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31 October 2022

Ask the technical team

TECHNICAL | PPC109 October 2022

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  • Some animals and plants may have been transported here a long time ago and are considered ‘naturalised’, but these are still non-native species
  • Disposing of waste should be part of your quote
  • Rats love to chew everything and teeth that grow constantly help with that
  • Rats carry a variety of ectoparasites
  • Bacteria associated with rats can infect us in more ways than just bites and scratches.

Why aren’t rats non-native species if they’re from Norway?

Non-native species (NNS) are animals or plants that have been introduced (deliberately or accidentally) by human activity to an area in which they do not naturally occur.

Some animals and plants may have been transported here a long time ago and be considered ‘naturalised’, but these are still non-native species. Rattus norvegicus (Norwegian rat) is not listed as a non-native species of concern in the UK.

Why do rats’ teeth never stop growing?

Rodents are mammals that have extra-large incisors. Unlike human teeth that grow and then stop when they have reached a desired length, rodents have incisor teeth that constantly grow without stopping. This is because teeth are rootless.

This is a big benefit to rodents as they can continuously chew hard food sources such as bone and nuts, but also provide them with the ability to chew through items like drinks cans and bin lids to access a food source.

In what ways can infections or disease spread to humans from rats?

Obviously if you were to be scratched or bitten by a rodent, this could break the skin and allow bacteria to enter the body, causing disease or infection. But bacteria from rats can also get into the human body through digestion (not washing hands before eating), respiratory system, pre-existing cuts or a mucus membrane such as the eyes.

They affect people differently and in some cases can be fatal.

Will rats eat chickens?

Yes, rats have been known to attack and eat baby chickens. They’ve also been known, when desperate, to attack adult chickens.

Having said that, they’re more likely to eat the chicken feed than the chickens. Why make dinner hard for yourself?

Can you get secondary infestations from rats?

Having another infestation alongside a rat issue is not unheard of. Rats can damage sewerage infrastructure which can allow drain fly access into your property. Or chewed up pipework such as a dishwasher waste pipe could promote fruit fly infestation. 

In more commercial areas, external bin stores could have food pulled out of them, this could also cause insect infestation and attract other animals such as foxes. Rats also carry a variety of ectoparasites with them, such as fleas, ticks, lice and mites.

If anyone has any good examples of secondary infestations caused by rats, feel free to send us your stories and we might include them in the next issue of PPC magazine!

Should I charge for collecting rodent carcasses?

No. If you are carrying out rodent control, and as a result of that control, you have dead carcasses to remove, it should be part of the work quoted for. Technically, you have ‘created’ the waste so you need to deal with it. If you are using rodenticide, it is a legal requirement, by way of the label, for you to search for and dispose of dead carcasses. 

Who you gonna call?

The members of our technical team are happy to come out to visit sites with BPCA members who are struggling with a tough infestation and need hands-on advice. 


Are you a BPCA member with a technical question? Get in touch...

technical@bpca.org.uk
01332 294 288
twitter.com/britpestcontrol

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