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Dry Ice Rat Solution Discussed at City Council Meeting

Boston City Council met last week to discuss animal care and control in the city. Representative Lydia Edwards was in attendance to ask specific questions as the conversation related to North End residents. A major takeaway from the discussion was the focus on the Norwegian rat problem in the neighborhood and city at large.

Inspectional Services Department (ISD) explained that they are making great strides with the Department of Agriculture to implement a dry ice rat control solution this year. Dry Ice is a powerful tool that is not only cost effective, but is also environmentally friendly, as the chemical composition is simply frozen CO2.

The technology itself is rather straightforward; when a rat hole is identified, it is filled with dry ice and covered with dirt. The ice then turns into gas and exposes other rat holes in the burrow, which are also filled with dry ice and dirt. Within 48 hours the burrow is revisited to determine progress, and the process is repeated if the holes have been disturbed in any way. A benefit of this solution is that the rats will stay buried in the burrow.

In addition to the dry ice topic, the committee also discussed building inspections and budgeting. Watch coverage of the full meeting below, and check out our previous coverage on rats.

  • Dry ice initial conversation (26:29)
  • City Councilor Lydia Edwards (34:31)
  • Dry ice revisited (50:30)

21 Replies to “Dry Ice Rat Solution Discussed at City Council Meeting

    1. I think the posted USA article is a good example of why people do hate the EPA!

      All jokes aside this should never have been stopped. It is an effictive way to deal with this rat problem.

      It is cheap, effective, and safer than any rodent poison. EPA should back off this subject.

  1. When I faithfully attended all meetings re: clean streets, etc. John Meaney would be there also!!!
    I don’t know How Many Times I made the statement or suggestion to Get rid of~~~or lessen the amounts of RATS IN THE CITY !!!!

    FEED THE RATS~~~~BIRTH CONTROL !!!!! I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS AND YEARS !!!! Why can’t they hear me ? That’s when I stopped going to meetings~~~they only know how to talk not to LISTEN !!!!!
    They finally said, MIT is working on that !!!!!!

    1. You want to feed rats birth control? Maybe we should tell them to go by the health center for some free condemns while we are at it!

  2. Yes- and it’s a simple, cost-effective fix: Trash needs to go outside for collection THE MORNING OF, not the night before. By allowing trash to be placed outside at 5pm on the evening before pick -up, we are giving the rodents 14-20 hours of feasting time. Eliminating their food source will decrease their presence.

    1. Not so fast JP’ that plan which I agree with will not rid the NE of the rat problem.It has been a problem since the BIG DIG and the demolition of the old expressway .The problem is city wide .

  3. I am all for dry ice. We need to try something and it seems this could be the best solution the rats are taking control of the North End it really needs to stop. Sometimes all the talking and meetings that you attend to express your concerns falls on deaf ears. So tell me now, we are allowing people to cook in their basement for private parties and was approved by the NEWRA really?

  4. I am not running for a Popularity Contest, by no means. There are Far Too Many Restaurants in an Extremely
    Small Area, the Rats aren’t Stupid, look at the Selection they have, why would they ever Leave?
    Janet is so Right. Where there is a Will there is always a Way. The City hasn’t taken on any of our Issues yet.
    No Enforcement & the Fines are a Joke, same Trash Violators every week in Absentee Landlord Buildings.
    The Absentee Landords should have sold the Properties by now, they didn’t because the City is not doing
    enough to Cure the Problems for once & for all. Over Twenty Years fighting the same issues.

    1. Is every issue in this neighborhood because of absentee landlords? This is a city and there are rats. Just like there are in any other city.

  5. Sal,finally this is an issue that we collectively agree on.Their are rats in the NE.However that does not mean that we should throw our arms up in the air and accept it!

    1. MichaelD I see what you are saying and cannot agree more. However, people in this neighborhood like to find reasons to complain about everything and Joan is one of them. We live in the city. There are rats in every city in the world. People need to pick there battles. We have a lot of restaurants and thats what makes the north end the north end. Don’t blame the rats on restaurants and absentee landlords. It’s bologna

  6. Restaurants do need to stop having bread deliveries left at their doors. Do you eat the bread at neighborhood restaurants? I’ve seen rats nibbling on bags left at restaurant front doors- it’s delivered early and can sit in doorway til the restaurant opens.

