Thursday 27 October 2016

Ireland faces ‘plague of super rats over the winter months’

Published 25/11/2015 | 08:26

Ireland could be facing a plague of super rats
Ireland could be facing a plague of super rats

Ireland could be facing a plague of super rats over the winter months as rodents become immune to traditional poisons, a leading pest control expert has warned.

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Call outs for pest control have doubled in the last year, and according to one expert, we could be facing of 'super rats' unless  steps are taken.

Pest control expert Trevor Hayden of Compete Pest Control, said that milder winters and wetter summers are to blame for rats coming in-doors earlier and staying all year round. Callouts have “at least doubled” in the last year, he says.

Rats are becoming bigger and hungrier, according to Mr Hayden. 

“They are definitely getting bigger – not just here but across Europe. Studies are being conduct in England where the rats tails are being snipped off and they are being analysed and we are getting a better idea of them.  But we are definitely seeing a resistance to certain types of poisons. What would have killed them in the past is no longer doing it,” Mr Hayden warns.

“Traditionally our peak time to deal with rats would be in October as the temperatures drop and they come inside for the winter months,” he told “However, winters have been so mild and summers so wet in the last couple of years  that we have noticed it has become a year round problem.”

Rodents are also becoming more resistant to over-the-counter poisons in recent times.

“Rats are constantly evolving and we have seen a build-up across Europe from rats to over-the-counter remedies like pellets. In some cases, rats are even eating the pellets."

So treating the infestation with the correct amount of poison is utterly essential.

“The crucial element in treating a pest problem is to correctly identify the pest species and develop a course of treatment. There has to be the exact amount of poison used in order to neutralise the threat.

Rats are also dominating call-outs in the last year.

“There has been a huge upsurge in rat call-outs over the last year or so. Before, it would have been split 50/50 when it came to rodents. Now rats are far more common.”

Another problem he warns about are drains which may not have been capped off properly after renovation or extension work.

“We are seeing people who have gotten extensions done to their homes may be at risk. In some cases, if say, a toilet has been moved, the old route to the sewer may not have been capped off properly. That's like a motorway for rats. That needs to be closed off”

Mr Hayden is part of a new initiative the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use in Ireland (CRRU) is highlighting the issue of the genetic mutation of rats as well as highlighting how to use poisons correctly.

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