Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Plague of Rats in Nelson

Last night's (Wed 9th) TV3 News had an article on a rat plague taking over Nelson. It was reported that rats are running a muck in the market gardens in the region. One pest controller claimed to have removed 15,000 rats from one property! While I suspect this may be an over estimate as he had based it on the amount of bait used and not carcasses found*. It does support my assertion in a previous blog that rodents have had a prosperous summer and numbers are high.

The report showed how rats can afflict fruit and vegetables such as pumpkins. One market gardener showed how rats will feed on the seeds in a pumpkin and use the fruit/vegetable as a home. If rats are in significant numbers the damage and contamination they cause can have a serious impact on the productivity and profitability of such businesses.

Nelson is a relatively warm part of New Zealand and rats will survive happily by living in the field and finding shelter in pumpkins or elsewhere. But here and particularly in cooler parts of the country they seek shelter in homes, offices, factories and other buildings.

For advice on how to prevent rats (and mice) entering your home check out the advice here.

*Rats and mice eat usually eat much more bait than a lethal dose because anti-coagulant toxins do not make them sick for several days. They will continue to eat the bait until they fall ill. This is an important feature of anti-coagulant baits such as NO Rats and Mice. It means that rodents do not become 'bait' shy' after eating a sub lethal dose and also there is plenty of time to administer an anti dote in the case of accidental poisoning.

A rat goes into a bar. The barman notices it is missing it's front teeth and says "Hard cheese!?"

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