With the exception of a few hot days, the continued rain throughout summer 2012 has impacted on pest management and the behaviour of pests. This has included the behaviour of rodents – rats and mice.
In early summer many young rats would normally be in the sewers system. However flash flooding and increased water flow has meant that the usual harbourages are not necessarily suitable for rats to have and rear their young. Rats would normally produce more young in the summer months as conditions are ideal. Rodents have been reported in homes and business premises, with the national press reporting up to a 25% increase in call outs across the UK. The NPTA have confirmed that this has been the case throughout summer 2012.
Rats end up higher than they would normally at this time of year as flood water flushed out the sewage system. As with all creatures, the rat instinctively will seek out suitable dwellings to inhabit. Outbuildings such as garages and sheds, warehousing and commercial buildings and even high up levels such as lofts have been reported as providing shelter for rodents.
Rat infestations are therefore, not surprisingly, on the increase. As one breeding pair of rats can produce up to 200 young per year, even the recent upturn in temperatures and dry weather, leading to a subsidence in flood water, does not mean that a rat problem will simply disappear.
You can help to ensure rodent problems are kept at bay by ensuring waste foodstuffs are cleared away and kept in sealed, rodent-proof containers. Agricultural outbuildings, farm buildings and surrounding areas can be made less attractive to rats. This can be achieved by trimming back tress, bushes and overhanging vegetation which would otherwise create attractive cover.
Natural predators can be attracted to the area to help keep rats and other rodents at bay. Circular metal guards can be fitted to the bottom of pipes to prevent access.
Rats are naturally suspicious of traps and so whilst traps may be useful in controlling small numbers, a significant sized infestation is likely to require professional pest control assistance. You can contact AMES free on 0800 197 1650 for advice and information on rat control and pest management for your home or business.