Rats are some of the most serious rodent pests in the world. They can carry life threatening diseases such as the Plague, Leptospirosis (Weils Disease), Salmonellosis, Rat Bite Fever, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis and Murine typhus. They also carry parasites including Ring Worm, Mites, Nematodes, Tapeworms, Ticks and Fleas. They also have the potential to damage growing crops and stored food on a huge scale.
Not only do they consume food but rats are also responsible for much of the filth, droppings, hairs and urine, found in food stuff. This contamination is often difficult to remove and leads to the rejection of food for human consumption. Rats and mice often destroy much more than they consume because of their wasteful habit of discarding partially eaten food.
They also cause structural damage by gnawing and burrowing. In particular they undermine foundations and destroy the fabric of the building. Structural drain sewers can be damaged by burrowing between joints in the surrounding earth and behind brick sewers. Sometimes this causes or contributes to the collapse of roads and pavements. Almost any commodity is susceptible to gnawing. Lead pipes and even metal sheathed cables can be gnawed through. Rats frequently attack electrical wiring, resulting in electrical failures and fires. The presence of rodents in buildings is highly undesirable.
The rat most commonly found in Britain is the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus). The Black Rat (Rattus rattus) is only likely to found in or near Ports.
Treatment will involve assessing the extent of the problem, laying baits or traps as necessary, checking the uptake of bait regularly and removing material at the end of the treatment. Treatment is free to domestic householders but there is a charge to commercial and industrial premises. The treatment is carried out using an approved rodenticide.
Further information on the rodenticide is available on request.
The use of rodenticide is carefully controlled by the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.
The Pest Control Officer is fully trained and all necessary measures are taken to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Etc, Act 1974 and Regulations thereunder.
Instructions will be given at the time of application in relation to the safety of the householder and pets.
In some cases more than one application is necessary to ensure control.
It should be noted on some occasions after treatment a smell may be noticeable from the decomposition of the rats bodies. Where possible bodies will be removed. If this is not possible the Pest Control Officer may be able to provide material to deodorise the premises for the short space of time, normally up to a week, when the smell is at its worst. Decomposition of the body is only a temporary matter and the smell soon disappears.
A charge may be made for your pest control treatment.
The ability of rats to burrow, climb and jump combined with their natural intelligence makes them very difficult to control. It is not normally possible to deal with an infestation without professional help. The Pest Control Officer is equipped with a range of poison baits and traps which provide a variety of treatments.
The most important aspect of control is prevention. Keep all properties in good condition and repair all holes at ground level, make sure external doors fit well and if necessary fit metal panels at the base.
Storing food properly and good house-keeping within premises will discourage rats and ensure any infestation is more easily identified and controlled.
Advice on rodent proofing is available on the same basis as treatment.
A pair of rats have the potential to produce thousands of off-spring in one year. Conditions which suit a rapid population increase are even temperatures, surplus food, adequate water and undisturbed cover for rearing young and escaping from enemies. Under these conditions rats and mice may breed throughout the year. In less favourable conditions rats usually breed in the summer and autumn, becoming sexually mature within twelve weeks of birth. On average they may have four to six litters a year with an average litter of six to eleven rats.
Rats do leave signs of their activity, which help to signal their presence, indicate the size of an infestation and help identify the species. Indications of their presence include sighting, smell, droppings which are on average 12mm long and described as spindle shaped (tapered to a point at one or both ends). Fresh droppings appear soft and shiny but within a few days depending on climatic conditions become hard and dull.
Rats also tend to follow the same route when travelling. These characteristic pathways or trails are likely to be near or under cover. Outdoors the runs of rats can appear as continuous depressions in grass or other low vegetation or eventually as well worn path ways of bare trampled earth. Runs indoors are most easily discovered along regular routes through dusty places when the surfaces will tend to have a clean and shiny appearance. Other signs of infestation include footprints, tail swipes, smears and evidence of burrowing and nests.
Unfortunately, often the first clear evidence of rodents is the discovery of partially eaten, spilled or hoarded food, damaged packaging material and other signs of recent gnawing.
Note: The information on these page is primarily for the residents of Clackmannanshire.
For enquiries out with Clackmannanshire Council's area you are recommended to contact your local Environmental Health Department or a private pest control contractor.