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Warmer winters are causing rat numbers to surge

New figures released by Rentokil Pest Control have found rodent enquiries across the UK increased 36 per cent this winter, when compared to the average number recorded for the same period (Nov – Jan) over the past three years (2016 – 2019).

Pest control experts have said that colder winters used to naturally cull rat numbers, but that milder weather patterns are allowing more rodents to survive the season. To compound this issue, prolonged, hotter summers are creating the perfect conditions for young mice and rats to survive the nest, feed and breed.

The gestation period for rats is just three weeks, and just 10 weeks after leaving the nest they become sexually mature, while the mother becomes receptive to mating again shortly after giving birth. Mice reach sexual maturity earlier than rats and produce larger litters at a more frequent rate. With more rodents surviving the nest it has created larger populations, which have continued to multiply.

According to Rentokil’s ‘Rise of the Rat’ report, two rats can become 482,508,800 rats after just three years in an ideal environment.

Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control commented:“Weather conditions can affect pest numbers, with Rentokil experts attributing unusually warm spells to increased populations. 2019’s summer was the hottest on record for the Northern Hemisphere, and the surge in rodent sightings this winter are a legacy of these conditions, as more young rodents survived through to adulthood and were then able to breed almost immediately.

“It’s only now that we’re starting to see the effects of the population increase, as rain and a drop in temperature cause rats and mice to migrate indoors, where there’s more food and shelter. With heavy rain falling across the country it’s likely we’ll continue to record a rise in rodent enquiries as rats are displaced from their burrows.

“However, there are steps businesses can take to ensure pests are kept at bay, with digital pest control increasingly important to rodent prevention. For example, Rentokil’s PestConnect is an innovative digital pest management system, providing 24/7 monitoring, rapid response and effective elimination of rodents. This connected and fully integrated pest control solution acts like a rodent burglar alarm, providing more insight into rodent activity than ever before.

“It’s essential to ensure rubbish is stored in a strong bin with a lid that is large enough to prevent waste from overflowing. Rodents and other pests can easily tear through black bin liners to get to unwanted food.”


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