The Newest Rodent Eradication Method? ‘Rat Ice’

Dry ice in a mug. Photo by Shawn Henning.

Rats multiplied in local parks this past summer, but now the city has found a new method to eradicate them: dry ice.

Dry ice, a frozen form of carbon dioxide, is placed in rat holes and causes the rodents to suffocate, city Department of Health official Ricky Simeone told reporters this week. He called it “rat ice.”

The method works within minutes — though some rats may escape, so the city typically treats an area three times, returning to look for new burrows they might have dug. It can be more effective than using poison.

“In traditional rodenticide that you put in, they may not want it,” he explained. “They’re competing with another food source — they might want the piece of pizza that’s been thrown on the floor.”

The Health Department has previously used poison to kill the rats, but stopped because hawks who then ate the rats were also dying.

Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal had called for the city to start using dry ice last year.

NEWS | 17 comments | permalink
    1. wombatNYC says:

      Love the ingenuity . Keep it up !
      Maybe next they can do the same for the pigeon population

    2. Rat A. Tooey says:

      About dat “they might want the piece of pizza that’s been thrown on the floor.”

      Yeah, pizza’s good, and I tries to not eat the part dat’s been on da floor.

      But more better are chikken wings (ya know, protein) and some bagels, like everyt’ings or raisin.

      About dat “rat ice”….us rats is thinkin of hiring a lawyer…ya know, many lawyers is like close cuzzins.

      Be well, drop more food.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        thank you Mr. Tooey.

        you have far more community spirit than some of the regular commenters on this site.

    3. peter brandt says:

      No dangerous residues, great idea !!
      I don’t even care about the cost of making ‘dry ice’.
      Here the cost is worth it, but let ice suppliers get greedy.

    4. young man says:

      Sometimes simple solutions like this make the most sense. Definitely worth a try as rats were everywhere on the UWS in 2017.

    5. Veronica says:

      Finally, Linda Rosenthal is good for something,

    6. JessicaB says:

      Do rat holes help aerate tree roots? Very little else does, and compacted soil in urban settings is a huge problem for threes. And no, they don’t have huge tap roots. Huge % of the roots are in the top 18 inches of soil … Just wondering.

    7. upper west sider says:

      I think we should have a ticket blitz to stop people from littering. European cities with less trash have fewer rats. And we need to address the garbage problem ! It’s a losing battle if we continue to provide food for these rodents.

      • Tim says:

        Agreed! I was in the 72nd BWay subway station yesterday and watched teenagers on the south end of the uptown platform blatantly throw large pieces of trash on the tracks. At least 5 pieces, right in front of dozens and dozens of people. Nobody said a word. I’m for ticketing litter-bugs, but it’s about time we self-police when we we witness blatant misbehaviour that may also cause other problems, such as track fires, etc.

        • goodluck says:

          In today’s society self-policing will get you a punch to the face or worse yet land you in the hospital or grave. Good luck with that.

    8. Jimbo says:

      They should put some in the holes f/o 120 West 94 St.

    9. Hambone says:

      This technology has been around for awhile but just not approved in NYC. It’s humane since they just fall asleep and die. Now if you aren’t feeling humane you can stick a garden hose down there and wait outside the holes with one of those picks for garbage. Or just run flexible feed from your car’s exhaust into the hole. Rats are very smart animals and you are more likely to poison a hawk or a dog than a rat with a bait trap.

      As for trees, no… they are more likely to gnaw on the tap root than they are to ‘aerate the soil’

      • JessicaB says:

        Taproots are a myth. Some trees, like oaks, have tap roots when they’re young, but they never develop into the big roots people imagine. I’ll ask TreesNY. They’re responsible for street trees in the City. Consider doing one of their Citizen Pruner classes to learn more…

    10. anonymous says:

      There are two women (at least) who bring enormous carrier bags of bread crumbs to feed pigeons in Riverside Park every afternoon. They may mean well, but they are also feeding rats.

      • don'tfeedbirds says:

        I have confronted one woman several times. She actually believes the pigeons need her. She is mentally off. She knows where I live and dumped a giants bag of bread crumbs in front of my building after our last encounter. She claims its not illegal to feed the birds. I’ve heard differently. Anyone know the truth?

        Have a photo of her bread dump if people are interested in seeing what idiots are doing to counteract the city’s efforts to control the rats.

    11. Diane says:

      This method was used in Chicago with great results. Mayor Diblasio has been talking about using it for years, when will it actually begin?

    12. Maggi rand says:

      Sounds like a good idea..i am not a person who wants to kill them..but, its us, our pets or them! In addition, please Councilwoman Rosenthal, dont let the parks, once again spray pestisides..sneakily, late at nite. Many stated have banned them. Dont allow Monsanto or anyone else to say they are not harmful. They are. It has been proven over and over, they are carcinogenic, and disturb the balance of nature. Please help us with pets, small children who roll around in the grass and are rolling in pestisides!!!