Commonly asked questions

How Can We Manage Rodents in Hoboken?

Why are we seeing more rodents?

Cities across the U.S. have recently seen an increase in rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior. The visibility of rodents increased during and after the pandemic for a variety of reasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that rodents rely on food and waste generated by restaurants and other commercial establishments, which were largely closed during the pandemic to limit the spread of COVID-19, causing a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas. Rodents began scavenging for food elsewhere, as outdoor dining increased. Rodent food sources were replenished as cities returned to a “new normal” in 2021, surging rodent populations.  

Rodents breeding in sewers can multiply so quickly that they expand beyond the crowded conditions of the sewer and come above ground in search of food and shelter. Rodents also leave the sewers during flash floods, underground construction projects, and other conditions where there is an interruption in the food supply. Per the CDC, after natural disasters like hurricanes, communities often experience a decline in rodent populations, followed by an increase in rodent populations as commercial activity returns to normal.  

What is the City doing to mitigate rodent activity?

Rodent control must employ a holistic and flexible approach that is tailored to Hoboken and its environmental factors to overcome the high reproductive rate, adaptive behaviors, and colonizing ability of varmints. The City, residents, businesses, utility companies, and private contractors must all work together to implement rodent control practices.

Limiting and Treating Rodent Habitat

Overgrown vegetation, loose cardboard, and sewers can become rodent habitats. Rodents thrive in sewers because they provide both food and shelter.  Sewers provide rodents with are warmth in cold weather and cooler temperatures in hot weather as well as food due in part to garbage disposals.

The City is implementing rodent control in various public spaces and requiring that utility companies and private contractors implement rodent control for construction projects.

Sewers:

The City is treating sewer inlets with bait mixtures molded into paraffin blocks. The blocks are mold and mildew resistant, placed in the sewer, and are large enough to reduce the cost of frequent inspections and replenishment.  

Vegetated Areas:

The City is also treating rain gardens, planted curb extensions, and certain areas of municipal parks, including the waterfront walkway, experiencing rodent activity with enclosed rodent bait boxes. The number and frequency of service for baiting stations along the South Waterfront was recently increased due to rodent activity near the Post Office. The City maintains these areas by mowing grass and removing weeds or overgrown vegetation that could otherwise become habitat for rodents.  

Construction Sites:

Hoboken Engineering and Construction Code officials are requiring rodent control before construction mobilization and site disruption begins, throughout the work duration, until all equipment and materials are removed. As part of their road opening permit or building permit, contractors will need to show written proof of a pest control contract with a licensed pest control operator (PCO). Tasks for the PCO include: a documented baseline (pre-construction) survey of rodent activity and sanitation measures on both the proposed work site and observable areas nearby; installation of treatment such as bait boxes at the site perimeter and trailer/storage locations; subsurface baiting of manholes if utility work is included; and weekly inspections for sanitation conditions and rodent activity (more often if activity is found). The contractor shall maintain inspection and treatment records and the treatment shall be adjusted to match construction sequencing. Maintaining Contractors shall also provide and use rodent-proof refuse containers, conduct site cleanup for litter daily, properly contain refuse, and remove unnecessary debris piles and control weeds and other undesirable vegetation.

Inspecting Rodent Activity

The Health Department inspects reports of rodent activity. An inspector will visit the premises and attempt to see the area where the activity was sighted to identify burrows and point of entry to structures. The inspector also conducts a survey of the neighborhood to identify possible food sources, habitat, harborage, etc. and checks sewer inlets. If a property (or properties) is identified, the owner is sent a notice of violation with directions for how to abate the code violation.

Report sightings directly to the Hoboken Health Department at (201) 420-2375 or submit a concern.

Enforcing the Municipal Code

The municipal code has requirements for sanitary conditions to limit potential rodent habitat and food sources. Inspectors from the Departments of Health & Human Services and Environmental Services issue notices of violation and summons with fines for violating these code requirements.  

Per the code, any container maintained for the short-term collection of refuse, recycling, composting or rainwater must have a properly fitting lid, be access-resistant to insects and rodents and must be maintained in good working order at all times and must be kept in a clean and sanitary way. The code also prohibits nuisances such as:

  • Depositing, accumulating or maintaining any matter or thing which serves as food for insects or rodents and to which they may have access or which serves or constitutes a breeding place or harborage for insects or rodents in or on any land, premises, building or other place.
  • Failing to make and maintain any dwelling or dwelling unit, rooming house, property or place of business reasonably vermin proof and rodent proof and exterminate the same.
  • Allowing the growth or accumulation of weeds and other vegetation upon private premises or in any public place.

Educating our Community

Rodent control requires partnership among the City, utility providers, construction contractors, residents, and businesses - including restaurants. The City is developing educational information tailored to each of these stakeholders so that we can work together to mitigate rodent activity. We need your help to keep Hoboken clean and green.  

