Photo: A rat outside Bispham Road takeaway
Experts are warning of an invasion of rats this Christmas when a combination of icy conditions and over-flowing dustbins could lead to a huge spike in the number of rodent infestations over the holiday period.
Merseyside homeowners have been warned to expect ‘alarming’ growth in the population of so-called super rats as failed home treatments have helped them grow bigger and stronger as well as build up their immunity, according to British Pest Control Association (BPCA).
Photo: Rats at the Sands pond (Ainsdale)
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the BPCA, said: “Reports of poison-resistant rats have been increasing in recent years and it seems likely that there’ll be a further surge in numbers during the coming months.
“There’s less natural food around during colder weather so the population of rodents in and around homes and business premises could swell at an alarming rate as we head into winter.
“The trouble is that people who try to treat problems themselves are likely to be making the problem worse.
“The rodents have become resistant and, in some cases, immune to off-the-shelf poisons to the point where they’re actually feeding off the toxic pellets, which means their size and strength is increasing.”
Today’s rat population is estimated at more than 100 million. They carry bugs which can be passed to humans, including Weil’s disease, which can lead to jaundice and kidney failure.
A typical home may have more than a dozen potential entry points for rats, which can transmit a variety of diseases to humans.
To beat the rats, Simon said: “Stronger rodenticides can be more effective, but most are subject to strict legislation and must only be used by professional pest controllers.
“So it has become very important to make sure infestations are treated by experts in the field.”
The BPCA say it is easier to prevent an infestation than to get rid of one.
- Inspect properties thoroughly and seal up any external gaps, holes or crevices that could provide rats with a way in.
- Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy, cutting back overgrown areas and clearing any piles of wood or debris.
- Ensure doors and windows can be closed properly and that drain inspection covers are well maintained.
- Keep bins well maintained with their lids closed, dispose of rubbish carefully and don’t leave leftover food lying around. Compost heaps should be covered.
- Areas around bird feeders should be kept clean and pet food bowls should not be left out overnight.
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