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Warning of rat plague following budget cuts

Due to a damp and mild winter and plentiful supplies of natural food, experts are warning that there could be a plague of ‘super-rats’, as councils have been forced to slash pest control budgets. It is feared that rats could outnumber humans by more than 3 to 1 by the end of 2016 if something isn’t done quickly to tackle the country’s growing problem.

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In 2016, spending by England’s 200 local authorities on areas such as pest control are down on average by 40%, since 2010. This has been compounded by a 20% cut to the budget being spent on street cleaning. Whilst previously, members of the public have been able to call out pest control officers from their local council and benefit from free assessments and subsided charges, typically this is no longer the case.

This decline in the number of pest control services offered by some councils has led to an increase in DIY pest control methods by business owners and householders. This can be both dangerous and ineffective.

One of the biggest problems with DIY pest control is the unrestricted use of products once in possession of an untrained person, which can result in harm to themselves, pets, neighbours and other non-target species. Qualified pest controllers fear that people using DIY methods do not fully understand the consequences of using anticoagulant rodenticides further down the food chain.

Huddersfield University has carried out genetic testing research and discovered that the so called ‘super-rats’, can develop immunity to conventional poisons and their active ingredients and unprofessional use of over-the-counter poison is contributing to this resistance.

Counties, including Kent, were found to have rats that have developed this immunity. These ‘super-rats’ can also carry bacteria that is able to be passed on to humans causing dangerous diseases such as Weil’s, which can lead to jaundice and kidney failure.

People often don’t realise that many pests are a symptom of a particular environment. For example, rats may only become a problem in areas where fly-tipping is prevalent or where there is a fault in the drainage. Many in government called for the abolition of bin taxes, as they believe it would lead to an increase in incidents of fly-tipping. They also support weekly bin collections in most parts of the UK in an attempt to tackle proactively and the rising pest problems.  In stark contrast though, one council in Wales suggested monthly bin collections to reduce spending. It has been said that this council isn’t a friend of the Earth; they are friend of the rats.

Knee-jerk reactions rarely solve the problem in the long run. A proactive approach is required for a long-term solution and a professional pest control company is the place to begin.

Do you have a rat infestation in your business premises or home? Contact Safeguard here or telephone 0800 328 4931

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