It’s fair to say that most of us enjoyed the ‘sunniest June in Dublin in 70 years’ and ‘the warmest July since records began’ (Met.ie).
But unfortunately so did our rodent friends and Rentokil is now warning households to be vigilant in protecting their homes from infestation ahead of winter.
Rodents breed more during warm weather and the abundant crop this year means there was more food available for rodents to thrive on. Rentokil predicts a spike in callouts as the first cold-snap hits, so now is the time to prepare homes and offices against infestation.
Dr Colm Moore, Area Technical Manager at Rentokil UK, Ireland and the Baltics, offers the following advice: “Rodents like warmth, quiet, and a source of food, follow these tips to avoid attracting rodents into your home:
· * * * Seal any holes and fit bristle strip around doors - young rats can get through holes of less than 1cm. Use steel, wool or caulk, not wood, plastic or expanding foam that they can gnaw through.
· * * * Don’t attract mice and rats with food – where possible store food in glass or metal containers and regularly clean under cookers, fridges and cupboards.
* Keep household refuse in closed bins and do not put meat or food cooked in oils into compost bins or heaps.
* Ensure that all pipe-work is in good order - rats can come up from sewers through broken pipes.
* Keep clutter to a minimum to reduce the options for nesting sites and remember that dirty, messy areas can attract pests.”
Mice can be dangerous to our health, having been identified as a potential asthma trigger in children and they will also contaminate food and other materials through the droppings they leave behind, spreading bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Rats pose a more significant health risk to humans and pets; common diseases carried by rats include Salmonella, Weil’s disease, E.coli and TB. Rats also carry fleas, mites and ticks and can cause acute allergic reactions.
If you think you already have a rodent problem, look out for the following signs:
* Scratching noises in walls, attics or under the floor as mice and rats scurry around.
* Droppings – rats leave dark, tapered droppings about 10-14mm long. Mice leave small, dark droppings particularly along walls, in cupboards or under sinks.
* Distinctive smell – both mice and rats leave an ammonia-like smell that will be particularly strong in enclosed areas such as under cupboards.
* Damage – mice and rats have teeth that grow continuously and gnaw on a variety of household objects to keep them trim. Rodents can even cause fires by chewing through cables.
* Ripped food packaging – rodents will tear open food which may leave teeth marks.
* Nests – rats and mice build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper and fabrics.
* Lay some plain flour along the edge of the floor by the walls or on surfaces close to where you think the nest might be. You’ll notice tracks in the powder within a few days if the nest is close.
Rentokil offers a free of charge, no obligation, call-out survey. Rentokil Pest Control technicians are experienced professionals with a thorough understanding of rodents habits and use this knowledge to get rid of mice and rats in the home effectively. Call Rentokil Pest Control on 1890 666 444 for more advice or to arrange a visit by a pest control technician.