Rat infestation is a frustrating pest control problem many of us face due to various rat elimination challenges. Perhaps, we do not have clear awareness and understanding about essential facts of rats in Singapore. In this article, Rentokil discusses facts we did not know about rats, which DIY pest remedies that do not work are and how to get rid of rats effectively.
- Rats have powerful memories
- They rely on their tail as a sense of balance and communication
- Rat’s teeth will keep on growing and are razor sharp
- Rats are nocturnal and live underground
- Reproduction takes place with at least 5 times year
- They possess excellent climbing capabilities
- Good underwater stamina and tread water for 3 days
- Using DIY bait and trap to eliminate rats
- Deterring rats away with essential oils or spices
- Placing bags of moth balls around the premise
- Putting cheese on snap traps to lure rats
- Mixing ammonia and detergent as repelling agent
- Understanding the different rat species
- Why is rat eradication necessary
- Conduct a thorough inspection for rat infestation signs
- Consider various rat control services
- Equip with useful rat prevention tips
- Why pest proofing is critical to control rats. What is pest proofing?
- What is the difference between rats and mice? Do they matter?
- What are the ways to identify infestation signs of rats?
- How much does rat control cost in Singapore
- Why do we end up with recurring rat infestation?
- Can rats bite? Are they dangerous to us?
Part 1: Seven facts you did not about rats
Rats have powerful memories
These pests have excellent memories and are able to remember their navigation and route around. Once they have mapped an environment, they can remember this pathway for a long time. They might have poorer eyesight, however, they leverage on their memory to make them way around. In fact, they can recognise people, locations where traps are placed and other rats’ members. This might also explain why it increases the difficulty to get rid of rats easily.
They rely on their tail as a sense of balance and communication
Did you know? A rat’s tail has a few functions to keep them going. Firstly, it helps to regulate their temperature due to their inability to sweat. It helps to adjust to both hot and cold temperatures. For instance, during a warm climate, the blood vessels allow more blood flow into the tail and during cooler conditions, the vessels will contract to preserve heat. Secondly, how are rats able to balance so well even on a thin wire? Their tail supports their agility and strong sense of balance. Hence, they are able to hide at impossible and out of reach spaces that makes rat eradication challenging. Thirdly, rats use their tail as a form of defence against predators, by distracting them with their flicking movements.
Rat’s teeth will keep on growing and are razor sharp
Every part of the rats’ organs has a functionality and so are their teeth. They have long and sharp incisors that never stop growing. Hence, they have a need to gnaw on items to wear down their teeth; otherwise, they will not be able to feed on food. In fact, they are able to chew through materials such as wood, wire, plastic, aluminum and lead. These can cause damage and destroy critical items such as food packaging, furniture, panels, false ceilings, cables and wire. Worse cases, these gnawing habits can result in short circuit and hazardous fire.
Rats are nocturnal and live underground
There are various nocturnal pests that are active at night besides rats. They seek food foraging at hours where we are asleep. It is also during this time that they communicate with their members or locate their nest with high-frequency sound. Rats hide along ceilings and tight corners, or they spend their time underground in tunnels and burrows. This is also one of the main challenges in controlling rats’ population effectively with limited detection of these activities.
Reproduction takes place with at least 5 litters per year
An average lifespan of a rat is around 1 to 3 years and depending on the species types, the reproduction differs. For example, the gestation of a roof rat takes around 3 weeks and produces 5 to 10 pups (young per liter), and in total up to 6 litters a year. Brown rat on the other hand takes lesser time to reach maturity, usually ranges between 10 to 12 weeks. To put some numbers into perspective, a nest usually comprises up to 10 rats and a colony can contain as many as 100 rats. This means, growing the rat population size tremendously if without proper rat treatment in place.
They possess excellent climbing capabilities
Their strong flexibility, agility and excellent climbing capabilities made them efficient pests to chase. In fact, they can fall as much as fifty feet without incurring any injury. It can range from walls, trees, drainpipes, wires, cables, false ceilings and even roofs or attics. Firstly, they made use of their claws, pads that grips, and latches on various types of surfaces easily. Secondly, their tails are used as a balancing function along tight lines. Thirdly, they are able to jump and leap as far as 48 inches across or 36 inches above. Imagine their capabilities of that to an acrobat, and you will understand why there is still an ongoing problem with rats in Singapore.
Good underwater stamina and tread water for 3 days
Another strength of the rats is the ability to swim well. In fact, they can tread water for around three days and hold their breath up to three minutes. There are incidents where they swim back after surviving from a toilet flushing activity. For some species such as the sewer rats, or also known as Norway Rats can swim over a mile. Thus, rats are able to make their way into bathrooms and kitchens by swimming through the sewers and pipes and squeeze in a 1cm hole to your premise.
Part 2: Rat control treatments that do not work
Using DIY bait and trap to eliminate rats
There are easy DIY rat baits and traps you can set up with the help of the internet and video guide.
