Pests – Prevention or Cure?
Pest control isn’t all about eradication. This week we look at why pest prevention is better than cure when you find you need to get rid of rats.
RATS - A CASE STUDY
A concerned neighbour contacted a local pest control company as they had seen a rat at the bottom of their garden. They suspected that it was coming from the neighbouring property.
The pest controller advised the resident to speak to the neighbour to see whether access to their property could be gained to assess the problem. The neighbour agreed to the pest control company visiting and when they did, they assessed that the infestation was so significant that the only solution was to eradicate using toxic bait. The neighbour had a major rat problem. Rats could be seen running through the property and garden in plain daylight.
The neighbour liked to feed the wild birds and had numerous bird feeders in their garden. The neighbour didn’t realise that this was attracting the rats as it was an easily available food source for them.
The neighbour had a lovely, well-tended garden, but there was a strip at the foot of the garden that was completely overgrown. The neighbour had not appreciated that this provided an ideal harbourage for the rats.
There was a broken drain cover outside the neighbour’s house and the fence toward the bottom of the garden was in a poor state of repair. The neighbour had meant to get around to fixing these problems and didn’t know that putting off these jobs would provide ideal access points for rats.
The neighbour had also put off reporting the rat problem because they were embarrassed about it. This had given the rats time to breed rapidly.
Rats can carry some nasty diseases such as Salmonella and Leptospirosis (more commonly known as Weil’s disease). Rats can spread these diseases to humans through their urine or when rats come into contact with food preparation areas. The rats being in the house was therefore a real and present public health issue.
In addition to this, the rats had gnawed through some electrical wiring which was a fire risk.
As the problem hadn’t been reported when first discovered there was now a significant infestation which required use of rodenticides. Earlier intervention may have avoided this which would have reduced the impact on the environment, non-target species and resistance to rodenticide.
Apart from the fact that the neighbour was too embarrassed to report the problem initially, it was also keeping them awake at night as the rats were making a noise scuttling through the attic at night. This was having a real impact on the person’s wellbeing.
Because the rats had, had a chance to thrive they were now significant in number. This wasn’t only causing a problem at this property, but they were also moving onto the neighbouring property. They were now also becoming a public nuisance.
And, because the problem had been allowed to escalate the overall costs in resolving the problem had similarly escalated. Both residents would now have to foot a bill to treat the problem and there were associated costs such fixing the wiring that the rats had damaged. This meant there was now an increased cost implication.
Fortunately, the neighbour had done their homework and called in a local, professional pest controller who was able to diagnose the problem and solution quickly due to their professional training and qualifications.
The pest controller was also a BPCA Member meaning the customers could be confident in their ability to treat the rat infestation due to their BPCA seal of approval.
As a fully qualified pest controller, the firm had access to solutions not available to the public which enabled them to treat the problem quickly and safely and in line with the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) Code of Practice.
Once the pest controller had the rat infestation under control, they made some recommendations that would help prevent a rat problem in the future, which included:
Clearing the overgrown part of the garden to remove the harbourage at the bottom of the garden
Fixing the drain cover and fence to prevent access in future
Avoiding feeding the birds in future or to use feeder baskets and to clean up any cast-off seed so as to remove a readily available food source
Carrying out essential maintenance works to the properties and gardens regularly which would have the benefit of pest proofing against rats and other pests
The customers took the pest controllers advice and we are pleased to report that both properties remain rat free.
The key message is that prevention is better than cure.
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