At the beginning of May, the intense and official deratization in four districts of the Hungarian capital (V., IX., XIII., XX.) started. The team of the organisation which is responsible for the procedure will supervise these districts in the following ten months spending an approximate 300 million HUF (900,000 EUR) on extirpating rats.

Experts start the procedure in districts close to the Danube and going to clean the sewer systems first looking for possible rat populations – reports Index. Director of the organisation Zoltán Takács stated that the extra job and financial support was inevitable besides the regular extirpating in the city. The main task in the following ten months is to clean all the streets and sewers from rats and to avoid contamination.

In the last ten months, more than ten thousand (10,414) phone calls or e-mails arrived for the organisation about rats which supervised the location in the next 48 hours, placing traps and poison for these animals.

rat, brown, Budapest, Hungary
Photo: Wikimedia Commons by G. Scott Segler

2019 is a “special” year for these people because this is the first time when they are alarmed and called every day because of rat incidents. The increase of rats started in 2011 but became problematic in the last few months when several citizens posted pictures about dead animals on the streets, and even from a kindergarten which had to be closed for a few days. On the other hand, the authorities of Budapest should not be surprised by the fact that the number of rats rapidly increased. Reports and statistic data showed a quickly growing rat population in the autumn of 2018. As a result, the government and the leadership of the capital should have known that Budapest is no longer a rat-free area. The organisation does not have an answer to why this phenomenon happened in the last few months.

Budapest is no longer a rat-free capital

Billions of HUF for investments? Cleanings? Promises? After forty-seven years, they are no longer relevant because Budapest’s fame as a rat-free capital might come to an end sooner than we thought. Obviously, due to spring and the warmer weather, these animals show up again after hiding away during the winter season, but in Budapest, they usually do not appear in reopened underground railways. Moreover, this year, there are no districts in the capital anymore where rats have not been spotted.


rat, street, Budapest, Hungary

According to reports, the government of the capital did not alarm the necessary organisations about the rapid increase of rats until October 28, 2018, when it was already a problem.

Although the city authorities were aware of the serious problem, they did not order to begin an urgent extirpating besides the regular one. According to the director of the organisation which supervises this procedure, the city simply reacted too late to the problem and to make these animals disappear became more complicated. They also believed that the common extirpating, chemicals and poison would have the same result as an urgent extirpating in the city, but the number of rats is more in Budapest than in the last fifty years.

The possible solution would be to start extirpating regularly and with a more efficient method and to check the estimated number of animals in January 2020.

Mayor: Fewer rats in Budapest but still too many

Budapest residents have reported fewer “rat sightings” in the city since last August but “their number is still higher than acceptable”, Budapest Mayor István Tarlós told commercial television channel ATV on Thursday.



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