Pest Control Officers Gregory Cornes, left, uses a hand trowel to scoop-up dry ice before dropping it directly into rat burrows, as his co-worker Curtis Redman assist, near the Capitol building in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. Both are from the Department of Health's Rodent Control Division. The nation’s capital is facing a spiraling rat infestation, fueled by mild winters and a human population boom. Washington’s government is struggling to keep pace (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Draining the swamp, clearing the burrows: DC's war on rats

December 12, 2018 - 12:48 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's capital is facing a spiraling rat infestation.

Fueled by mild winters and a human population boom, rats are sparking a record number of calls to Washington's pest control department. The local government is struggling to keep pace while boosting the department's funding and staffing.

Experts say the real problem is the increase in trash produced by Washington's growing population. Gentrification has brought the number of residents to record levels with a 25 percent increase in restaurants in the past two years.

That means more food for the rodents as pest-control crews scour the city, using poisons, dry ice and new experimental methods to either kill the rats or slow down their constant breeding.

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