  7. This is a good start, but I have seen rats emerge from storm drains and catch basins. They put screens in some to lessen the problem, but that eventually leads to clogged drains. The restaurant trash bins are a big problem. I have seen these lids left open brimming with over stuffed trash. These will stay like this until collection in the morning. Plugging rat holes will solve one issue, regardless we are still stuck with maintaining bait traps. Or require all North End residents to own a cat.

    1. There are rats in this neighborhood big enough to trip motion detectors on outside security lights These super sized rats would probably have a cat for a snack.

  8. Hate rats but do not care for cats either😁 so we need another solution.These restaurants aren’t going anywhere but perhaps some steep fines are in order.

    1. Well maybe half in jest. I have an old friend in Chicago in an area where rats were everywhere. The area has much renovated in the last 25 years. Chicago has adopted feril cats. They neuter them for free. My freind, though allergic to them, feeds three of them daily. Even rigged up heated winter homes for them. Others in the neighborhood do the same. Any rat showing up in that neighborhood is extinguished quickly. Since they are well fed, they don’t eat them. Just leave the body around like hits in the old days. We did have one whose territory was Parmenter and Richmond St. He’d patrol between the shops along the streets. He’d cruise the street minding his own business. God forbid you would try to pet him, he’d tear your arm off.

  9. Sal, Let us get one thing straight, if I complain they are all VALID reasons. I know we live in the City & I
    travel quite a bit & the No. End is Exceptionally Filthy. The Absentee Landlords are a Very Big Issue down
    here. Maybe you are related to Restaurant Owners & you don’t want to deal with the Facts. The No End always
    did business when we had Giro’s, Polcari’s, Tecce’s the European, The Catina, Stella’s, Louie’s, Bernardo’s
    MaMa Maria, Florence’s (Limoncello’s) Sabatino’s (Pagluica’s), D’Amore’s (TraMonte). Carlo Marino (Artiu)
    My Place (The Four Winds) Dom’s (Billy Tse), the Winery, the Aquarium (Joe’s Bar & Grill), and we had
    Movie Stars, Politicians & Celebrities eating in our Neihborhood, the Italian Section of Boston.
    Did we have Rats then,
    Absolutely, did it get worse, you bet it did. Are Absentee Landlord’s a Problem, I ll bet my life & everything I
    own in this world it is. If Matt Conte wants to do a Survey on this, I am sure there will be Plenty of Residents that will agree with Me. Absentee Landlords look at No. End Property as Cash Cows & have no
    regard for this Neighborhood, at all, because the City is Not doing E N O U G H. I will always
    fight for what I believe in & I will always comment, that is my Right & if you or anyone else finds this to be a
    Problem, I don’t care, because it is all the T R U T H. North End Residents F I R S T, and we don’t want
    to accept the Trash from Absentee Landord Properties, which also comes with Rats/

    1. Joan, I going off topic with this comment but you triggered memories of growing up in the NE.I saw Jackie Kennedy dining in Stella’s on Fleet St. several times a big black Cadillac LIMO would transport her there. They would close the drapes to provide her some privacy from the crowds outside.Carl Yastrzemski was a regular there as well. Elizebeth Taylor {who was tiny} and did not like being called Liz dined at Joe Tecce’s whenever she was in Boston sometimes with Richard Burton when he was sober which wasn’t too often. I saw Robert Goulet who was appearing at a club called Monticello’s in Framingham get out of a limo and stop at the Florentine greet and kiss the hand of an old time Wiseguy. Giro’s catered to countless celebrities and entertainers.Heard story that Bob Hope once dined at Felicia’s and enjoyed the food and sauce so much that several times a year he would have food flown out to California to his home.

    2. Joan absentee landlords have been in this neighborhood for along time. They used to make their money off of cold water flats. City codes have done away with many of these landlords. But the point is, no amount of complaining about them is going to change. The issue is the transient population who figure that if they want to avoid rats, they cam move to the suburbs, again. The fines against the landlords will make a difference. The 311 hotline when used often will help lead them to fines. I don’t know whether inspectional services patrols routinely, seems they are only out sporadically, but then again we aren’t the only neighborhood in the city. But I’m thinking regular complaints on 311 will get some attention.

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