MTA: Birth control to fight subway rat infestation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

MTA: Birth control to fight subway rat infestation

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The MTA says it's launching the first urban trial of pest-control bait that induces permanent infertility in rats. 

The product has been successful in rural areas, lowering rodent populations without harming other animals, crops or humans. 

However, the bait used must taste better than the pizza crusts, Chinese takeout, cold French fries and other foods lying all over the subway – otherwise the rodents won't eat it.  

Arizona-based SenesTech Inc, who makes the bait, will attempt to try different flavors. The co-founder SenesTech said they will launch a rodent taste test in different subway trash rooms. The scientists will spread birth-control bait of different flavors and scents.    

A company scientist says female rats start breeding at four months old and give birth to litters of a half-dozen offspring about four times per year. That means any poison has to outpace reproduction.  

An NYC Transit official said dead rats don't necessarily mean fewer rats and by lowering the competition for food, good poisons can make the survivors more healthy and fertile, which can lead to a rebound in the rat population. 

The official said rats eventually outsmart even the best poisons.

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