Rat and Roach Wonderland

Imagine for a moment that you are in the living room of your home. As you’re relaxing you notice something small move from the corner of your eye. That creature you noticed is none other than a rat or a roach. Pests have been an ongoing issue throughout New York City, especially in the Bronx borough. Although there have been many complaints in the Bronx about pests, rats and roaches tend to appear in the poorest areas in the Bronx. Which proves that there is a correlation between poverty and pests population.

The people in the Bronx have often complained about the rats and roaches in their apartments. The predicament with the infestation of rats and roaches is still occurring even in more recent times. This was the case with one family who lived in an apartment filled with rats as she expresses it through her complaints on the matter. According to the video it is clear that those tenants who were living in the apartments had witnessed a continuous infestation of rats in their living space. The events in this video further drive the point that infestation is an existing problem in the Bronx. What it comes down to is the lack of protection that the people of the Bronx have from getting an infestation similar to the one seen in the video. Another instance of there being a rat and roach infestation in the Bronx has occurred in recent memory too. Similar to the previous video the people living in the apartments are dealing with having rats and roaches in their homes. Their course of action was to file a complaint to the landowners of the apartment. Once again the complaint has been ignored by the landowners of the apartment leaving the tenants having to find a way to deal with the rats and roaches themselves. Generally having pests in ones apartment is never a pleasant experience. It can last for weeks or even months but the impact that it can have on people can be unforgettable. Especially since the complaints of these very people have been left unheard by the landowners. In other words it is like having an ongoing dilemma without any real solution. The pest problem in the Bronx neighborhoods is often dismissed by people who only see the best parts of New York. The parts that are being referred to are Manhattan and Brooklyn with their tourist attraction. Once more the rat and roach situation in the Bronx has to be resolved even if the complaints aren’t enough.

It should also be taken into consideration that there is a clear connection between poverty and population of rats and roaches. The Bronx has been known to be the poorest of the five boroughs in the city. Even in current times the people of the Bronx have been struggling economically over the last decade. The “Bronx has had the slowest economic growth” in the city and has “not bounced back from the recession”( Wisnieski). As a result of the economic problems that the Bronx has been facing the housing has also taken a negative impact from this economic issue. And with there being poverty in these neighborhoods in these neighborhoods in the Bronx it results in less than ideal living conditions. It is these very living conditions that lead to the attraction of rats and roaches to these apartments. and had dealt with pests at some point. The Bronx with its economic issues cannot always reach those who had to live with poor housing. It is no wonder why there have been stories of the Bronx being the borough with the most rat infestations. And yet it is not often mentioned in a public setting making it seem as if the people who had to deal with these pests felt  ashamed. But then again no one wants an uninvited guest in their household, especially if it is a rat or a roach.

Rats and Roaches have been known to spread disease through the pathogens that they carry. The people who are most prone to getting ill from roaches are actually children. The reason being due to the fact that children having “coming into contact with an allergen”(Warman). Which in this case happens to be the feces from the roach. The illness that these children of the Bronx suffer from by being exposed to that feces is usually asthma. These same children of the Bronx also happen to live in the poorer areas leading meaning that there will be more roaches. Though roaches are already a threat to the health of children in the Bronx. Rats have gotten people in the Bronx sick as well because of the pathogens that they carry. There was even a recent instance of a person in the Bronx getting sick from exposure to the pathogens that the rat  carried. Considering that it was one person who had died from that the disease the other people living in that apartment were concerned if the same would happen to them. As observed from the video the death of the one tenant from the rat disease revealed an unfortunate truth about the neighborhoods in the Bronx. That truth was of course the fact that the Bronx and the tenant who died was the first of what would seem to be even more victims from the rats in these Bronx neighborhoods. What can be understood from this event is that rats have certain bacteria that can be harmful if it comes into contact with a less than fortunate person. This is only part of a long battle between Bronx and the pests that have surrounded the neighborhoods of the Bronx. Not only should people be aware of the health issues that these rats and roaches cause but also try to consider the ways that these diseases could be prevented.


While some might not think that rats are not pests and can be kept as pets that may seem true but once again rats that are found near the apartments in the Bronx should not be considered as pets. The same can be applied to those who believe that roaches can be pets as they also have not been good for the people of the Bronx. There is also the argument about how exterminators are readily available for those who live in the Bronx. As positive as that may seem at first, it is actually quite costly to get an exterminator in the first place. Instead the people of the Bronx have used the typical traps to eliminate as many of the rats and roaches as possible but even with that  there are always survivors. However the map was made with a purpose of exploring how the Bronx is in terms of the rat and roach infestations faced over the years. While making the map I had to think of ways to incorporate the topic of my research in the overall design of the map. What I came up with was a hand drawn map with some illustrations on the side relating to the topic that I have been researching. Beyond the whole process of creating the map I believe that the true meaning of the map is too shed light on a problem in the Bronx that has affect everyone who has lived there including myself.Pests have been a reoccurring problem throughout my entire life even back when I lived in Manhattan I still had to deal with pests on a daily basis. In fact I believe that it what caused the asthma that I have to this very day since the apartment I used to live in was infested with rats and roaches. Of course me and my family ended up moving out of that neighborhood in Manhattan to the Bronx neighborhood that I reside in to this very day. However while at first it seemed like I wouldn’t have to deal with pests while living in the place it eventually became clear that it wasn’t actually the case. The most recent experience I had with a rat infestation actually occurred last year. The first time I recall seeing a rat in the house was when I was walking to the kitchen. I noticed the rat was near the stove but as I moved it scurried away and that’s when I told my family about it. For the next few months, me and my family would continue to notice more rats around the house. Since we couldn’t afford an exterminator, we had to resort to using steel wool to cover up the holes that the rats were creating. The steel wool has been working but scratching can still be heard inside the walls sometimes. It was these experiences from my life that served as the inspiration for my map.


works cited

Bradley, Ryan. “The Rat Paths of New York.” NYTimes, 23 Apr. 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/magazine/the-rat-paths-of-new-york.html.

Ashford, Grace. “Leaks, Mold and Rats: Why New York City Goes Easy on Its Worst Landlords.” NYTimes, 26 Dec. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/26/nyregion/nyc-housing-violations-landlords-tenants.html.

Bronx residents plagued by rat infestation

Link to video :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwcS8pFPT3I

Link to source: https://abc7ny.com/politics/rats-mice-and-roaches-plague-mitchel-houses-tenants/1573304/