It is pretty much public knowledge that the HOA is suddenly caught in a war against varmints around the H-Building compactor. This is a status report.

Rats became more numerous around Cabbagetown over the past 2 or 3 years. One plausible explanation says that they originated in the vacant buildings and properties along Memorial and migrated when it was gentrified. But we don’t know for sure.

A colony of Norway rats set up near the H-Building trash compactor on Carroll St. Soft soil and a big food source allowed it to thrive. The HOA has conducted a pest control response for a long time, but it seemed to be a stalemate.

Last week, we shut down the compactor and cleaned it out. The container is scheduled to be removed shortly and will be stored … just in case it ever makes sense to reinstall it.

Over the weekend, the rats became desperate for food. Worse, a few residents decided to save the walk to the new dumpsters and dump their food waste in the green plastic recycling bins beside the compactor. The rats found the food and swarmed the bins. Bold as brass.

The HOA is talking to several pest control companies to get as many good ideas as possible, but we are still sifting the options. We were frankly a bit surprised by the rats’ desperation and bravery and we didn’t anticipate that food would be left in the recycling bins. Regardless, it is getting our full attention and we won’t hold back on the response.

Our general plan of attack is twofold:

  • We want to “harden” our food waste disposal system and habits so the rats can’t use us as a food source. This should be done quickly and it is key to a long term win. Some of this involves changes we have already made (and will make) to the waste storage and disposal equipment. A critical part will require that residents be more disciplined in the way they handle their organic trash.
  • We want to eradicate the current colony and make it impossible for them to establish it again. That will take longer, but we are going to pull out all the stops.

Finally, it has been suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t talk about stuff like this … property values and all. However, with phone cameras and social media, I think that horse has long since left the barn. IMO, what we need to do is prove that our community is smart enough, tough enough and committed enough that we will tackle this head on and decisively win.

(I just hope the little beggars don’t have an internet account and I haven’t given away our strategy.)

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