden) in the eighteenth century. So it is a silly name by the way. And Rattus norvegicus is not known to transmit plague. They are much shyer than Black Rats, do not climb well and keep further away from humans. And a rat flea has very limited “range”. The rat must die very close to a human for the flea to be able to change host.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 31, 2017 6:25 am

Dog hide is thicker than human skin, so rat fleas would have an even harder time biting them.

Old England
August 31, 2017 2:42 am

If he is such a world expert on Rats I would assume that he well knows all about the “super rats” that have developed resistance to most rodenticides. This has been a well recognised problem since 2012 as a google search for “rat immunity to rodenticide” will show.
This resistance has led to very large increases in rat populations and they seem to develop it relatively quickly – probably due to their high reproduction rate and natural selection. As an aside it has always amazed me that rats, one of the best equipped species to resist all kinds of posions and bio-stress are the normal research animal of choice with results extrapolated to humans …… to demonstrate how benign the effects are.
Anyway, it seems to me that rodenticide resistance is the most likely reason for an increase in rat populations in some areas although I have no doubt that if you blame it on Climate Change then someone will throw huge sums of rearch money to you.

Bob boder
Reply to  Old England
August 31, 2017 7:03 am

Back in the day, kids use to shoot them with BB guns to learn how to use a gun.

Barry Cullen
Reply to  Bob boder
August 31, 2017 11:52 am

Back in the day we used a 22 at the town dump at night.

August 31, 2017 3:45 am

Notice the confident assumption that a couple of warm winters means they were caused by global warming (strange they didn’t show up on global temp charts) and will continue ad infinitum. Someone clue in these climate morons over at New Republic that we have had warm winters and very hot summers MANY MANY times in the past, and will have them many times in the future, along with cool summers and cold winters. This is called Earth Climate, folks.

August 31, 2017 4:15 am

Seems to me that a city rat problem is more proportional to the number of abandoned buildings than a few degree variation of outside temperature. Up north where the outside temperature drops to minus 40 we battle mice year round at the cabin. You have to constantly trap the little buggers to keep the population near zero, skip a few months of trapping and you have a huge mouse problem.

August 31, 2017 4:25 am

Governments and trough feefers using climate as an excuse to avoid doing their jobs or to beg for more money.
The modern way.

Hocus Locus
August 31, 2017 4:27 am
Tom in Florida
August 31, 2017 4:36 am

““no one really knows how many rats there are. Not in New York City, nor Washington, D.C., nor Chicago—all three of which rank among the most rodent-infested cities in the U.S.”
Well run liberal cities all. Crying in their soup that they can’t take care of it themselves, asking for federal tax dollars.

August 31, 2017 4:50 am

If due to food supply, increases in rats may be partially attributable to the uptick in urban recycling programs that store trash rather than promptly dispose of it.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
August 31, 2017 2:49 pm

People are supposed to wash/rinse the recyclable trash to avoid having the rodent problem. So the problem is people not following instructions.

Reply to  Sheri
August 31, 2017 7:38 pm

It is trash, throw it in the trash! Then run that trash through the grinder and drop it into the feeder for the electricity generating incinerator. Why are leftards so stupid?

August 31, 2017 4:50 am

Could also be from the great push to keep cats inside. If you let your cat out, you are now some kind of devil person who hates cats, and hates birds – so more people are keeping the cats indoors. My home abuts to a field. Our cats have done an expert job of rodent control within our back yard.
If I installed a windmill to kill the birds and the ground windmill (rototiller) for the rodents, I would be considered a good person.

Reply to  marque2
August 31, 2017 2:32 pm

If you have a field that’s safe (e.g., no problem with hawks or coyotes), then good for you. In urban environments, with cars, dogs, hawks, and coyotes, etc., it’s a different story. The life expectancy of an outdoor cat is 3 to 5 years. Inside only cats have life expectancies of 15 to 20 years. If you allow your cat to go outside in an urban setting, then you simply shouldn’t have cats, and soon won’t.

Reply to  Jtom
August 31, 2017 6:27 pm

You proved my point. Thanks.
All my cats have been let outside, and none have died from cars, dogs, hawks, coyotes. Your 5 year expectancy is for a feral cat, not a housecat who is let out to sunbathe once in awhile.

August 31, 2017 5:07 am

Not a problem at all! Ramik Green Bait Packs handle this issue quite well.

