Rodents

Rodents are a worldwide pest due to their capacity to cause structural damage, to spread life-threatening diseases, and to compete with humans for food. Rodents are a worldwide pest due to their capacity to cause structural damage, to spread life-threatening diseases, and to compete with man for food. Physically very strong, rats have been known to survive for two days in open water, to swim a mile in open sea and to get through a gap of less than 25mm.

Damage

Rats live alongside man, invading his buildings and eating his food. Rats transmit disease, which are potentially fatal to man such as Weil’s disease and murine typhus. They also carry organisms which can damage man’s health such as Salmonella bacteria, viruses and parasites such as nematodes and worms. Damage by rats to the fabric of buildings can be costly. Fires can easily be started after a rat has gnawed a cable. Gas and water pipes are also at risk and rat burrowing can undermine foundations and damage water courses.

Mice carry diseases such as salmonella and they can transmit a type of Leptospirosis, but not Wiel’s disease. Their continual dribble of urine contaminates food and feedstuffs. They are a particular problem in poultry units and pig housing and a very real pest in grain stores, warehouses, shops, hospitals, and domestic premises.

Management

Faced with the increasing rodent challenge, pest controllers can no longer assume the use of even the best rodenticides in established formulations applied in long-recognised patterns will provide the required levels of control and environmental security.

As part of an integrated control approach, anticoagulants continue to provide the best and safest basis for rodent control. The key to their effective use, both to control rodents and to safeguard other wildlife, however, must be to deliver a lethal rodenticide dose to as many rats and mice as possible as rapidly as possible.