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Brown Rats

The Common, Brown or Norway Rat is also known as the sewer rat, 


Appearance

The Brown Rat is the larger of the species in the UK, often weighing over half a kilo and measuring about 23cm, without counting the tail. It has a blunt muzzle, small hair-covered ears and a tail that is shorter than its body. Colour varies from brown to black but this species is distinguished from the true Black Rat by its larger size, and its tail being shorter than its body length.

Characteristics

Brown Rats have well-developed senses of smell taste and touch. They have an acute sense of hearing, frequently using ultrasound to communicate, and are particularly sensitive to any sudden noise. Both species breed rapidly and become sexually mature in about three months. Each female may produce from 3 to 12 litters of between six and eight young in a year. Rats need to gnaw to keep their constantly growing incisor teeth worn down. They damage woodwork,plastic, bricks and lead pipes, and will strip insulation from electrical cables.

Diet

Brown Rats feed mostly at night and an average rat will eat 50g of food a day. Preferred foods are cereal products, although rats are omnivorous and will eat almost anything that humans eat.


Habitat

Brown Rats live in any situation that provides food, water and shelter. In homes, they will live in roof spaces, wall cavities or under floorboards. In gardens, they will burrow into grassy banks or under sheds. Brown Rats are also often found living in sewer systems and can invade a property when the sewers are in a state of disrepair.

Why control Brown Rats?

Brown Rats carry many nasty diseases which they can spread to humans, normally through their urine. including; Leptospirosis or Weil's disease, Salmonella and Listeria

Brown Rats can inflict a great amount of structural damage. They can cause serious fires by gnawing away the insulation around electrical cables, floods by puncturing pipes and even death by chewing through gas pipes. Brown Rats can ruin an organisation's reputation. If clients and customers spot evidence of rodent infestation in the premises you manage, they are unlikely to want to do business with you.

How to prevent Brown Rats?


You can put steps in place to try and prevent a Brown Rat infestation:

  • Eliminate any harbourage points such as sealing gaps around pipes and under sheds; rats only need a gap of 15mm to gain entry.

  • Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy, by cutting back overgrown areas and clearing any piles of wood/debris.

  • Ensure that drain inspection covers are in a good state of repair.

  • Cover any household waste where Brown Rats can get access to it, close dustbin lids and cover compost heaps.

  • If you feed garden birds, do not do this to excess and use a bird table or feeder basket if possible.

How to get rid of Brown Rats:

Brown Rats are adaptable, highly mobile and breed rapidly, this combination can make rat control a difficult task for the untrained individual. For any Brown Rat infestation, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest control company. They are trained in rat control and will have access to a range of professional use rodenticides which are not available to the public.

However, if you decide to carry out the work yourself then you can buy amateur use poisons and traps from a hardware store or garden centre. Most rats are wary of new objects such as traps or poisons placed in their environment and will avoid them for a period of time prior to exploring them, so don't expect an instant success. When placing poison or traps, make sure they are in a safe and secure place out of reach of children and pets.

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Fleas

The most common species of Flea is the Cat Flea, known for readily biting humans. The Bird Flea are next in importance, followed by the rare Dog Fleas, although other species may become temporarily attached to dogs. Finally, there are Human Fleas which are extremely rare.


Appearance

Adult fleas are small (averages 2mm in size) wingless insects, with flattened and red-brown, with backwardly directed spines and legs designed for jumping.

Characteristics

All adult Fleas are parasitic, living on warm-blooded animals. The females lay their eggs after feeding on the infested animal. Female Fleas can live up to two years, during which time they can lay up to 1000 eggs. The eggs drop onto the floor and the animal's bedding - they can't lay viable eggs in the absence of the host animal blood meal. After several days the eggs will develop into larvae. When fully grown the larvae spin well camouflaged silken cocoons. When fully developed the adult waits within this until it detects the vibrations caused by a potential host. Only then does it emerge. The complete life cycle takes about a month in the summer.

Habitat

Mainly active in communal rooms where pets sleep and where there is most activity. Fleas are found to be living on domestic animals, in carpets, pet bedding and upholstered furniture.

Diet

Adult Fleas feed on the blood of humans and animals. The larval stages live in the nest of the host and feed on skin, feathers and, most importantly, the blood-rich faeces of the adult flea.


Why control Fleas?

Flea bites can cause intense irritation around the central bright red spot. Different people react differently to a bite, both regarding the degree of reaction and time taken to react.

Signs of a Flea infestation

Pets constantly scratching may be the first sign, which can be confirmed either by seeing fleas or flea droppings in the coat of your pet. These signs are easily spotted in light coloured animals by brushing back the hair. In dark coated breeds it may be better to comb the animal over a sheet of paper to highlight any flea droppings as they fall. The identity of the black specks may be confirmed by adding a few drops of water if they turn red, your pet has fleas.

You might spot bites on you or family members, usually around ankles and legs. In humans, flea bites can produce an irritating and allergic reaction. The typical symptom of a flea bite is a small red spot about 5mm in diameter.

If you have an active infestation, you may see Fleas jumping in your carpet and furniture.

How do I prevent a Fleas?

It's difficult to prevent your pets from getting Fleas. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting them:

  • Pet maintenance - Applying veterinary approved Flea products to your pet on a regular basis.

  • Vacuuming - Frequently vacuum the areas your pet is around, especially carpeted areas in and any furniture that is frequented by your pet.

  • Washing - Regularly wash your pet's bedding, blanket and other washable items in the hottest water possible.

  • Gardening - Try and keep your garden neat and tidy by mowing your lawn and raking up any leaves, grass or bush clippings.

How to get rid of Fleas

For a Flea infestation, we strongly recommend you contact a professional pest control company. A trained professional will have the technical knowledge and access to a range of professional use insecticides which are not available to the public.

Before an insecticide treatment, clear as much floor space as possible to ensure that treatment is as thorough as possible. Vacuuming all areas helps to remove any debris, eggs, larvae and adult fleas. The vibration of the vacuum cleaner also stimulates adults to hatch from their cocoon stage. Remember to remove the waste collection compartment/bag, from the vacuum cleaner, and dispose of it in an outside bin as you may have collected eggs, larvae and adult fleas while vacuuming.