A Minty Weapon To Combat The Tompkins Rats

The Truck of Mint-X Trash BagsTompkins Square Park Playground and Parents’ Association The truck carrying 5,000 mint-scented trash bags arrived at Parks Department offices in Lower Manhattan this morning.

A truckload of mint-scented trash bags have been donated to the Parks Department in the latest volley in the ongoing war against the rats of Tompkins Square Parks.

A spokesman for the Tompkins Square Park Playground and Parents’ Association, which secured the 5,000 minty bags, said that Mint-X recently made the offer to donate all the bags after seeing all the publicity the rats were attracting.

“If the rats don’t touch it, the Mint-X guy is looking at a big purchase from the city,” said the spokesman. “I’m hopeful that they’ll work.” He added that the bags should be in trash cans at Tompkins Square Park today.

According to the Mint-X website, the herb has long been used as a home remedy to ward off rats. A video on the company’s site shows rats devouring a slice of pizza inside of a normal trash bag, while ignoring a slice inside of a mint-scented bag nearby.

The spokesman for the parents association said that the supply of bags should last through the summer, and that 1,000 of them will go to the many food charities that operate at the park on a daily basis. But he added that the trash bags would not eliminate the hordes of rodents that have overtaken portions of the park.

“We don’t want to proceed against the rats in incremental stages, we want to do it in a Sun Tzu-manner — a shock and awe type of action,” the spokesman joked.

Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the Parks Department, shared the guarded enthusiasm.

“We received these new trash bags and would be glad to use them, but cannot speak about their effectiveness as a deterrent against rodents,” Mr. Abramson wrote in an e-mail.

The trash bags are almost certainly not the only weapon that will be deployed against the rats, which haven’t been poisoned this summer due to the presence of a red-tailed hawk.

Today, The Post reported that the Parks Department is eliminating some of the plants that harbor rats, and the spokesman with the parents association offered The Local a few hints regarding what other rat-fighting techniques are being considered.

“We’re talking with Parks now about ways to kill the rats without leaving a poisoned carcass,” the spokesman said. “It might be baked or soggy, but it won’t be poisoned.”

Might the rats’ days as movie stars be numbered?

Updated at 4:56 p.m. with comment from the Parks Department.