By John McDevitt

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With an increase in the number of rats sightings in ritzy Rittenhouse Square, efforts are underway to try and manage the problem.

The increase in the rat population was noticed in late spring and early summer.  The reason is not clear.

“I don’t know if it could be really traced to one thing,” says  Mark Focht, first deputy commissioner for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

But he says they are beefing up ways to manage the rodents, “such as changing out the trash cans more frequently.  We all ready do it multiple times a day,  but we stepped up the frequency with which we change the bags in the trash cans.

“We moved every trash can and cleaned underneath it, and then the Friends of Rittenhouse Square  significantly  spent about $8,000 to buy metal liners for the trash cans, which had previously had plastic liners that the rats could eat through,” Focht says.

The Philadelphia health department’s vector control team baits and poisons any of the burrows it finds near the planting beds.    A health department spokesman says the poison has been switched out and it appears it’s getting better results.

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