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FACT SHEET - Rats
(Rattusnorvegicus)

Rats are quite common in both rural and urban areas and apart from the damage they cause they are also carriers of serious diseases.A rat colony can start with one individual pregnant rat moving into a new area and unless there are obvious signs of damage such as torn packages or droppings, the infestation may not be noticed in the early stages. Except when there are a lot of rats, or food is scarce, they will generally only come out at night and daylight sightings are unlikely. Pregnancy lasts about 21 days and a single female on average produces a litter of about 6 - 8 young. These can feed themselves after 3 weeks and reproduce when about 8 - 12 weeks old. Mortality of the young is high, but even so a rat infestation can grow very quickly.

As the number of rats increases, rat presence and damage become obvious. Signs of an infestation may be one or many of the following;

Rat Control

As a rule, rat traps and cats will only remove some rats without eradicating the infestation and rats are resistant to many of the older poisons on sale to the general public. By the time an ineffective treatment has failed, the time and money wasted could have been spent using a trained professional to carry out the treatment. In addition it may not be rats that are causing the problem; other species can be mistaken for rats, particularly in outdoor locations where the only evidence is holes and runs. Many species of wildlife such as voles are fully protected by law and poisoning is an offence: Therefore assessment of your infestation by a trained professional is a wise investment.

RatsControlling rats starts with a thorough survey to check the size and nature of the problem; if required, poison will then be laid in the most suitable locations. A pest control technician can choose the more effective professional poisons and can vary the way the bait is laid to take advantage of the rat's natural habits. Professional pest controllers also have access to purpose made poison bait boxes, to ensure poison is laid safely and in accordance with the law. Rats should start to die within a week and if the infestation is a small one, control will be fairly quick. In a larger infestation, it may take a while until the more timid rats are able to feed freely and eat enough bait to be killed. Most of the poisons used will require rats to feed for several days; this makes them safer to use around houses. One dose does not kill, but it is important that the rats should have little other food than the poison bait. The pest control technician will explain how you can help by removing other sources of food.

As the poison takes a while to have effect, most rats will move outdoors and die underground and out of sight. If a rat should die under the floor or behind fitted furniture,it may not be accessible. If this does occur then there may be an unpleasant smell, however where safe and practical to do so attempt to remove the body, but if this cannot be done without damage to your house, the smell will go away in about a week, and during this time it can be masked with an air freshener. A pest technician will ensure that all baits are laid safely, but you must play your part in the control treatment and ensure that children and or pets are not allowed access to baited areas.

Dogs in particular are very susceptible to poisoning by rodenticides.

For any treatment to be effective there are certain actions you the householder needs to
take before and after any treatment provided, all responsible companies will advise you what
you must do.


SDK (Environmental) Ltd trading as Dial A Pest, Acorn House, Aspen Way TQ4 7QR.
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