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Pest control: cities implement contraceptive methods to combat rat infestations

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“Love is in the air” if you live in a city infested with rats.

After states like California restricted toxic rodenticides, some cities are turning to a more humane way to control rat populations with a contraceptive method called ContraPest, the only fertility control for rats approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ).

“[ContraPest] it’s a ‘milk shake’ for rats. It is a high-fat, sweet-tasting liquid formulation that is very attractive to rats, who need to consume approximately 10 percent of their body weight in water each day,” said Ken Siegel, CEO of SenesTech, which is the company that produces ContraPest.

California restricted the use of toxic rodenticides, prompting some cities to control the rat population with rat birth control.

“Used in traditional bait boxes, ContraPest targets the reproductive abilities of both sexes in rat populations, inducing egg loss in female rats and affecting sperm development in males.”


He told Fox News that the birth control poses no danger to other animals or people as it is designed specifically for rats, which must regularly consume the product for it to be effective.

The company began looking at birth control technology after its founders developed a model to induce menopause in mice, later known as “Mouseopause.”

But why are rat populations so difficult to control?

Two sexually active rats can produce about 15,000 “offspring” in just one year, Siegel said.

“Rats reproduce faster than poisons, traps, or any other lethal means alone can eliminate them. Without birth control, their population often rebounds beyond its original level within a few months of use alone. traditional rat control methods,” Siegel added.

Although traditional pest control measures eliminate rats quickly, it only takes two rats for the population to grow back to its original size or even larger within months, according to the company’s website.

Norway rats are the most common rats, but roof rat populations have increased in the United States over the past 15 years, Siegel added.

A rat is seen in a New York subway station.  New York City is considered one of the "naughtiest" country cities.

A rat is seen in a New York subway station. New York City is considered one of the “raddiest” cities in the country.
(Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Norway rats live on the ground, while roof rats “…often spend their lives without putting their paws on the ground,” Siegel said.

So where do you place the tempting bait?

“ContraPest is implemented in traditional bait boxes, which is very effective when dealing with the most common Norway rats,” Siegel said.

But for roof rats, the bait is placed differently to suit their unique living situation.

“This week, ContraPest began selling the Elevate Bait System, which is a new EPA-approved way to deploy ContraPest above ground. It is easily deployed indoors and above ground with multiple options for mounting to barn joists, barn , storage and manufacturing facilities, penthouses and lofts,” Siegel told Fox News.

Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC and Los Angeles are among the top five cities to make the 2021 “rat pack” list for being the “busiest” places in the United States, according to a statement. press release for Orkin, a pest control service.


“Most rodenticides in use today are anticoagulant compounds that interfere with blood clotting and cause death from excessive bleeding. Deaths typically occur four days to two weeks after rodents begin feeding on the bait,” according to the EPA.

First-generation anticoagulants were developed before 1970, but because rodents developed resistance, second-generation anticoagulants were developed from the 1970s, which can kill after a single night’s feeding.

However, second-generation anticoagulants can remain in animal tissues longer than first-generation anticoagulants, so they pose greater risks to other non-target animals that ingest the poison, according to the EPA.

This caused “California [to enact] legislation in January 2021 that bans the use of the four major second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in many circumstances,” Siegel explained.

“Municipalities are strategically deploying ContraPest alongside other, more traditional methods of rat control in large public parks, gathering places, and in neighborhoods with high rat activity to speed results and prevent rebound activity,” he added.

ContraPest is currently the only EPA-approved rat birth control on the market.

ContraPest is currently the only EPA-approved rat birth control on the market.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The company registered ContraPest with the EPA in 2016 as a non-lethal rodenticide for Norway and control of the roof rat population in all 50 states.

It works alone or in combination with other non-toxic pest control measures, such as trapping and removal of food sources, to reduce rat populations by about 90%, Siegel said.

But traditional ways remain the main methods of controlling rat populations, according to USA Today.


“I think in the pest control industry, at least in the US, they’ve heard of the idea of ​​fertility control, but why it’s beneficial is not widely understood,” said Brandy Pyzyna, vice president of research and SenesTech regulatory affairs.

“It takes a lot of education to explain to people why you wouldn’t just kill.”

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