Its widely acknowledged that the rat population is on the increase due to several factors including the climate, their increasing resistance to poisons and the fact that many water companies and local authorities have cut back on sewer baiting contracts.
The cases of rat activity within properties is also on the increase as our adventurous fury friends find long established defective or poorly installed drainage systems that give them direct access beneath or adjacent to house floors and foundations.
Clearly the first phone call any hapless home owner will make after seeing evidence of rat activity or on hearing scratching noises in the walls or ceiling will be to a pest control contractor, and rightly so but how many pest control contractors are delivering a satisfactory service.
Any pest control contractor worthy of the title will look around the property for any obvious signs of access prior to laying bait or rat traps, if there are no signs of external entry and the rat ingress continues over several weeks or months surely pest control contractors should be steering the property owner towards a drain camera inspection.
It is estimated that 90% of rat ingress to properties is due to defective drainage systems yet we are contacted at www.draindomain.com on a weekly basis by people who have suffered months if not years of rat problems but have never been advised to have the drains inspected.
There are certainly many pest control contractors who work with drainage companies in order to resolve a rat ingress problem as quickly as possible for the home owner, sadly though there are just as many who are happy to return to a property month after month rather than take the investigations to the next level.
Rather worryingly there was a recent post on Twitter by probably the UKs biggest pest control company giving their top ten tips to prevent rat ingress to properties, there was not one mention of a defective drainage system or a drain camera inspection in the entire article.
Read more here on rat ingress to properties and how to prevent or cure it
If ever there was an argument for councils cutting free pest control for the masses then surely the BBCs Panorama programme on Monday 6th August Rats, Traps, Bugs and Cutbacks was it.
Firstly we had a Southwark Council employed pest controller making numerous visits to put poison down in a rat infested bin store just yards from a defective drain, the rats were shown coming and going at their own leisure from the said drain at ground level, was I the only one shouting `fix the bloody drain` at the TV.
Then we had a lady who lets her rabbit run around the garden dragging straw, hay and no doubt rabbit food with it complaining about rats invading her garden at night and finally a guy keeping chickens or some kind of fowl in a pen at the bottom of the garden getting subsidised pest control visits due to rat problems.
Instead of throwing millions of pounds away on rat baiting how about some basic education on the kind of habits that are likely to attract rats into your home and garden, if people persist in throwing scraps of food on the ground, letting bins overflow or scattering bird seed around then they should be liable for any pest control required and not the tax payers in general.
How about we maintain and repair our drainage and sewer systems so that the majority of rats are contained within the networks and where the available food source will determine the size of the rat population, and where incidentally it would be easier to bait and control them.
RATS are being forced above ground into homes and restaurants as city sewers fill up with rainwater.
Pest controllers in Brighton and Hove have reported an increase in calls about the rodents over the last few months, which have been some of the wettest on record.
Experts say the lack of a harsh winter in recent years had helped the rodent population to soar.
And the heavy downpours that have led to flooding in recent months have sent rats scurrying for higher ground – and into people’s homes.
One local Pest Control contractor said he was receiving around five calls a week about rats, almost twice as many as last year.
He said: “The rain hasn’t dampened the rodent’s spirits. They’re thriving.
“The fact that we have had no harsh winters recently is a contributing factor as there is no death rate in these rats and they can reproduce quickly and recent heavy rainfall had filled sewers up, pushing the rats out of drains and into buildings in search of food.
He said: “Compared to last year I’ve seen an increase in the amount of Rodenticide I have had to buy. I have been through one 20kg sack in a month and that is a lot for me.
A Brighton and Hove council spokeswoman said: “We have not seen a significant rise in requests for treatment this year.
“We do not believe the recent humid weather has lead to an increase of rat sightings, however, extreme wet weather conditions can lead to overflow from storm drains, causing rats to be displaced, but this is quite unusual.“