US cities use birth control technology against rats, moving to more humane methods

Infection with rats is a growing public health problem in the United States.

Conventional pest control methods in the past, such as poisons and traps, were considered only a temporary solution and not a holistic approach to dealing with a growing rat population.

In the pest control industry, recent developments have led to the emergence of ContraPest, a new method associated with birth control technology.

It has been reported to mitigate or prohibit the reproduction of rats.

In its early stages, the new innovation addresses the challenges of rapid breeding of rats that pest control companies have previously faced.

Birth control technology

(Photo: Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP via Getty Images)

A company called SenesTech produces ContraPest, which is reportedly the only fertility control in rats approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to the company’s CEO Ken Siegel, it’s like a “milkshake” for rats.

It contains a liquid formulation that rats need to consume about 10% of their body weight each day for the birth control method to take effect, quoted by Fox News.

Unlike birth control pills and other human contraceptives, ContraPest content affects both sexes in the rat population.

Siegel added that they are housed in traditional bait boxes, causing egg loss to female rats and inhibiting sperm development in male rats.

Read also: 22,000 traps and 40 tonnes of poison are not enough to eradicate rat infection on Lord Howe Islands

Rat invasion in the United States

In the United States alone, infection with rats and related diseases has increased significantly over the years, becoming not only an inconvenience but also a threat to human health.

The country’s thriving rat population has affected both rural and urban areas.

According to the US Census Bureau in April 2021, residents of 14.8 million households across the country reported seeing rodents in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, residents of 14 million housing units reported seeing cockroaches.

The pest problem highlighted by the bureau has become commonplace in housing units across the country.

However, he clarified that this is common among homes and residential areas with structural problems, as well as water leaks.

American Food Safety System

In the metropolitan areas, food establishments such as restaurants have observed numerous cases of rat problems and have been subject to strict health protocols by the US government.

At the risk of contaminated food, the US food safety system is managed by the following agencies, according to the National Academic Press:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Ministry of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
  • EPA

List of the earliest cities

In October 2021, the American pest control company Orkin released its “List of the 50 Biggest Rat Cities”, which identified the cities across the country with the highest population of rats present, which includes both residential and retail outlets.

Below the list, the cities at the top of the list are Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, CA; New York, New York; Washington; and San Francisco, California.

The company said food and water resources attract rodents; this became apparent when city dwellers returned to their city homes after the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.

Related article: Infection with rats causes first outbreak of hantavirus in Washington, DC

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