NEW YORK - If you can't beat them, smoke them.
Looks like the battle of rats is going well for some parts of New York City.
"This method seems to smoke them out, literally," said one local.
The city has done everything to combat the rat problem throughout the city.
Rats are a top public concern along with crime, homelessness and exorbitant rents. No traps nor poisonous bait have fully succeeded in reducing their numbers--until now.
Kathleen Corradi the city's first Director of Rodent Mitigation vowed "you’ll be seeing a lot of me and a lot less rats."
Along the East 86th Street corridor, once home to hundreds of rat holes--something seems to be working.
Matt Deodato an exterminator for Urban Pest Management has been using the BurrowRx machine for over a year now and says it's working.
The machine pumps carbon monoxide into burrows inside sidewalk tree pits. The rat killing method has been proven to eliminate all burrows.
Democratic Councilwoman Julie Menin spearheaded the effort allocating $30,000 in supplemental sanitation funds.
"We had an almost near 100% eradication of the burrows in the tree pits," Menin said.
Locals say not only are most of the burrows gone, but so are the rats.
"The way it works is these rats burrow into the tree pits, they populate in there they're living in there. And we use carbon monoxide to fumigate the tree pits. It kills the rats and it really had tremendous success.
Over the past year, residents have called in almost 3.2 million rat sightings to the city's 311 service request line, just shy of the record number of complaints in 2021.
"Rats have proven to be one of the most formidable opponents that humans have faced. Here in New York City, we’re locked in a constant battle," said Councilmember Erik Bottcher, whose district includes Times Square.
Councilwoman Menin said she hopes to expand the program to other parts of the city.