Rodents are a major pest because of the disease they transmit and the damage they cause. 1 in 15 food premises are rat infested, higher still for mice. All rodents must gnaw regularly to keep their continually growing incisor teeth at a manageable length. They live in colonies of extended families and are capable of rapid reproduction. Rodents usually feed at night and consume up to 10% of their body weight daily. It is common to see them collecting food during the day.
Damage is caused by gnawing woodwork, pipes, wires and on an endless variety of stored commodities from paper to soap. Gnawed electrical wires cause power failures and fires. Burrowing often causes subsidence in roads, pavements and buildings. Contamination accounts for 15% of worldwide food loss annually. It may take the form of partially eaten materials, ripped packaging and spillage as well as the presence of urine, rodents hairs, droppings and smell.
Weils Disease or Leptospiral Jaundice is a rat borne disease. Bacteria causing it, live in the rat’s kidneys and are transferred in the urine. They pass into the new host through cuts or by swallowing infected water, and urine soaked materials. 60% of British rats carry the bacteria. Rat Bite Fever may be contracted if bitten by a rat. Brucellosis Salmonellosis (food poisoning) and plague are other examples. Salmonellosis bacteria can be transferred on the animals feet or in their droppings. Plague (Pasteurella bacteria) is normally transmitted by rodent parasites such as fleas, when they bite other animals, including man.
Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests it is an offence to knowingly harbour rodents in any premises and you can be prosecuted.