Floodwaters and frost driving rats into houses
Rentokil is advising householders to be vigilant against rats, mice and other pests that are displaced from sewers, drains and rivers during the floods resulting from recent storms and the frost that set in over the weekend. Water levels are expected to remain high, and rodents will continue to seek food and shelter inside our homes.
Richard Faulkner, Rentokil’s Senior Field Biologist, said: “Rats will continue to move up and out of their burrows as water levels remain high. They will leave sewers and come into homes and offices. All they are looking for is shelter, food and water. Over the past four years we have had cold spells in October, but this year was extremely mild in comparison.
The favourable weather conditions and large availability of food in the wild, have created the perfect conditions for rodent populations to grow. As a result, rodents will not be as affected by the freezing temperatures being felt this January, as they would have been in previous years. Homeowners should prepare themselves.”
Apart from the obvious physical trauma floods can bring, flood waters can pose unseen hazards for the Irish people. “In extreme cases, rodent migration can pose serious health problems. It is important to be aware of the biological hazards a rodent infestation can pose and be in a position to identify the risk and deal with it effectively,” Rentokil’s Richard Faulkner added.
“After a storm or a flood, many rodents can be forced from their natural habitat and migrate into areas which provide food and shelter such as our houses, sheds, barns, businesses and other buildings. Floods also cause damage to property that may make it easier for rodents to gain access into our buildings. We are expecting the calls to our helpdesk to continue to rise,” Richard Faulkner concluded.
Dr Moore gives the following ‘Top 10 Tips’ to handle bacterial and rodent issues and other potential hazards that may arise after storms and floods:
1. When the water subsides remove all debris that provides protective cover for rodents from around houses and buildings.
2. Keep surrounding vegetation down at a low level to eliminate protective cover for rodents.
3. Remove any potential food source such as plastic rubbish bags, food spillages especially grain and waste fats, or other foods that might attract mice and rats.
4. Make sure you have sufficient and suitable bins for the amount of waste you generate.
5. Don’t leave excess bags on the ground beside your wheelie bin.
6. Carry out a rodent proofing check around your building. Look for openings into buildings around water pipes, electrical wires, vents, and doors. Gaps should be closed with suitable mesh, nylon bristle strips or sheet metal.
7. Snap traps can, if placed carefully, be effective in capturing one-off nuisance rats and mice.
8. If using toxic baits be careful what you use and where you bait to avoid poisoning non-target species.
9. To minimise the risk of infection and contamination carry out effective disinfection inside your homes when you know you have had furry visitors.
10. If dealing with an invasion you may need to call the experts to achieve ‘knockout’ and to implement safe, effective control and disinfection programmes.
Around the world, Rentokil is the leading provider of pest control and specialist hygiene services. The company protects homes and commercial premises from the damage, health risks and nuisance that pests cause. While flies, insects and rodents might be the first that come to mind, Rentokil technicians also provide specialist treatment against woodworm.