All you need is a baiting box, a glue board and baits that you can purchase from off the-shelve or self-made. However, we may lack the technical know-know in terms of where to place the trap. Multiple traps may be required along pathways against the wall depending on how large and complex the environment is. Trapping rats is often unsuccessful and requires professional techniques such as pest control companies for control efficacy.
Deterring rats away with essential oils or spices
Some would use scent oil as a form of relaxant, however some also use different oil for pest repellent. For example, soaking peppermint oil into balls or cotton and placing them at areas with rats’ activity. Firstly, the high concentrations of strong peppermint smell will diminish and thus, lose its’ repel effect on rats. Secondly, rats are associated with intolerable pungent substances such as drains, sewers and garbage centres, and these could musk the peppermint scent. Thirdly, some use the similar pungent concept of spices repel rats. This includes sprinkling cayenne, pepper, garlic and cumin around. However, this can invite other pest problems, as they are an outcome of poor sanitation and source of food for them.
Placing bags of mothballs around the premise
Mothballs contact naphthalene, which is strong smelling, and when inhaled or ingested, it can cause blood cells to lose the ability to carry oxygen. While it might work on some pests such as moths or cockroaches, the amount of naphthalene found in mothballs is small. It requires substantial volume of mothballs to be able to repel and work on mice. As Rats are smart and sensitive pests, they will avoid these lures and move to other locations if they sense something new around them. It is important to know that they contain harmful gases when exposed to air, and have harmful effects on health, such as respiratory, and eyes.
Putting cheese on snap traps to lure rats
Most illustrations and pest myths around catching a rat successfully by luring them with cheese. This long-time myth has been around but exactly do they work? Most rats and mice in Singapore prefer seeds, fruit, nuts, cereals, dried fruits and high in sugar and energy content food. This includes chocolates, peanut butter and hazelnut spread. Above all, rats need water to survive and will feed on anything to stay alive. For instance, they can feed on dead insects or carcasses, garbage, compost heaps, food waste and meat.
Mixing ammonia and detergent as repelling agent
Rats have a very sensitive sense of smell and ammonia is perhaps too strong and pungent for their liking. It works by repelling them away by mixing cups of ammonia with detergent and water into a bowl. While it works as a deterrent agent, this DIY solution can be harmful as kids or pets may ingest them accidentally when they are placed on the floor. In addition, they are dangerous chemicals that cause skin irritation when come into contact with. Above all, some may contain flammable contents, and potentially cause fire.
Part 3: Get rid of rats with pest control
Understanding the different rat species
Identifying the right species can help optimise the effectiveness of rat control. For instance, roof rats like moist fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts and hide among elevated areas such as roof, attics and false ceiling. Norway rats are often associated with damp, unhygienic and poor sanitation environments such as drain, sewers and basements. They feed on dead animals, decomposed waste and meat. Understanding their palate and hot spots, can lure and trap rats more effectively.
Why is rat eradication necessary?
There are many reasons why engaging in pest control services to eradicate rats is necessary.
- They are capable of destroying food packaging and parcels
- Rat’s gnawing habit can damage electrical wiring, causing short circuit and fire
- Contaminate food and drinking water with their saliva, faeces, and urine
- Spread harmful diseases such as Salmonellosis, plague and leptospirosis
- Rat bite fever when bitten by infected rat – symptoms include fever, chills, skin rash, vomiting
- Hantavirus infection caused by urine and droppings – severe cases include shortness of breath, low blood pressure and fluids in lungs
- Business implications such as penalty, suspension, closure
- Brand and image reputation at risks – social media crisis
Conduct a thorough inspection for rat infestation signs
Especially for large and complex environments such as factories, warehouses, food production, central kitchen and logistics centres, finding these smart pests can be challenging. More-ever with their amazing hiding skills and high flexibility, detecting signs of rats and their infestation symptoms can be quite impossible. Pest control specialists can perform specialised and accurate detection of rats’ activity and their infestation signs. This can be done by deploying digital rodent control with sensing capabilities to detect presence of rats even during odd hours. Accurate detection helps to place baiting control stations at more targeted locations where rats are actively present.
Consider various rat control services
Glue Board traps and baiting stations
One of the more commonly used rat pest control is by placing glue boards below shelves and cabinets or including a bait and glueboard within tamper resistant baiting stations. These units are deployed at specific intervals along the wall or around the perimeter or area of the premise. Usually, there will be up to three lines of defence to keep rats away. Firstly, there will be placements of baiting stations at the outdoors of the compound to guard against rats crawling from burrows and drains. Secondly, units are placed semi-indoors within the compound, targeting at key risk areas such as waste bins, drain holes and pipes. Finally, the pest control company will deploy baiting stations indoors where there is rat activities risk or food supply.
