RPW Services is putting out bait traps for rats in Eisenhower Park and the parking lot, according to recent phone interviews with Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos.
RPW Services is an on-call service hired by the city.
According to Gallegos, the contractor will do rodent abatement on north and south side of the pier.
“It’s something we have to do from time to time,” Gallegos said.
He said the city would have to make sure the trash in that area is emptied out.
The issue came up recently when a local man, David Sauers, contacted the Sun first by email and then by voicemail on Thursday, July 14, to report rats living in the park near the pier. He has also contacted Orange County Vector Control.
At that time, he put the number of rats in the park at 30.
“It’s been quite a problem for quite a while,” he said.
Sauers posted a video of the wild rats on Instagram and other social media recently. (The video has apparently been taken down since then.) He emailed the Sun on Tuesday, July 20, to say he had taken more videos that morning.
“3 Videos in 3 Directions within 5 minutes,” Sauers wrote.
Only a few rats were seen in the July 20 videos, but the rats (nocturnal animals) were out in the open in daylight cavorting in park. In one video, a rat scurried across the sidewalk between two benches. In another video, a ran in the green grass near the circular part of the walkway in Eisenhower Park. In a third video, two rats were seen near the bushes. The rats shown were brownish, wild rats.
“Collectively we counted 15 plus rats,” Sauers wrote.
“When someone gets bit or sick… I will happily share should they sue the city,” Sauers wrote.
“As a local paper you need to get the word out there … Or the Sun itself, is apart of the problem,” he wrote.
“Yet nearly two weeks later the city has failed to do anything … nor has the Sun posted any information regarding the information for the residence review,” he wrote in another email.
“There has not been one trap sent—not one person has been seen walking through and examining the situation,” Sauers wrote.
“That said those 3 new videos have been sent to Vector control as well as the entire city council as well as the entire City Managers office,” he wrote.
“We’ll see. Counting 15+ rats at 7:30am with literally no fear of humans.
“That says a lot about the City of Seal Beach. Sad to say,” he wrote.
In his voice mail the previous Thursday, Sauers said he had spoken with other people about the issue and he said the city had blown off the issue.
In his July 15 voicemail, Sauers said that over time, the rats have gotten bolder and bolder. He described them walking under park benches.
Sauers, this has been going on for some time.
According to Rentokil, a pest control service, “A female rat typically births six litters a year consisting of up to 12 rat pups, although 5-10 pups are more common.”
The American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association, for people who keep rats or mice as pets, reports that rats can have an average litter of nine to 12 pups.
The Sun contacted District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt, who represents Seal Beach on the Vector Control board. “Yes there may be a problem in a park. Vector is aware of it now and is working with the City staff,” Massa-Lavitt wrote in a Friday, July 16 mail.
“The most common pathway of exposure to rodent-borne diseases is through consumption of food or water contaminated with rodent feces and urine,” according to OC Vector Control.
“Rats and rat nests can be infested with biting mites and fleas. Mites and fleas can transmit illnesses to humans,” according to OC Vector Control.
“In 2015, the District’s policy on baiting for rats changed due to the concern of secondary poisoning to other animals and wildlife,” according to the OC Vector Control website.
“The current rat program focuses on education and control of rats through exclusion, source reduction and snap traps,” according to the Vector Control website.