Health authorities have now reported a significant increase in rodent issues during the pandemic. The HSE noticed an increase of 25% in rodent complaints in 2020 compared to 2019, with a total of 5831 cases. South Dublin County Council announced a 31% increase with a total of 657 reports.
One of our directors spoke with the Irish Times who reported on the rodent activity around Dublin.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began there has been an increase of rats returning to the streets and even homes in Dublin. The warm weather & illegal dumping playing a part along with closures of restaurants and other businesses. Closed premises are a perfect breeding ground for rodents as they are undisturbed by predators and humans, leaving businesses under serious threat of infestation.
The reason for an increase in rodent sightings
Rodents will have to travel further than usual in search of food due to less food waste available for them, forcing them to venture beyond their normal environment and become more obvious. Dublin is the most rodent-infested county in the entire country with reports of rodents in homes and gardens across central Dublin all the way across to the suburbs, even eating through rodent bait stations.
A combination of increased levels of domestic waste in Dublin, a warm summer & a drop in temperatures later in the year play a big part in the rise of rodent activity.
Once active, rodents can cause structural damage to businesses and homes. They have a set of incisors that grows throughout their entire life, so it is their natural behaviour to chew or gnaw through electrical wiring, concrete, plastic & much more.
Rodent diseases & Access through drainage systems
Rats carry very serious diseases which can affect humans through their urine & faeces. One of many diseases they carry is Weill’s disease which can be fatal to humans. Rats can enter your property several ways, but one of them is through the drainage system, they have a flexible vertebrae and rib cages that helps them squeeze into tight spaces.
Drains provide the perfect environment for rats as they need food and water every day, so the drainage system is a great place for them to live and increase exponentially. Soon we will be coming into the winter and the days will be getting colder & our furry friends will be looking for ways to get into your home. A rat can squeeze through a 12mm hole & a mouse on the other hand can squeeze through a 6mm hole the same size as a pen. Rodents can gain entry through many ways: air vents, open doors/windows, toilets, soul pipes & more.
Proofing tips to help keep rodents away
Some tips for keeping rodents away are:
- Keeping areas free of debris. Less clutter means fewer places to hide.
- Cleaning up pet food & debris from bird feeders.
- To prevent rodents from having access to food in our homes/businesses you should store foods in a sealed glass or metal container.
Rodents enter our homes on the hunt for three things: shelter, food and water, making it the perfect place for them to breed. Your aim is to make it difficult for them to achieve these ideals conditions.
How to know if you have rodents?
Once a rodent enters the cavity of the wall, it can reach any part of the house. A single mouse can leave between 40-60 droppings per day. A rat can leave between 40-50 pellets per day, so look out for droppings.
The gestation period for mice is 21 days with up to 16 young per litter. Mice can do this 7/8 times per year. A rat’s gestation period is also 21 days but with a litter size of 7/8 and can have 3/6 litters per year. If you do not eradicate an infestation in the early stages, it may become difficult to get rid of rodents.
Rats are neophobic which means they have a fear of new objects. This is why treatments take time & it is important to act quickly once evidence is noted. Mice on the other hand are curious and will explore their surroundings, which makes them easier to catch.
Removing the essentials for rodents
Rats are unable to live without food, water and shelter so removing these from around your home or business could be the difference between having an infestation and being rodent free.
Mice are more dependent on food than water as they can get the water directly from the foods they eat.
Get help from the professionals
When you see evidence of rodent activity in your home or business the most effective way of eliminating them quickly and efficiently is to call the professionals. Pest experts understand quickly how the rodent has gained access, treat the infestation efficiently & achieve better results in the long term than working on your own. Rats are very dangerous and its not worth taking a chance when dealing with them.