A Little More Conversation
Posted on 21st August 2020 at 07:00
Its not a secret but we’re good at discussing the finer points of life with friends and neighbour’s; things such as the holiday plans for this summer or the new car that’s parked in the drive, but there is one topic of conversation that is kept secret and that is –
“We’ve got a rat problem in the house”!
Are rats common in Reading?
Rats are common in towns like Reading and Wokingham, the old saying about you never being more than six feet from a rat is an exaggeration; probably coined by the same leading UK pest control company! Rats live in family groups where there is food, water, and shelter, they travel around a localised range in search of food. A steady supply of food means a smaller range and so the infestation is very localised which means that we will frequently encounter rats out foraging – the area is thought to be rat infested when in truth you’re seeing the same group of rats on a daily basis. Many people will never see a rat in their entire life because conditions are not right for the animals to thrive, in this situation rats are seen rarely and when they are its unusual.
The recent Covid-19 outbreak with the resulting change to our behavioural patterns; closure of offices, food outlets and entertainment venues for example has seen a major change in rat behaviour with the rodents leaving the town centres (where there used to be plenty of food) and moving into the suburbs where there is a smaller food supply and therefore requiring a greater range for the rats to explore.
This means that rat sightings have risen dramatically over the last few months and we have been kept busy dealing with rat infestations in people’s houses across much of Berkshire. When we talk to a new customer it’s not unusual that we discover that the property has had a cycle of rat problems on and off for several years. I believe this fact is down to two things – firstly, the sole use of rodenticide to control rats as a means of control along with our reluctance to discuss the problem; a problem shared is often a problem solved.
What kills a rat instantly?
The one absolute way to kill a rat instantly is with the use of break back traps, these physically catch the rat, killing it in the process. Many pest controllers resort to the use of poison or, rodenticide as we term it. Modern rodenticides are designed to give a lethal dose of poison to the rat from a single feed; the rat consumes just a small amount of the active ingredient which amounts to one or two grams and an irreversible process starts in the animal’s body. Death will incur after two or three days as the animals blood becomes thinner, pushing through the animals internal membranes filling the stomach and lungs.
Rodenticide results in a painless death for the rat but the main problem with using poison, is that no-one can know or guarantee where or when the animal will die. A dead rat that’s under the kitchen floor for example, will give off an incredibly noxious smell that attract blowflies to the body. These produce maggots to consume the carcass and then, more blowflies are produced when the maggots pupate – hundreds, even thousands of them if there are multiple bodies.
So, for many people who have lived through the experience of a dead rat rotting in the house, the trauma is enough so that they’ll never talk about it again, especially over the fence with the neighbour’s!
How do you get rid of rats in your house?
Rats by their very nature are associated with dirt and disease and it’s for good reason that the terms “filthy and verminous” are used by Environmental Health Officers when closing businesses that have not given due diligence to their hygiene standards. However, the knock on from this description is that we subconsciously apply those terms when describing OUR HOUSE if we were to talk about having a rat problem.
This is certainly untrue for many of our internal rat cases, houses can be large or small, dirty or clean and we will find rats inside. This is because rats will exploit any gap that we leave, whether it’s in the drains where there is a hidden broken pipe, or a hole left in the outside walls.
Rats are extremely nimble and will climb up ivy and other wall plants, they are capable of making long jumps across gaps to access the roof of a property as they have adapted a set of super skills to enable them to live off mankind. It is the practise of gathering food stuffs and storing these in large quantities that gives rats the edge, rather than live a life of foraging in open grassland like their ancestors did, rats will use us to supply all the food they need.
Because of the stigma and fear of judgement of having rats living inside our actual house, many people are reluctant to talk about the problem and carryon in isolation. They simply do not understand how common and widespread the real issue is, around 70% of our entire pest control work is in dealing with rat infestations, these are by far the most common pest that I know off in the Reading and Wokingham area.
Do rats go in and out of peoples houses?
When we carry out a visit to a property for the first time, we will look at the exterior of the structure and determine how far we have to survey – with a detached house its very simple, if its a semi-detached house, then we will have to look at the adjoining property. When it comes to terraced houses, we will try to find out where the build line separates; many terraces are a series of two or three properties joined in a long row.
With rat infestations we don’t just look at the house that we’re called out to, but the entire BUILDING in order to gain control of the rat problem.
The reason for this is simple, in that given our reluctance to discuss the problem, we often find out that the neighbours has been dealing with rats for many years. They will have been trapped in a cycle of using rodenticide to gain temporary control and living with the horrible stench and clouds of blowflies until the next cycle.
Our aim is to look for the access point, once we know where that is, it’s all straightforward from then on, as we will trap and seal leaving you rat free for good.
All buildings will share voids and sometimes even drainage systems and any of these can be used by rats once they find a way to get into that void, in many cases we find its just a simple fault or something overlooked by a builder has led to years of misery for the occupants and mainly, because the problem was never discussed with others.
They say it’s good to talk, and I think that it is, if you have a problem with rats mention this to your neighbours and friends and see what stories you get back from them – you may be shocked at how widespread the problem is. If you want to know more about about pest control services for rats - follow this link to our rat page.
When we are out working at someone’s house I always use a code word for rats – I call them Elvis. Why Elvis? Because they’ll be caught in a trap – it’s the way I tell ‘em.
Tagged as: Rats
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