As creatures that “live in man’s parallel universe, surviving on the effluvia of human society (Sullivan, 2004),” rats are a common, yet despised part of urban life. Their notoriety has made them popular media topics, from “rats gone wild” to “Pizza Rat.” In most cases, urban rats are viewed as the problem, and action is taken to manage pest numbers with minimal attention given to their ultimate cause. Meanwhile, these pests are more accurately considered symptoms of sanitation problems, and are the result of human behaviors and practices that provide food, water, and shelter to the rats.
For large municipalities, rats are a persistent problem that can cause loss of business, structural damage, food contamination and spread pathogens—posing potential public health risks. To combat rat problems and respond to resident complaints, municipalities undertake large-scale management. Interestingly, despite the shared challenges of developing and executing these programs, to date there has been no formal coalition dedicated to advancing the science and implementation of municipal rodent management. With funding from the Northeastern IPM Center Partnership Grants Program, the Municipal Rodent IPM Working Group will address this need at a time when new challenges in rodent management continue to emerge.
The Municipal Rodent IPM Working Group includes representatives from academia, industry (manufacturers, consultants, applicators), and several municipalities. Our focus in 2021–2023 is the Northeast region of the United States, but we hope to expand the working group in future years. The overall goal is to advance the adoption of rodent IPM at the municipal scale. Objectives for the current funding period (2021–2023) include:
- identify current challenges and opportunities in municipal rodent management
- identify the top three to five most pressing research needs in municipal rodent management
- compile a white paper about the current state of municipal rodent management
- develop a guidance document to help municipalities create, monitor and manage a rat IPM program
- develop a strategic plan for the future of the Municipal Rodent IPM Working Group
- Matt Frye
- Ray Delaney
- Bobby Corrigan
- Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann
For more information about the Working Group, please contact Matt Frye (firstname.lastname@example.org)