As a pest control expert, my feelings on rats are mixed, they are destructive, the assist in the spreading of human pathogens (see table below), they cause food spoilage, and they cause damage to property, food and water supplies.
For example if rats eat 5% of an amount of wheat, its possible for up to 70% of the wheat to be destroyed.If you are an urban dweller you are less likely to have a rat infestation, in rural areas the infestation rates are about double i.e. thats less than 4% in urban and almost 8% in rural areas.
The main cuplrit for us in Ireland is the Norway (brown) rat (not always brown and not from Norway !!) which lives in all kinds of places such as sewers, drains, refuse tips, waterways. What doo you think of the photo I took last week ? Comments welcome !!
But there are also rumours of the return of the black rat .... I'd like to see pictures if this is the case as its a while since any have been spotted in Ireland.
Prevention is better than cure and I have given tips on how to keep them at bay in a previous blog.
But rats do provide me with employment, and with the weather turning really cold this last week, we may be on for an influx off rodents into our homes. Stay vigilant and if you see any rats or mice, call us on 01 230 3580.
|Table 1: Diseases transmitted from Norway rats to man
|Parasite||Disease of Man||% rats carrying disease|
|Hymenolepis nana||Rat tapeworm||11|
|Coxiella burnetii (antibodies)||Q Fever||34|
|Adapted from J.P.Webster and D.W.Macdonald (1995), Parasites of wild brown rats, Rattus norvegicus. Parasitology 109: 37-43.|