Menopause-causing bait is curbing rat populations in New York

It is pest control without poison. A new type of bait that stops rats from having babies is helping to tackle infestations in several US cities.

The bait – known as ContraPest – was approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency last August. It makes rats infertile by triggering early menopause in females and impairing sperm production in males. There are no side effects and the rats eventually die of natural causes.

The technique is considered more benign than other control strategies being investigated, such as gene drive, which can be used to spread infertility genes through pest populations. A recent report by the US National Academies of Sciences warned that gene drive could have unforeseen consequences.

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