A number of Essex homes may be subject to a rise in what have been termed “super rats” going into the winter season. Pest control experts have noted that the number of rats that are immune to the effects of normal poisoning is likely to become even higher as winter brings with it cooler temperatures and rain.
According to the British Pest Control Association, part of the reason that the rats have become more resistant to poison is that traditional over-the-counter pest control treatments have allowed the rat population to gain immunity over time. Many of the top brand names are no longer effective, leading to the need for stronger treatments available only through pest control experts.
As Pest Prevention Week approaches on November 9th through the 14th, advice has been posted by the BPCA to bring attention to the pest control issues and to help homeowners to realize the importance of bringing in professional help.
As the end of the year approaches, it becomes more likely that the rat population will grow and seek entry into buildings, where they may be able to get food that would not be available in their natural habitats. Coupled with ineffective pest control methods from over-the-counter brands, these rat populations may threaten homeowners even more than they otherwise might. The strongest rat poisons are heavily regulated and can be accessed only by licensed pest experts.
Currently, it is believed that the local rat population may have exceeded 100 million. Rats are often a primary carrier for insects and germs that may bring disease to human populations. As weaker rats are killed by mild treatments, the stronger rats thrive and are able to reproduce more quickly, leading to an overall increase in poison-resistant rats.
Pest experts warn that the average house may have multiple ways for rats to enter, as they can access homes through pipes, vents, gaps, and other small openings, many under 15 millimeters in size. Homeowners may notice the presence of rats first through noises heard through the floor or inside of the walls, where they can seek warmth.
In addition to carrying disease, rats can also damage building materials and wires, leaving the home at risk for fires, especially as they form nests and seek to reproduce quickly.
If you are concerned about the presence of rats in your home, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent them from getting in:
- Go through your home and look for any entry points that rats could use to get in. Seal each entry that you find.
- Prune any exterior plants that may rest against the walls and avoid stacking wood against any home walls.
- Maintain the seals on doors, windows, and pipes.
- Clean up any trash bins, removing food or other edible items.
- Be cautious of where you place food for animals, making sure to empty containers each night.
The BPCA admonishes that the best way to remove rats from a home is to contact a properly trained professional, who can provide an effective strategy for removing the problem.