Rats and mice are rodents that give rise to the most common and serious pest problems in Malaysia. Their numbers has significantly increased during the past few years due to poor public sanitation and the abundance of their primary diet which mainly consists of disposed food found in trash of homes, restaurant, shopping centres and even hospitals.
Biology of Rats
Rats need water and moisture to survive their daily activities. They gnaw on materials such as wire cable which can lead to electrical interference and fire outbreak.
Species of rats include the house rats (R. rattus diardii) which are more aggressive than Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) because they can run and climb faster.
On the other hand, shrews (Suncus murinus) are another type of rodents which consume plants, earthworms and insects such as cockroaches. They have a pungent smell which can be unbearable to humans. Rats usually do not climb, they mostly crawling against the edge of walls or around open areas. They are very aggressive and can make chirping sounds as a way to intimidate predators or other intruder rats. They also use their sounds and the echo they produce to help them navigate through sewage and pipes where light is nearly absent, an ability they evolved due their weak eye sight.
Rats and mice have almost similar life cycle. Sexually matured female attract males using their scent that triggers mating activity. Normally, after 20-23 days the females give birth to blind and furless babies. After 7-10 days, the babies will open their eyes and the fur will start to grow while still attached to their mother for breastfeeding for about 20 days. These rats and mice will be sexually matured after 2 or 3 months. On an average, females are able to give birth up 7 times in a year.
Rats and mice can damage households by gnawing and contaminating foods thus cause diseases to humans. They can be carriers for several pathogenic such as virus, bacteria, and rickettsia.
|DISEASE||PATHOGEN||HOW IT SPREAD|
|Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome||virus||Exposed to infected rodents’ urines|
|Lymphocytic chriomenigitis||virus||Exposed to infected rodents’ urines|
|Plague||bacteria||Bites from infected fleas or infected animals|
|Salmonellosis||bacteria||Eating fecal contaminated foods|
Signs of infestation
Rats and mice can be detected by the presence of their droppings and urines, gnawed objects and track-ways signs. Their track-ways can be identified by the markings of their body’s oil and dirt by rubbing activities when marking their territories. At times, rats and mice can be sighted when they crawl around searching for food.
To get rid of rats and mice, we need to know their point of access, their nesting areas as well as their sources of foods and water. Inspect all areas around the house to identify their point of access using a torch light in a darker place.
- Physical ControlAll holes and cracks on walls and ceilings should be sealed up to prevent the entry of rats. Door gaps and windows should be closed by using door-seals or door-sweeps. All air ventilations systems in the bathroom and kitchen should be covered with mesh screens that makes it inaccessible for any rats or mice.Besides using the physical barriers as control, sticky boards may be used as live traps. Trapping will be more effective if the traps are placed along the edges of walls, near holes or cracks in the ceiling or near their droppings and urines. Sticky traps should be fastened to a base to prevent the trapped rats from dragging the traps away. When using live traps, always put food baits such as dried anchovies as attractants.The control of rats and mice can be made by proper sanitation. Consumable foods must be kept in closed containers. Garbage and food wastes must be properly disposed in thick sealed plastic bags. Strive to maintain good hygiene and sanitation by washing up all kitchen utensils right after use. Mopping with detergents and clearing all garbage daily will deny them of food.
- Chemical controlEliminating rats and rodents can be done by using rodenticide which acts as baits. The baits should be kept in a small holed container to prevent children or pets accessing them. Outdoor baits must be placed inside a plastic wrap to prevent them against rain and shine. The baits should be frequently monitored to prevent them from being consumed by another non-target animals such as snails and ants.
Ridpest’s Approach to Control Methods
Accessible holes are sealed or covered using wire mesh. Door gaps are sealed with door seals.
RIDPEST uses several mechanical equipment to control rats and mice such as rat glue boards, glue traps, and cage traps.
RIDPEST uses a biological derived repellent for eco-friendly approach. The repellent is a gel that contains white pepper which acts as a contact irritant. The repellent is usually applied on a piece of cardboard and placed on the floor. When the rodents move along their track way or holes of any access, the gel will be stuck to their fur and skin and eventually their nerve endings and sensory organs will be effected. The sticky gel prevents them from removing it from their body. In this way, they will suffer from the contact irritant and eventually they will avoid using the same track.
RIDPEST uses toxicant rat baits that contains anti-coagulants which triggers the blood to clot and blocks the effectiveness of vitamin K, preventing blood clotting. Usually, the rodents upon consuming the bait will die within 4 – 10 days from internal bleeding.
For indoor areas, 3 blocks of rat baits will be placed. The baits are properly placed (under or behind furniture or inside a cupboard) out of sight from infants or pets.
For outdoor control, a rat baiting system known as Tempered Rat Bait Station (TRBS) will be used. The station is made of PVC that comes with a secure lock. It is placed 5-10 feet apart and affixed onto the floor. The station comprises of ‘first line defense’, ‘second line defense’ and ‘third line defense’ placed along the perimeter of the premises.
First line defense is a system where the cylindrical TRBS are put along the fencing areas around the premisess.
Second line defense comes in the form of square TRBS placed against the outer wall edge around the premises.
Third line defense also comes in the form of square TRBS placed around the inner wall edge of the premises.
At least 3 blocks of rat baits will be placed inside the stations. The baits are monitored and will be replaced on a regular basis. The amount of baits consumed and the presence of rodent feces; if any, will be recorded. The recorded data will give information on the heaviness of the infestation.