Rat multi-trap for intensive control
Rentokil Initial recommends the digitalised and multi-trap solution that utilises natural food bait that attract rats to lure and trap. Designed for heavy infestation situations, it has the capacity to contain up to 20 rats within a catch. For ease of monitoring and tracking, an external dial indicates the number of rats caught is built-in. Finally, an anti-putrefaction liquid is added into the trap that minimises odour emanating from the carcass and enhancing the hygiene level of rat control.
Digital rodent control technology
The more advanced and efficient way of eliminating rats is the use of digitalisation and sensing technology by placing into a baiting station or along rats’ hideout. This includes false ceiling and tight or narrow spaces. The Rentokil Rat Riddance Connect minimises the risk of trapping non-target species and generates minimal false triggers. It connects to a Rentokil Pest Control command centre where monitoring of rat activities take place. In fact, it is suitable for a large variety of business sectors, including high dependency, food establishments, logistics and medical care.
Equip with useful rat prevention tips
To ensure effective rat prevention in place requires a 2-prong control approach. Rats will enter a premise for three reasons: Food, Water and Shelter. To keep rats away is to eliminate these food sources and resting sites.
- Prevent rats from entering the home or property by sealing all cracks, gaps and crevices. They have a flexible body that is able to squeeze through a one cm hole.
- Make sure there is no compost heaps of garbage lying around for them to feed on. Dispose trash in a sealed bag and cover the bin to prevent rats’ entry
- Perform diligent housekeeping to ensure no food bits and water spills for them as meals
- Clear away their hiding opportunities – this includes removing piles, clutters, cartons and heavy vegetation
- Install proofing protection around the premise. Rats are able to enter in at many possible entrances – door gaps, ventilators, roof holes, cracked walls, utility entries
- Keep the space dry by wiping off surfaces of repair defective pipes and plumbing system – water and moisture attracts most pests
Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions about Rats Control
Why pest proofing is critical to control rats. What is pest proofing?
There are many ways and reasons for pests to access a premise freely. It can be due to compromised foundation, design of the property, keeping doors open and environmental factors such as rainy weather. Proofing minimises pests from entering into a building for harbourage activities. Proofing includes filling up those gaps and holes, installing screens and mesh to block entry, protecting and covering areas with openings such as grease traps, manhole and piping.
What is the difference between rats and mice? Do they matter?
There is a difference between the both besides the obvious in size wise. However, their way of entering a premise, breeding nature, preferred diet, common nest sites and type of droppings differ. Identifying the right species helps in generating optimal and effective rat control solutions. For instance, rats would not be able to enter a mice trap due to their smaller opening and choice of baits used. Placement of baiting stations may be incorrect as their habitats differ.
What are the ways to identify infestation signs of rats?
They may be nocturnal and increase the difficulty level of spotting presence of rats in the daytime. However, there are some visible and obvious signs of a rat infestation. Firstly, they produce unpleasant and musty urine smells and unsightly stains. Secondly, you may notice gnawing bite marks and holes on wires, packaging and furniture. Thirdly, look out for droppings that are dark brownish and pellet-shape like. However, do take note there is a slight difference between rat and mice droppings. Rat’s dropping is larger and comes with blunt ends instead of pointed. Fourthly, you may hear sounds such as scratching, scurrying or squeaking that could mean they are communicating or moving around. Finally, check if there is any presence of burrows. These are underground nests, which rats hide in and are often within bushes or heavy vegetation areas.
How much does rat control cost in Singapore?
Depending which rat elimination solution you are taking up for your premise, the cost of a rat control differs. For example, the conventional bait traps might appear more affordable for a start, however, the rein-infestation and limited efficacy could require multiple treatments. In the long term, this might cost more. Digitalised rat solutions may cost more in terms of total investment; however, keeping a rat infestation well controlled avoids unnecessary add-ons. Another consideration is the size of the premise to cover, severity of the infestation and business needs. Read more to find out what other factors affect the pest control price in Singapore.
Why we end up with recurring rat infestation?
One of the most asked questions and a common frustration faced by users is facing a recurring rat problem. There are various essential checklists to keep rat infestation at bay. This ranges from housekeeping, adequate proofing, proper sanitation and hygiene standards, but also efficacy and frequency of your rat control. For instance, bait choice may be wrong, units placed incorrectly; there is a lapse of service or lack of detection and inspection. Above all, there are environmental and urbanisation challenges that increase the risks of rat infestation in Singapore.
Can rats bite? Are they dangerous to us?
We are familiar with mosquito bites and dengue fever. What about rats? Do they bite? More importantly, are they as fatal and harmful as compared to mosquitoes. The answer is yes, they can bite when they feel threatened or provoked. In most cases, rat bites will cause painful swelling however, if an infected rat bites us, the condition will be more severe. Known as the Rat-Bite-Fever, it causes rash with additional symptoms such as fever and chills, joint and muscle pain, headache and vomiting or diarrhoea. Find out what other harmful diseases that is spread by rats with the bacteria they carry on them.
Call Rentokil Singapore at 6347 8138 for a rat control solution today.