Most people would get put off when they see a rat in their vicinity. Rats are some of the most troublesome and damaging rodents in many countries, including Singapore. They’re not just pests; they cause harm by eating and contaminating our foods, damaging buildings and property, and transmitting disease to both people and animals. Furthermore, rats live and thrive across a broad range of environments and conditions and are commonly seen in and around houses and buildings, in parks and gardens, and even out in the wilds.
So, how can we get rid of them and protect ourselves and our environment? In this post we will cover just that. Read on….
Why are Rats Dangerous
Rats communicate and mark out their territories through urine marking. This presents a serious public health concern. Rats carry many dangerous diseases, which can be transmitted to people through its urine or body contaminating food preparation areas. They also cause damage to property.
Pathogens and Diseases
Rats are carriers of pathogens which causes allergies and spreads diseases. Some common disease spread by these vectors are as follows:
- Leptospirosis (often referred to as Weil’s disease)
- Toxoplasma gondii
Damage to property
Rats chew constantly to wear down their ever-growing front teeth. This incessant chewing can damage or destroy insulation, wooden structures, stored items, and anything else they can find. They are even known to chew on electrical wiring or water pipes which, if undetected, can result in short circuit or fire and water pipe damage.
Signs of Rodent Infestations
The presence of rats is often indicated by the following signs:
- Droppings – These droppings are usually dark brown or blackish in colour with an oily sheen. The droppings may appear dry and crumbly or wet and sticky. When you see them, you’ll know there’s a problem.
- Urine – Rat urine has a strong ammonia smell. You can tell whether or not there’s a problem by looking for urine stains on walls, floors, furniture, or other surfaces. If there are no visible signs of urine, then you should take action immediately.
- Chewed wires – Rats will gnaw on any wire that gets close to their territory. If you notice that wires have been chewed, then you may have a rat infestation.
How to Get Rid Of Rats
There are several ways to get rid of rats. Here are some tips to help you kill rats without harming yourself or others:
- Poison bait – bait stations are available at pet stores, hardware stores, and online retailers. Take note to use poison baits safe for humans.
- Trap/snare – traps and snares work well against small rodents such as mice and smaller rats. However, traps and snares are ineffective against larger rats.
- Poison Sprays – poison sprays and liquids are effective against rats. Be sure to read the label before using this method.
- Professional Pest Control – when the infestation goes out of control its best to let the professionals handle the matter.
Prevent and Deter Rats
There isn’t one single best method for killing rodents or one best rodent repellent out there. Rats are intelligent creatures and it is up to us to change our habits and lifestyle to deter rats from infesting our property. Some useful rat preventive tips are listed below:
- Declutter your space. Remove items that rats can use as hiding places. Keep in mind to practice good housekeeping and facility maintenance.
- Remove food sources. Make sure you clean up after cookouts. Store unused food supplies in containers with tight fitting lids.
- Don’t leave uneaten pet food outside. Always cover the garbage bin and dispose trash regularly.
- Inspect the building foundation for gaps, cracks and holes. Apply proofing to seal up possible entries for rats.
- Remove water sources. Rats can live a long time without food but they need water to survive. Fill in low-lying areas so water does not pool. Fix leaky hoses or spigots. Don’t leave pet water outside.
Surveillance of Vectors
In Singapore, NEA monitors vector populations and the emergence of vector-borne diseases via surveillance programmes. Such programmes give a better understanding of transmission trends to implement preventive and control measures in order to minimize the impact of disease outbreaks.
Ongoing public education campaigns are an effective way to help support efforts to keep the incidence of vector-borne diseases and their adverse effects low.
According to this NEA resource, regular inspections at residential and commercial premises are conducted as a pre-emptive approach. While inspecting, breeding habitats are removed, preventing the transmission of diseases.
While it is impossible to completely get rid of rodents, there are ways to prevent infestations of these disease carrying pests, as mentioned above. Rats not only carry diseases, they also cause damage to property and should be dealt with immediately. Unlike other pests like cockroaches and flies, rats can be quite intimidating to get rid of by oneself. In that case, it is best to get professional pest control to tackle the problem.