Stephen Skinner
August 31, 2017 5:41 am

“The reason the rats are so bad now, we believe, is because of the warm winters,”
Really? So all the sewers and underground pipe works that rats use are usually frozen during winter? The rise of rats will be in step with the massive increase in suitable shelter that never freezes as its underground, plus a plentiful supply of free food. The modern city dweller has no real perception of cold winters, or the weather for that matter, as he/she will be deliberately insulated against direct experience of natural temperature fluctuation with insulated homes, work places and vehicles that have automatic climate control. Even if there has been an ‘increase’ in winter temperatures that can be measured as a statistic this does not tell the whole story of what happens when temperatures go below zero and water freezes. For some plants and for quite a few animals sub zero temperatures mean death so it is immaterial if it is -20 or -1 if sustained for at least a day. For humans if caught outside without warm shelter or clothing death from hypothermia will happen in hours and so it doesn’t matter if there are less cold days or the temperature was ‘only’ -1 and not -30. If winters are ‘warmer’ for plants intolerant to frost one episode of frost is too much.
Did it go below zero in the UK this last winter? Yes.
Since the industrial revolution and the rise of modern urbanization the amount of shelter available that can protect from cold for all species has increased enormously.

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
August 31, 2017 5:52 am

You bring up a point, billions of federal money for energy efficiency and “weatherization” for buildings has been en vogue in the U.S., which means better, warmer homes for rats. Also more insulation means more nesting material.

August 31, 2017 6:21 am

In the 1990’s, I recall being in Washington DC for a conference. I woke up in the middle of the night and looking out the window at the streetscape below. Just then, a large rat about the size of a housecat emerged from the storm sewer grate, crossed the street and disappeared into the storm grate on the other side of the street. I recall thinking “Wow, these Washington lobbyists start work really early!”
The province of Alberta in Canada is reportedly rat-free – and has been for more than 60 years. This is a constant fight, as rats are always arriving from outside and have to be controlled. We recently elected a socialist NDP provincial government, so Alberta’s status as a rat-free province is now in doubt.
The Alberta NDP have embraced glob warming alarmism, as socialists always do. They are propagandizing Albertans with falsehoods about the health dangers of our coal-fired power plants. In fact, the air pollution from ONE forest fire equals the output from all our coal plants in a year, and there are ~1000 forest fires per year in western Canada. I am referring here to real air pollution, that is NOx, SOx and particulates.
Atmospheric CO2 is essential for life, and CO2 is not alarmingly high, it is alarmingly low for the continued existence of carbon-based life on this planet.
Regards, Allan

August 31, 2017 6:37 am

Interesting how rats are the only species on the planet that benefits from warmer weather.

August 31, 2017 6:43 am

Where I live 30 miles NNE of Indianapolis we may every great once in awhile see a specimen of Rattus Rattus. It’s been a very long time since I have seen a specimen of Rattus Norvegicus around here in this semi rural area.

Reply to  RAH
August 31, 2017 9:43 am

Here in rural west PA we have been seeing an increase of Norwegian brown rats, especially along the Allegheny River and its feeder streams and rivers. Turning into a problem in corn/grain storage and showing up in homes more.

August 31, 2017 7:01 am

Where I am never was a rat to be seen…until they closed and demolished a nearby horse farm…to build an assisted living (memory) facility.

Reply to  john
August 31, 2017 9:45 am

That’ll do it! They were living happily among the barns and sheds and are now refugees, they will be petitioning for asylum and public assistance before ya know it.

August 31, 2017 7:13 am

I have never seen a common rat here in WY. Maybe they have them down in Cheyenne. Would make sense as that is the seat of state government. We do have tree rats, ie squirrels, and yard rats, ie rabbits, which are also rodents and we eat them. Which may be the solution to city rats, not including the politicians, of course. We also have packrats but they’re kind of like politicians as well. Real pains in the butt. I don’t think it’s temperature but rather concentrations of people that encourage their population growth. More food, more rats. Barn rats were big in Ohio. Liked those corn cribs and feed troughs. Not much of that in our more rural area as cattle and sheep roam free here. Yep, it’s more food=more rats.

August 31, 2017 7:38 am

Cities in general are nests of socialism, corruption, crime, gangs, drugs, etc, etc. Only makes sense there would be nests of rats too.

Reply to  beng135
August 31, 2017 7:54 am

The nest of rats causes the things you mentioned

August 31, 2017 7:53 am

Nobody mentioned one thing large cities have (besides the rats): UHI
I wonder how the rat problem is in Detroit with it being hollowed out.

August 31, 2017 8:14 am

“Why isn’t the federal government stepping in?”
The Constitution doesn’t permit the federal government to be involved in this way. It is not one of the enumerated powers. Only the states have the authority to get involved.
There is the “General welfare” clause that some take to mean that the federal government can do anything unless it is forbidden by the Constitution. It is actually the opposite, both in a plain reading of the Constitution, and according to those who created it. They can only use the specific powers granted to it. The general welfare clause only means that they should use the enumerated powers for the general welfare.
This tends to reduce the power of the federal government substantially. And this way, a serious mistake in legislative or regulatory judgment does not impact the entire country.

August 31, 2017 8:40 am

Enough with asking for a larger federal government! Seems to be the knee jerk answer to everything.

August 31, 2017 9:27 am

We need more urban weasels. [That’s not a joke.]

Reasonable Skeptic
August 31, 2017 9:31 am

I wonder if these folks have ever heard of something call the urban heat island. Now I am no great scientist or anything, but I have read that the UHI effect can be in the 5 degree range. Now basic math tells me that UHI effect is greater than Global warming effect so obviously nobody would ever pass this off on Global Warming would they?