What can residents and businesses do to mitigate rodent issues?

Rodents feed on garbage and pet waste. Overgrown vegetation and loose cardboard can become rodent habitat. It’s our neighborhood - let’s work together to limit rodent food sources and habitat to keep Hoboken clean and green! 

Keep garbage in covered containers

Garbage and recycling should be placed in containers kept tightly covered with lids. Do not leave garbage bags outside of containers or leave containers uncovered.  

Keep food stored away

Small crumbs, garbage, grains, and cereals can become rodent food sources. Keep dry goods in sealed metal or glass containers.

Flatten and secure cardboard

Cardboard is attractive to rodents, as they tend to chew it up for use in their nests.  Cardboard should be flattened and secured (tied, in another box, or in a bin).

Seal up holes on your property

Seal up holes inside and outside your home and business to prevent entry by rodents. Learn how at the CDC website.

Trap rodents

Trap rodents to help reduce the rodent population. Learn how at the CDC website.

Keep it clean

Prevent contact with rodents by cleaning your home and business. Learn how at the CDC website.

Pick up pet waste

Failing to pick up after your pet on sidewalks, streets, and in parks is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000. Use one of Hoboken's 500+ public waste cans to properly dispose of pet waste. Forgot a bag? Find one of Hoboken's 80+ pet waste stations. 

Remove weeds

Remove weeds, tall grass, overgrown vegetation, wood piles, and debris from yards, sidewalks, and tree pits. Maintenance of street trees and sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent private property owner. 

Don’t litter

Keep our streets clean. Use one of Hoboken's 500+ public waste cans to properly dispose of garbage and recycling. 

What are the requirements for rodent baiting?

Per N.J.A.C. 7:30 PESTICIDE CONTROL CODE 7:30-10.3 Rodent Baiting

(a) No person shall use any rodent bait, unless it has been placed in tamper-resistant bait boxes pursuant to (b) and (c) below, or in locations not accessible to children, pets, domestic animals or non-target wildlife.

(b) No person shall use or otherwise possess any pesticide in any rodent bait box or bait tray unless: 1. The bait box is secured against tampering when placed in areas accessible to pets, domestic animals, non-target wildlife or children; and i. The bait box or tray has attached to the exterior, a copy of the registered label of the pesticide; or ii. The bait box or tray has, attached to the exterior, a readable label with the following information about the pesticide contained therein: (1) The brand or trade name; (2) The EPA registration number; (3) The name and percentage of active ingredient(s) in the bait box; and (4) An appropriate signal word, that is, Danger-Poison, Warning, or Caution.

(c) For purposes of interpretation of (b) above, a bait box shall be considered tamper-resistant when: 1. It has met the standards for tamper-resistant bait boxes used by the EPA in PR-Notice 94-7, incorporated herein by reference; 2. The bait box containing the pesticide is in a secure storage area; or 3. The bait box is under the direct observation of a pesticide applicator.

(d) After the application has been completed or the contract has been terminated, all accessible bait shall be removed by the applicator or applicator business.

Note: snap traps are not permitted in public places

Is rodent bait harmful to other animals or humans?

The PESTICIDE CONTROL CODE Rodent Baiting requirements above seek to ensure safety for other animals and humans.

The anti-coagulant rodenticide used in bait to treat sewers is safe to handle without polluting the water supply. It is securely anchored in the sewers, far out of reach of anything except the target pest. Baiting sewers does not present a danger to non-target animals since other animals (squirrels, cats, dogs and other mammals) do not frequent sewers.  

Who is providing treatment services?

All Contractor personnel providing pest (rodent) control services for the City of Hoboken must meet state requirements for training and certification as Commercial Pesticide Applicators.  

How Can We Manage the Spotted Lanternfly?

Adult Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) have been increasing in prevalence in Hudson County. Spotted Lanternfly feed on the plant sap of many different plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut, and other important plants in NJ. As the Spotted Lanternfly feeds, it excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. The honeydew also builds up and promotes the growth for sooty mold (fungi),which can cover the plant, and eventually kill the plant. Although not directly harmful to animals and humans, the insect can greatly impact agricultural crops and hardwood trees.

The Spotted Lanternfly lays eggs on the bark of certain trees, most commonly the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), or any flat surface such as rocks, lawn furniture, firewood, boats, pallets or anything left outdoors, some of which can be transported to new locations.

Ailanthus altissima, Tree of Heaven (credit: The Nature Conservancy)

Stomp It Out!

If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, help us carefully stomp it out!  It is important to Stomp Out the adult Spotted Lanternfly (pictured above) to prevent them from egg masses.

Report a Sighting

Report the sighting of a Spotted Lanternfly to the City of Hoboken and to NJ Department of Agriculture, using the reporting tool or call 833-4BADBUG (833-422-3284).

