Market Overview

Displaced Subway Rats Pose Health Risk in Storm-Ravaged New York City


MEMPHIS, Nov. 1, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As New York City residents begin to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, they face a disturbing effect of the storm: displaced rats living underground not only in subways and sewers but also basements and sublevels.

Terminix, the world's largest pest control provider, is warning residents of New York City to be vigilant in the coming days of increased numbers of rats making new homes in apartments and businesses.

"Rats are skilled swimmers and climbers and will evade rising waters by moving up into bulidings to higher ground," said Terminix entomologist Stoy Hedges. "Rats are born-survivors and will readily move to better conditions to find food and a place to live. Unfortunately in a big city, these are provided by homes and businesses."

Rats are known to carry pathogens that can cause disease and which can be spread through bites, feces, and urine. Rats foraging for food can contaminate food with their feces and urine.

"It is important for New York City residents to look for signs of rat activity and protect their homes and businesses from rats that will be looking for new homes," said Hedges.

Terminix advises residents and business owners to consider the following:

  • Seal gaps around pipes leading from walls into apartments.
  • Install a tight-fitting weather strip on the bottom of all windows and doors.
  • Ensure any attic and foundation vents are equipped with tight-fitting quarter-inch hardware cloth. A regular insect screen will not deter rodents, as they can easily chew through the material.
  • Move piles of debris away from your home as quickly as possible. These can provide ample sources of shelter for rodents.
  • Trim tree branches 6 feet away from roofs and walls. Rodents are great climbers and acrobats, allowing them to scale rough surfaces in order access the building's roof and exterior vents.

If residents see rats in or around their building, they should call a professional pest control service such as Terminix to diagnose and treat the infestation. For more information, visit

About Terminix

Terminix is the world's largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services approximately 3 million residential and commercial customers in 47 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. Terminix is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. To learn more about Terminix, visit

About ServiceMaster

With a global network of more than 6,900 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 21,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands provided services and products to approximately 8.1 million customers during the last 12 months. Our market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to for more information about ServiceMaster or follow us at or

Valerie Middleton

Katie Wassmer

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