As London has grown, so has its rodent population, but the City has ways of tackling the problem and is busy revising its pest con...
In the main, the fast pace of economic growth in London is a positive, leading to a stronger economy and an increase in exchange of goods. There has also been a large influx of people to the city.
But the unfortunate result of a high population density and recent rubbish collection changes has led to increased waste, illegal dumping, littering and unhygienic conditions, in turn creating a safe haven with ample food for rodents – and so leading to their proliferation.
London is home to two different species of rats. Among the more notorious is Rattus norvegicus, which is responsible for an increase in rodent attacks on humans in the city.
A report on the City's pest control programme indicates that rodents have become a serious problem over the last few years, especially in certain areas. Given this, it is revising its pest control and pest surveillance programmes.
The increase in rodent attacks on humans bears proof that humans are living in closer proximity to rodents than before, thus increasing the risk for humans to be exposed to rodent-borne diseases such as leptospirosis (a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through ingestion of food contaminated with the urine of infected rats), and rat bite infections.
Pest control operations are carried out daily in all five City regions. But more infrastructure investment will be required if London is to stay ahead of the ever-growing rat pack, especially in the older areas of London such as Hackney, Bow and Canning Town.
Of course, sanitation is tha main cause of rodent infestations as one of the most prominent food sources for rodents is waste. More refuse bins and regular collections must be rolled out thus ensuring that London residents dispose of their waste in the most rodent-proof way possible.
Waste management programmes should be aimed at empowering members of the community to take responsibility for their waste and assist with the elimination of conditions that lead to rodent infestation.
In addition, the places where rodents hide or nest must be eliminated. This can be achieved by ensuring that both inhabited and derelict buildings are appropriately rodent-proofed, to deny these creatures access to their interiors.
Communities need to be educated so that they are more easily able to keep their premises free from accumulations of refuse, rubble or other materials that could enhance rodent harbourage, as well as to minimise available food sources and to institute eradication measures where necessary.
With expertise, infrastructure and mechanisms in place to deal with most health hazards, the vector control services will ensure that this comprehensive rodent surveillance programme will put the City of London one step ahead.