Village of Hamburg working to curb rat problem

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Village of Hamburg is dealing with a rat problem and officials are going door-to-door to curb the growing issue.

Mayor Tom Moses led the contingent on Tuesday that dropped off door hangers at homes in the village as part of the first step toward “e-rat-icating” their rodent problem.

“We are trying to be proactive with it so that maybe we can be a deterrent, not have the problem, [and] make it go away,” Moses said.

The emphasis is on storing and disposing of garbage properly and not leaving it where rats can get to it. Cleaning up after pets is also important, especially getting birdseed off the ground.

“In fact, one lady had a birdfeeder on one of the side streets. She called and said they were having breakfast in her backyard.”

And then there is dog waste.

Pete Tripi, who heads the Rodent Control Program at the Erie County Health Department, said, “The next nutrition they can get is out of animal waste because it’s not digested. So yes, it’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but it is a secondary food source for rodents.”

Tripi says the most effective tool for controlling rats is garbage totes, which Buffalo began using back in 2001. Once that happened, rats migrated to the suburbs.

“But what ended up happening is they started to spread out looking for food. As the city locked up the food source, the first ring suburbs were experiencing rats crossing the borders. Of course the rats don’t know town borders,” Tripi said.

The Village of Hamburg does not have totes, but neighboring communities do. Mayor Moses says their public works superintendent is working on that.

“He has applied for grants. He is working on that now. Sometimes it takes a year or two to get so we’re trying to get ahead of the game and see if we can’t move it up and get going on that as soon as possible,”

Mayor Moses told News 4 they estimate the cost of a totes program at about a half million dollars to equip the 4,000 homes in Hamburg. But the state has a fund to cover much of that cost.

Blasdell and the Town of Hamburg already have totes, in one form or another.

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