HAVING noted an increase of 34% in callouts nationwide, and even higher in flooded regions, one of the country’s leading pest control firms has asked homeowners to be vigilant about an increase in displaced rats.
Rentokil is warning householders to be vigilant against rats, mice and other pests that are displaced from sewers, drains and rivers during the floods resulting from Storm Desmond and Storm Frank.
There have been particular instances of infestation in areas of West Cork, given the number of rivers which have burst their banks in recent weeks, forcing rodents uphill away from floodplains.
Dr Colm Moore, Rentokil’s technical manager, said homeowners should remember that flood waters bring bacteria and many other unwelcome visitors, including rats and mice. ‘Rodents carry a raft of diseases and can easily cross contaminate our homes with a variety of bacteria, viruses and other pests so it is critical therefore that properties are fully disinfected once the flood waters subside.’
Apart from the obvious physical trauma floods can bring, flood waters can pose unseen hazards. ‘In extreme cases, rodent migration can pose serious health problems. It is important to be aware of the biological hazards a rodent infestation can pose and be in a position to identify the risk and deal with it effectively,’ Dr Moore added.
‘After a storm or a flood, many rodents can be forced from their natural habitat and migrate into areas which provide food and shelter such as our houses, sheds, barns, businesses and other buildings. Floods also cause damage to property that may make it easier for rodents to gain access into our buildings. We are expecting the calls to our helpdesk to continue to rise,’ Dr Moore said.
Dr Moore advises that homeowners should remove all debris that provides protective cover for rodents from around houses and buildings. Keep surrounding vegetation down at a low level to eliminate protective cover for rodents. Remove any potential food source such as plastic rubbish bags, food spillages, especially grain and waste fats, or other foods that might attract mice and rats. Make sure you have sufficient and suitable bins for the amount of waste you generate and don’t leave excess bags on the ground beside your wheelie bin.
To carry out rodent-proofing check around your building for openings into buildings around water pipes, electrical wires, vents, and doors. Gaps should be closed with suitable mesh, nylon bristle strips or sheet metal.
Snap traps can, if placed carefully, be effective in capturing one-off nuisance rats and mice.
If using toxic baits be careful what you use and where you bait to avoid poisoning non-target species.To minimise the risk of infection and contamination carry out effective disinfection inside your homes when you know you have had ‘furry’ visitors. If dealing with an invasion you may need to call the experts to achieve ‘knockout’ and to implement safe, effective control and disinfection programmes.