Milder Winters Driving a Rise in Rats
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has issued guidance for facilities managers on tackling an increase in rat populations as warmer winters counterbalances the 'natural cull' effect of cold weather.
Rats represent a significant public health risk as they urinate wherever they go. They can spread diseases including Salmonella and Weil’s disease to humans through their urine or coming into contact with food preparation areas.
In the United Kingdom property owners have a legal obligation under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 to keep premises rodent free, or, if rodents pose a threat to health or property, to report infestations to their local authority.
Environmental Health Officers can also issue enforcement notices to business owners who do not have adequate pest management procedures in place. And businesses found to have a pest problem can also face fines with repeat offenders in danger of facing legal action.
Dee Ward-Thomas, Technical Manager with BPCA, says:
"The problems associated with rats are not just limited to public health. They can also cause structural damage.
"Rats have to gnaw in order to keep their teeth in shape, and they’re not shy about what they gnaw on. Common ‘gnaw-spots’ include the sheathing around electrical cables, which present a significant fire risk, and pipes, which is likely to result in leaks, both water and gas.
"Cinderblock, wood, glass, metal - rats’ teeth will take on pretty much any challenge, which is why they can cause untold damage to both homes and businesses."
Visit bpca.org.uk/rats to download the guidance and watch an accompanying video.
Information on BPCA member companies across the UK is available at bpca.org.uk/find.