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Gerald Brown has been a rat abatement expert for 25 years. He worked the pest control beat with a private company. And then transferred to the Department of Health where he works as the program manager for the “Rodent and Vector Control Division.”
Brown knows his rodents. I wanted to talk to him about my story on William Selepack. Selepack had claimed to have captured and killed 50 rodents in his apartment.
“The most I’ve seen, that we’ve captured in a commericial business—not a home—was like 12,” Brown says. “That’s not a regular occurrence. I have not seen his unit. But I imagine it’s more units above and below and beside. If there was that many rodents, mice or rats, someone else would have noticed.”
What abatement steps should Selepack take? “If it’s a large infestation, [then do] what they call a cleanout. They would set a lot of traps for quick kills then they would leave bait boxes with poison…The goal would be to kill as many as fast as you could. If it was a large infestation, you could in two days, if you set enough traps, you could capture most of them.”
Brown goes on: “You need a food source to support a rat infestation. If they don’t have enough food, it’s not going to be a real, real problem. That’s why they are there. They are there for food. If he has a dog, if a dog is pooping….We recommend that you clean your dog’s poop outside, inside. That could be food for rodents.…In our literature, we tell people to clean up [their poop] as quickly as possible.”
“The most important thing is to capture and kill the rats in the unit. And then you can rodent proof where you seal up openings around pipes so that they can not re-enter.”
A few days after my interview with Brown, Selepack sent me an e-mail announcing his 51st kill. He wrote:
hey guy, you know, sometimes when your really down and out, then something happens and you know there is a god (or higher power, etc). At 1 AM this morning, I heard a mouse scream, if that is possible and so did Max, only he got to it before I did, I have pic and videos. Bill
—photo documenting 50th kill courtesy of William Selepack