Be proactive to reduce Chance of Infestation
Weighing in at around 400g, this mammal ranges over an area of up to 3km from its home and can jump more than two feet vertically, or leap four feet horizontally.
It can swim at a speed of 1.5km per hour and stay afloat for 72 hours without drowning. It can climb telephone wires, vertical walls and squeeze through a gap of less than 25mm. This is an athletic, clever and adaptable mammal. This is the brown rat.
With lower grain prices in 2013, more grain will be stored on farms this autumn. Tillage farmers are storing their crop in the hope that prices will rise in the weeks and months ahead, while more livestock farmers have bought grain to replace scarce forage supplies following the spring fodder crisis.
As the preferred diet of rodents such as the brown rat and house mice, these cereals are at risk of being plundered in the stores. While the economic losses from rodent damage may be small, the health threat from these pests is far more significant.
Mice can contaminate feed and other materials through the droppings they leave behind, spreading bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Their larger cousin, the rat, poses an even bigger health risk to humans and pets.
Common diseases carried by rats include Salmonella, Weil's disease, E.coli and Tuberculosis. Rats also carry fleas, mites and ticks and can cause acute allergic reactions.
Dr Colm Moore, technical manager with pest control firm Rentokil, said farmers need to stop rats and mice getting into stores if at all possible.