August 31, 2017 10:37 am

Speaking of heat islands, wouldn’t you think that rats would be MORE attracted to heat islands, because the temperatures surrounding the heat islands are lower?
Wouldn’t you think that rats would be more attracted to human-caused heat islands that lie amidst an overall cooler ambient temperature background? … the difference between the number of heat islands NOW compared to the number of heat islands in the PAST? … and that it is human-infrastructure change (growth), NOT climate change that is attracting all the rats to the new-growth areas?

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 31, 2017 10:39 am

Rats ! — I guess I messed up that premise for alarmist grants.

August 31, 2017 10:48 am

Way back when I was in college a friend, from NY City, use to spend his summer back in the city on rat patrol and control. His first year was the summer before college, the last was his second year of graduate studies. He told us that the first year when he entered a vacant building or basement the rats would scurry away. He would put out poison bait, warfarin if I remember correctly. Each year fewer rats scurried away. The last year as soon as the rats heard him come in they would actually run to him to snatch up the bait he was putting out. He said he was scared initially when it happened because he swore the rats were double from what he remembered when he started out before college. They had become resistant to warfarin but his bosses just didn’t want to hear about it.

J Mac
Reply to  Edwin
August 31, 2017 11:37 am

Side Bar: WARFarin (Trade name Coumadin) was patented by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation in 1941, after extensive studies of hemorrhaging deaths in cattle established that an anticoagulant (3,3′-methylenebis-(4-hydroxycoumarin)) was present in in moldy sweet clover hay they had consumed. It was registered for rodent control in 1948. It later found use as a blood thinner in human medicine.

August 31, 2017 10:53 am

My local govt recently stopped the rat vector control. I don’t know why; it’s not news & I only know because one of the pest/bug removal company owners told me about it. There are more rats now.
Conspiracy question:
Has direction recently been given to local govt agencies, by Feds (or some other group), regarding rodent control (for example … be careful, don’t be so aggressive removing the rodents because rats are becoming immune to the poisons)?

August 31, 2017 11:06 am

Rats like where we humans live and the little treats that we unconsciously provide them. Why wouldn’t more of them be present where more of us humans are present? And why wouldn’t they get better at inhabiting and populating the warmer spaces that we humans provide for them?
Every time we build more environments to better accommodate more humans, do we not also build more environments to better accommodate more rats?, flies?, ants?, …
For the past three days, I have been experiencing flymaggeddon in the kitchen, killing around a dozen flies a day, which I have never seen before.
Of course, CO2 is the cause, because it caused the hurricane to blow them all in from Texas.

August 31, 2017 11:23 am

The rats costing us the most in every way can be easily counted. There are exactly 100 in the senate for example.

Joel Snider
August 31, 2017 12:13 pm

Warm weather. BS.
Here in Portland, they simply stopped using effective pesticides and rat bait, in favor of ‘eco-friendly’ substitutes. When I was a young man, still going out on the town and being up at all hours in the city, I never saw a single rat.
Now, they run right past you in the street.
Yet again, another example of Greenies creating a problem then blaming it on someone else.

August 31, 2017 2:17 pm

If rats are increasing due to warmer winters, then it would make sense that warmer cities should have more rats than colder cities. However, it is not the case — the warmer cities have fewer rats:

August 31, 2017 2:32 pm

Ship them all to PETA. There must be room for them in their bomb-making facilities.

James at 48
August 31, 2017 2:42 pm

No, what’s feeding it is two things. One is the advent of enforced recycling and “compostable” pick ups to chase the pipe dream of “Waste Zero.” Of course, refuse companies used this ruse as an excuse to force the use of wheeled “easy opening” cans with hinged tops. Perfect for vermin to access waste, especially the un contained “compstables.” Our district says go ahead and include meat, dairy, etc in “compostables.” We are feeding not only advanced vermin but also maggots.
The other thing they are feeding on is the well developed canopy in now well treed communities. Lots of acorns and stuff. Since the day time acorn eaters such as squirrels and certain birds are no where to be seen during night shift, guess who does night shift.

Reply to  James at 48
August 31, 2017 2:54 pm

We’ve always had the easy opening cans with hinged tops, even before recycling. We don’t even have curb-side recycling.

Mary White
September 2, 2017 5:52 am
Support live rat traps, feral cats!! Trained volunteers confirm that rat numbers drop immediately after cats are introduced.

Reply to  Mary White
September 2, 2017 3:38 pm

Unfortunately, so do the numbers of birds, squirrels and other small animals more desirable than rats. Although squirrels are considered cute because their tails are bushy rather than naked, as in rats. And beavers.

John Lindemulder
September 3, 2017 2:46 pm

A lesson from the middle ages in Europe: C A T S !

September 4, 2017 2:35 pm

If we’re not going to eradicate them, then learn to love them, I guess:

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