Rats may well be the single most reviled mammal pest in modern society, but thanks to the rapid urbanisation of the UK, they are becoming a more and more common problem. It is estimated that in every city there may be as many rats as there are human inhabitants and thanks to their rapid breeding cycle, the population of any infestation is likely to increase quickly once established.
Rats are very intelligent and can be domesticated, however if they are threatened or their food or water source becomes scarce or overcrowded, they can become aggressive and attack humans. They are social animals and will live in groups with a clear social hierarchy and structure. Rats are also excellent climbers and are able to fit into small openings and crevices, so are able to spread through a property or premises with ease. As opportunistic feeders with a very keen sense of smell, rats are well suited to living amongst humans and can eat almost anything, with discarded waste and rubbish a prime feeding source.
So what are the signs of a rat problem?
The most common species of feral rat in the UK are the Black and Norwegian Brown, easily identified by their large size compared to mice, and their long hairless tails. They are heavily built for their size with small ears and eyes, and large front incisors. Rats can establish nests in any available space and can be found under floors, in cavity walls and lofts, sewers and drains and outside in sheds and outhouses. They can also burrow beneath tree roots or under walls and decking. Due to their tough front incisors, they can cause significant structural damage and increase fire and electrocution risks by chewing through wires.
To locate a nest, you should look for a burrow opening or hole, or look for rat runs in long grass or bushes. You can also locate them by following any scratching noises and by looking for droppings. An infested location will often also have a noticeably musky smell.
We cannot stress the importance of locating, controlling and treating a rat infestation as soon as possible. Rats are able to breed all year round and from a very early age – as they can bear multiple litters of multiple babies year-round, population numbers will rapidly increase and become tougher to deal with. In addition, any evidence of rat activity in a restaurant or food-related premises can result in prosecution or other action under the hygiene requirements of the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 2004.
Rats also carry a variety of infectious diseases which are communicable to both domestic pets and humans as well as carrying fleas which can lead to a subsequent flea infestation. Diseases can be passed on by the contamination of food or surfaces by rat hair, droppings and urine or the parasites that live on their bodies. This can be particularly serious as rats can carry Leptospirosis which can cause Wells Disease and is fatal to humans.
If you live in the Manchester or Cheshire area and think that you have a rat problem, contact Manchester Pest Services as soon as possible to arrange a visit from one of our technicians. Don’t be tempted to try and deal with the problem yourself using over-the-counter rat poisons or traps as these are not always 100% effective and due to the time involved in using them can often cause an increase in the size of the problem. Contacting us as soon as possible will allow our trained technicians to begin treating the infestation quickly and efficiently.
Once our technician has completed his treatment, you should soon notice a reduction in rat activity, however we do recommend a regular repeat schedule is set with us to check the treatment progress and monitor activity.