Control the rats ‘before they control you’

'Dramatic increase in rodent numbers in the past month'.

'Dramatic increase in rodent numbers in the past month'.

DESTRUCTIVE: A ship rat raiding a fantail’s nest.

More rats than usual for this time of year have been seen in the Gisborne area — but we are not alone.

A dramatic increase in rodent numbers in the past month has been seen across the country, says Cleankill Services operator Brendan McCormick.

“There is always an increase in rat activity at this time of year, due to changes in temperature and conditions.

There has been a big increase nation-wide.”

The rat population has been strong throughout summer, says Mr McCormick.

“The young have left the nest and they have their own litter after six weeks. I’m getting quite a few jobs around Okitu and Wainui.”

The main species are Norway rat (also known as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat or wharf rat) and ship rat (also known as the black rat, roof rat or house rat).

“The two species co-exist in the same habitat, and can do serious damage to building materials and can create fire risk through gnawing wires.

“They pose a health risk to humans and can pass on the infectious bacterial disease leptospirosis through their urine.”

To deter rodents, Mr McCormick recommends denying them access to water sources by turning buckets, pots and other containers upside down.

He also suggests residents cut back trees that are beside the house or touching the roof.

“Keep the grass short and clean up any fruit from lawns.

It’s best to have bait stations fitted in concealed, safe areas and have them serviced fortnightly or monthly. Always use a quality single-feed rodenticide.”

Mr McCormick finds he gets better eradication results by treating three or four properties in an area.

“They are out in full force, so best to control them before they control you.”

The native rat kiore is also about but tends to inhabit the natural environment rather than areas of human occupation, says Gisborne District Council’s biosecurity team leader Phil Karaitiana.

The Norway rat and ship rat are the most common rats seen at this time of year.

“They want to get out of the cold and wet like anyone else.”

More rats than usual for this time of year have been seen in the Gisborne area — but we are not alone.

A dramatic increase in rodent numbers in the past month has been seen across the country, says Cleankill Services operator Brendan McCormick.

“There is always an increase in rat activity at this time of year, due to changes in temperature and conditions.

There has been a big increase nation-wide.”

The rat population has been strong throughout summer, says Mr McCormick.

“The young have left the nest and they have their own litter after six weeks. I’m getting quite a few jobs around Okitu and Wainui.”

The main species are Norway rat (also known as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat or wharf rat) and ship rat (also known as the black rat, roof rat or house rat).

“The two species co-exist in the same habitat, and can do serious damage to building materials and can create fire risk through gnawing wires.

“They pose a health risk to humans and can pass on the infectious bacterial disease leptospirosis through their urine.”

To deter rodents, Mr McCormick recommends denying them access to water sources by turning buckets, pots and other containers upside down.

He also suggests residents cut back trees that are beside the house or touching the roof.

“Keep the grass short and clean up any fruit from lawns.

It’s best to have bait stations fitted in concealed, safe areas and have them serviced fortnightly or monthly. Always use a quality single-feed rodenticide.”

Mr McCormick finds he gets better eradication results by treating three or four properties in an area.

“They are out in full force, so best to control them before they control you.”

The native rat kiore is also about but tends to inhabit the natural environment rather than areas of human occupation, says Gisborne District Council’s biosecurity team leader Phil Karaitiana.

The Norway rat and ship rat are the most common rats seen at this time of year.

“They want to get out of the cold and wet like anyone else.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Mary, Sth Island West Coast - 5 months ago
Don't panic about rats but do be sensible, clearing away rubbish and keeping a look out. There is a natural drop-off of rats over the winter time. Traps used carefully are very good, pesticides kill a range of non-target species like our pets and native birds.
Rats store poisons for sometime, rendering them less useful and more likely to make their off-spring resistant. They are very clever and careful, so trapping is most effective at controlling them.
Regarding rat populations after 1080 use, it is worth reading this Landcare study:
https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/kararehe-kino/kararehe-kino-23/rat-populations-recovery

The photo above this article is fully contrived, having been produced by Nga Manu Studios, Waikanae. Nga Manu have produced a range of fearful but not so likely pictures which are used to support aerial poison use.

Footnote from Ed: Our shared image system says the photo used with this story was taken in July 2006 by D. Mudge of Bay of Plenty.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you think Simon Bridges will still be leader of the National Party at the next election?