For infestations of spotted lanternfly on neighboring property, please email recycling@hobokennj.gov so that the Department of Environmental Services can inspect.

Trees on Private Property

Per Hoboken City Code, property owners are responsible for caring for street trees and tree pits in the public right-of-way in front of their property, as well as all vegetation on their private property including back yards. Spotted lanternfly are considered a public nuisance, regulated by Chapter 136 Nuisances of the Hoboken City Code.

The City requires property owners with Ailanthus altissima infested with spotted lanternfly to take measures to help control them. Control procedures include pesticide (insecticide) application or removal of Ailanthus altissima trees, or any combination thereof, to reduce the available host of the spotted lanternfly and to decrease the population of spotted lanternfly.

All control procedures should conform with methods approved by the NJ Department of Agriculture, in addition to all applicable federal, state, and municipal laws and ordinances.

For small sightings of spotted lanternfly, certain studies show that white vinegar filled in a spray bottle or neem oil can kill spotted lanternfly. Neem oil traps can also be used. Learn more about homemade spotted lanternfly spray.

For infestations of spotted lanternfly on Ailanthus altissima, property owners should contact a New Jersey licensed tree care expert or Licensed Pest Control Operator to treat the infested tree with insecticide or remove the tree, depending on the severity of the infestation.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, where spotted lanternfly have been present for longer than New Jersey, recommends destroying approximately 90% of the Ailanthus altissima trees on a property and using the remaining trees as “trap” trees. The trap trees must then be treated with a systemic insecticide. Treatment is required every 2-4 weeks, depending on the severity of the infestation. When spotted lanternfly feeds on the treated trees, they will die.

All egg masses should be removed by scraping them off the tree. Adult egg laying starts in September through December and egg masses contain 30-50 eggs.

Typical Spotted Lanternfly Egg Mass (credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org)

Trees on Public Property

Spotted lanternfly have been seen throughout Hudson County and Hoboken has seen massing of adult Spotted Lanternfly in certain parks.

City of Hoboken

The City is working with a certified arborist and NJ Licensed Tree Expert from Almstead Tree, Shrub & Lawn Care on an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach for managing the Spotted Lanternfly in City parks. Almstead routinely surveys and treats all City-owned parks for massing of Spotted Lanternfly.

  • Any current massing of Spotted Lanternfly will be spot treated with a spray application directly on the insects of PyGanic, an organic insecticide. PyGanic is an organically approved, broad-spectrum contact insecticide derived from Chrysanthemum flowers.
  • All trees adjacent to those with massing of Spotted Lanternfly as well as all tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), where the Spotted Lanterfly typically feed and lay eggs, will receive a preventive application to the trunk of Zylam Liquid insecticide. This application will have a 30-day control and treated trees will be monitored for any necessary additional treatment.
  • Any egg masses will be carefully removed by scraping the bark.

All individual treated trees are flagged with standard 72-hour no entry flags to inform the public. Please do not touch flagged trees.

All insecticide applications will be as limited as possible taking an IPM approach (rather than broad spraying) and performed by a NJ Licensed Commercial Pesticide Applicator.

Hudson County

Hudson County has a licensed pesticide applicator who treats infested trees at Hudson County parks and public property using similar products as the City of Hoboken. Specific areas treated include the 14th Street viaduct park near the dog run along the palisades.

The Hudson County Regional Health Commission (HRHC) and Mosquito Commission will be employing trapping, chemical treatment and systemic treatment of trees.  Residents can call HRHC at 201-223-1133 to request service.

NJ Transit

NJ Transit is working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), who has taken the lead on treatments of public transportation properties. Specific areas affected include the Hudson-Bergen Light rail along the palisades.

Learn More

The following resources provide more information about Spotted Lanternfly:

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Penn State Agricultural Extension Service

Rutgers Agricultural Extension Service

How Do I Manage Japanese Knotweed?

Per Hoboken City Code, property owners are responsible for caring for street trees and tree pits in front of their property, as well as all vegetation on their private property. Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum caspidatum) have been increasing in prevalence in Hudson County.

These are perennial plants  that are native to Japan. The plant forms in large clumps up to 13 feet tall and produces small greenish-white flowers. Once established, it is extremely persistent. Reproduction occurs both by vegetative cuttings and seeds, making this plant extremely hard to eradicate. Once introduced it spreads rapidly by rhizomes and is extremely competitive.

Below are some suggestions to manage Japanese Knotweed:

Strategy 1: Dig it Out

Small stands of the plant can be mechanically dug out, like a weed. Once removed, shade the area with black plastic, tarp or shade cloth to reduce additional growth.  

Strategy 2: Treat with Herbicides

Large stands of the plant can be chemically treated with herbicides.

Strategy 3: Contact an Expert

Consult a New Jersey licensed tree care expert who can inspect the issue and recommend solutions.

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