Rats causing car problems in post-Sandy Brooklyn

Rats raid roadsters

The Brooklyn Paper
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Some Brooklyn Heights motorists are discovering a creepy, costly surprise under the hood of their cars this winter: an infestation of rats.

Edward Perl, a resident of the neighborhood, said he parked his Lexus on Montague Street near Hicks Street several weeks ago and found that he couldn’t restart it.

A mechanic discovered that the car’s electrical wiring had been chewed through, and the foam lining around the engine cover had been shred to make a telltale nest.

“You turn off the motor, the motor’s warm, and it’s a nice comfy place to stay,” said Perl, who paid $750 to rewire and repair his car.

Thank Hurricane Sandy, which forced swarms of New York’s most resourceful four-legged residents out of basements and into the streets.

The service manager at Bay Ridge Lexus, where Perl took his car for repair, said that he has seen five cases of rat-infested cars so far this winter.

“You could say that our calls pretty much doubled,” said Jason Anderson, a service manager at Brooklyn Heights Exterminator, who said that his business now gets about 30 calls a day for rat infestations, mostly from neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens.

People who see rats on public property can call 311 to prompt the city to put traps out, said Judy Stanton, the executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association.

But the problem could very well come from infestations that begin on private property — and since the mayor’s last few budgets reduced the number of pest-control inspectors in the city, these sorts of complaints may be getting addressed less frequently, she said.

“When the infestation is under the city streets,” Stanton said, “We don’t know where they’re coming from.”

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Brooklyn Native from Brooklyn says:
A simple solution used in other parts of the country(and I know it sounds a bit absurd) is to put a few bars of Irish Spring soap not only in the car's trunk, or spare tire area of a hatchback, but also wedged into a few spaces under the hood. From people I know in the Southwest, this works at keeping ground squirrels and pack rats away from their wiring.
Feb. 19, 2013, 11:18 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Hello Brooklyn Native. John Wasserman here. Perhaps your racist comments would be more suited to some other message board. Personally, I find the Irish to be friendly, hardworking and decent citizens. As for the rat pack? That was one of the most entertaining periods of the 1900's, regardless of their backgrounds. Pardon the interruption.
Feb. 19, 2013, 4:18 pm
Brooklyn Native from Brooklyn says:
Say what, John? Racist? I won't argue with you, but Irish Spring soap is actually used to keep pack rats at bay. If you think a simple solution to a real problem is racist, I have no idea how your brain works. If you think that someone would stoop to equating the Irish with keeping rats out of engines has a, let us say, a rather unique way of thinking. John, I have no idea what you mean by "Pardon the interruption." It sounds cute, and rather off the cuff, but you, as you portray yourself, cannot be both cute and serious at the same time. If I were to stoop to your level, I might say that you should read carefully, and not look for the negative behind every comment. But I won't. Take care, John, and please stop ascribing hatred to other people. It only demeans you.
Feb. 19, 2013, 9:09 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Is this whole thing a Poe or is Wasserman really that messed up?
Feb. 19, 2013, 10:01 pm
Beth from Park Slope says:
I think that John is right. Attention Brooklyn native, Irish people are as likely or not to have rats as anyone else. In fact, the majority of cars in Brooklyn are German or Japanese. A more fitting solution could involve wasabi and beer.
I guess the Irish Pride Parade on St Patrick's day is more needed than ever in the face of this rat-baiting prejudice.
Feb. 20, 2013, 6:48 am
Brooklyn Native from Brooklyn says:
This will be my last post concerning SOAP - yes, a simple bar with which most people wash on a daily basis. And yes, the brand of that SOAP, not the ethnic background, but, I repeat, the BRAND NAME of the SOAP happens to be Irish Spring. Exterminators in the Southwest say it actually works. Would you and John have preferred that the product be known as, say, Spring? Would that have satisfied you? In the meantime, pour beer over your engine's wires, and lather up everything else with wasabi. I'll stick to a bar of soap. And, Beth, as I wrote to John, "...please stop ascribing hatred to other people. It only demeans you."
Feb. 20, 2013, 8 am
o3 from bk says:
take it ez brooklyn native, dude was kidding.
Feb. 20, 2013, 9:53 am
Mallory McCheese from Dublin says:
As a proud Irish woman, I'm insulted by the native's implication that we Irish should demean ourselves!
Your demeaning Of us is more than enough!
Feb. 20, 2013, 4:20 pm
Brooklyn Native from Brooklyn says:
Alright. I'll throw in the towel. There's no arguing sense with close-minded people who always look for the worst in other people. To all the readers - specifically John of Windsor Terrace and Mallory McCheese (a name only James Joyce could have invented) who thought that the reference to Irish Spring was demeaning to them, well, I wish you the best in your remaining myopic. Take care, and be proud in your insularity.
Feb. 20, 2013, 6:07 pm
jay from NYC says:
soap is an old wives tale, it does not work and rats will actually eat it. Just wondering if Tal the Bigot was the source for your information?
Feb. 20, 2013, 6:22 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I hope you'll excuse my saying so (and I certainly have no intention of starting any tom-foolery), but Brooklyn Native (from Brooklyn, no less) seems to "protest too thinks." I do hope you find your way at some time in your life. I wish you all the best. Pardon the interruption.
Feb. 20, 2013, 6:50 pm
Benny from Brooklyn says:
Irish soap is more of a bandaid fix than anything. The only thing that is does is confuse the rats of whether or not the car is safe anymore because they can't smell their urine. If you really want to keep rats out of your car, you need to understand why they are entering your car in the first place and what their behaviors are. There is no one solution to solve this but it is a matter of introducing different smells, annoying noise, and blocking off entrances to keep the rats outs. Here is a great resource for people who are still dealing with this problem:
Jan. 29, 2017, 4:07 pm

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