There are many factors that have been attributed to rat infestations, however one thing is certain: the number of calls regarding ...
Some Hindus worship them, Michael Jackson serenaded one of them, James Cagney thought them "dirty" and one saved TV AM in the 80s - rats are very much part of our culture. And there's one thing that's indisputable - their population is increasing.
There are thought to be between 60 and 80 million of the rodents in Britain, up 39 per cent since the turn of the century, and pest control companies across the West Country are reporting significant increases in rat-related call-outs.
So, why have we seen these increases? Well, first and foremost it's down to the fact we've not had a really hard winter for about a dozen years. A cold winter will keep the numbers down, but a warm winter provides them with ideal breeding conditions. They have a six-week breeding cycle and so can produce an awful lot of offspring in a year. Last year's wet summer, in particular, provided ideal conditions for rats to thrive as, due to high rainfall, fields of crops were left standing, meaning the rodents were surrounded by an abundance of natural foodstuffs and plenty of water.
Our fast-food culture has also had a massive impact – people leave the pub and have half a kebab and chuck the rest away so there's tons of food just lying round in the town centres for rats. Fortnightly rubbish bin collections, which are becoming increasingly common throughout the UK, have also been attributed to the increase.
And this is not just hearsay: research by the National Pest Technicians Association supports these claims. They say that numbers of brown rats and summer rats increased by 39 per cent and 69 per cent respectively from 1999 to 2005.
The NPTA believes the reduction in sewer baiting – putting poison down sewers to kill rats – is one of the major contributors to the rising rat population, along with increased fly tipping, badly managed recycling, poor advice on composting and excessive wild bird feeding.
If you are hearing strange sounds at night, it probably means you have rodents. Generally, scratching at night means it's rats; scratching in the morning means it's squirrels. You can still get rid of them but it usually requires a licensed pesticide applicator to physically remove them. You want to make you sure you get everything.
A few tips on how to keep rats and other rodents away:
Article provided by Dynamic Pest Control