February 7, 2013

Everything is Connected (Rodent Relocation Edition)

Among the side-effects of Hurricane Sandy, itself a preview of our global warming future: Rats!

The New York Times reports today that the massive low-land flooding caused by Sandy has driven legions of rats inland to take up residence in apartments, schools, restaurants, and office buildings, even cars. It's an especially robust invasion because the storm left plenty of garbage in the streets for displaced rodents to feed on.

They became so bad I couldn’t even take all the jobs,” said Jonathan Vargas, a partner with All Day Exterminating, who estimated that his rat complaint calls doubled in number after Hurricane Sandy. Timothy Wong, a managing partner with M&M Environmental, a pest control company on the Lower East Side, said rat complaints began to soar after the hurricane and have not let up yet, partly because the wintry weather is driving the rodents indoors.

“The subway, the sewer, a lot got disrupted,” said Mr. Wong, who said complaints about rats were about as bad as he has seen in 10 years. “There’s so much garbage out in the streets these days. Renovations because of the flood. Christmas trees. These things make it worse. For them, it’s Restaurant Week.”

 "Everything is Connected" is a recurring feature named in honor of the late Barry Commoner's four laws of ecology: Everything is connected to everything else, everything must go somewhere, nature knows best, and there is no such thing as a free lunch.  

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