The main reason is that rats survive by scavenging. Humans, of course, produce a lot of waste – and where there are humans, there is lots of waste for rats to scrounge a living off. Aside from domestic cats, rats are also largely free from natural predators in cities, which, combined with their ability to breed rapidly, means that population numbers can multiply at an alarming rate and become extremely difficult to contain.
Nonetheless, pest control action must be taken to control rat numbers. The presence of rats is a serious health risk to the public, for the rodents carry many diseases – including Weil’s disease, salmonella, tuberculosis, cryptosporidiosis, E. Coli, and foot and mouth disease – which can spread to humans through bites, scratches and food contamination.
The life expectancy of a wild brown rat is anywhere between one and three years – though a little over a year is usual in dense populations where competition for food is fierce. Rats reach sexual maturity after four-five weeks, at which point a female rat will typically start birthing six litters of between five and twelve rat pups a year. This means that a population of just two rats can swell to around 1,250 in twelve months, with the potential to grow exponentially from there.
So long as there is sufficient space and food, rat numbers can become overwhelming in a remarkably short period of time.
So, where are the hotspot breeding grounds for rats?
Wherever there’s food, there are rats. Restaurants, bars, shops and supermarkets, takeaway and fast food outlets – all store food and produce lots of food waste, meaning rats will never be far away.
Business owners need to remember that rats are opportunistic survivors. They will live anywhere, eat almost anything, and do whatever it takes to survive. They will quickly populate areas where there is a reliable source of food, which means areas around commercial food outlets will always be particularly attractive to rats.
Rats will build nests near these places – often in back alleys where foodstuffs are delivered and food waste is left out for collection. Expect there to be large numbers of rats in areas and streets where there are many food outlets in close proximity to one another.
Markets are another place where rats can quickly become a problem – particularly street food markets and food halls. The abundance of stored foodstuffs, food waste, crumbs, and often poorly-maintained refuse areas will attract an infestation of rats. As always, where there is a regular supply of food, there will be a regular supply of rats scrounging a living off of it.
The closed environment of sewers makes them particularly welcoming for rats. Water is in abundance, there are no predators, and they offer good shelter. Old sewers and drains which are in poor repair or not sealed off can provide good harbourage for rats – and if there is a good food supply in the vicinity, you can be almost certain there will be a rat breeding ground.
No matter what type of commercial business you run in a major city, rat infestations can quickly take hold and get out of control. Rats are indeed everywhere, causing major health and safety problems for business owners and homes. Only a robust and professional pest control programme can ensure meaningful and lasting protection from rats in any environment.
Armour Pest Control has the knowledge and expertise to tackle rat infestations at and around your business premises and home.