Last summer the UK experienced unusually high temperatures thus creating the perfect conditions for Rats and Mice to thrive which have led to an alarming increase in their numbers. It is estimated that there are over 200 million Rats living in the UK, which is approximately 3 Rats per human inhabitant.
With temperatures reaching 35 degrees plus in most parts of the UK, most of us spent a lot of time outdoors - especially in our gardens - enjoying picnics and barbeques galore thus creating a lot of food waste. To Rats and Mice, human waste is a veritable feast providing them with a constant food source. The combination of a constant food source and a hot summer ensured their strength in numbers with the life expectancy of fertile adult Rats and Mice increasing allowing them to breed at alarming rates! Now that winter is upon us, the cold weather slowly drives Rats and Mice indoors where they seek warmth, shelter, food and a place to nest from where to give birth to their young.
Even though the temperatures this winter were unseasonably high, a cold snap and the arrival of icy temperatures and snow, increases the speed at which Mice and Rats enter our homes and places of business hugely and literally over-night! Once inside our properties, not only do Mice and Rats cause a lot of damage, they are a huge health risk to you and your family.
Rats incisors are in terms of hardness, (5.5 on the Mohs scale making them harder than steel at 4-4.5), capable of chewing through copper, aluminium, lead and iron which leaves you and your family at risk to flooding, structural damage and worst of all fire! Rats easily chew through electrical and data cables and can leave you with thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Here are a few pictures I took in a loft at a house I was called to where a rather large Rat infestation was discovered:
Apart from the damage inflicted upon us by Rats and Mice, they are also known carriers of serious disease. House Mice may not be as scary to many as Rats are, but don’t be fooled by their cuteness. Mice also cause expensive damage to our properties and are also carriers of diseases which they spread through their droppings and urine passed easily to humans as they scurry across our kitchen work surfaces seeking out food whilst we sleep leaving behind them the dreaded Salmonella bacteria - a gastrointestinal disease-causing bacteria - which when contracted leads to what is more commonly known as ‘food poisoning.’
A more serious disease spread by Mice is Hantavirus which is a serious lung infection, sometimes fatal to humans. As such, Hantavirus remains a primary risk when a rodent infestation takes hold in our home or place of business.
Rats are also known to carry the Salmonella bacteria too, but they also carry diseases which give more cause for concern including; Weil’s Disease, Rat Bite Fever, and the Plague.