Fuelled by this year’s heavier than normal rains and more abundant sources of food, rat numbers are fast approaching plague levels in some commercial areas of the Gold Coast. There’s no let-up in sight either. As winter approaches, these pests will be forced indoors in search of food and shelter.
You might have already seen the signs of a rat infestation at your commercial premises: droppings, rat runs (urine trails) and damage to your stock and equipment, for example. With a pest as intelligent, adaptable and as resilient as the rat, you need to know how to safeguard your commercial business from this scurrying, scampering threat.
Why rats are bad for business
Rats are bad for business in a number of ways. From disease to destruction, this is not a pest to be ignored!
Rats spread disease in commercial areas
The 14th century bubonic plague, (also known as the ‘Black Death’) was spread by the fleas carried in the pelts of black rats on trading ships. Killing millions, it’s a horrifying example of the rat’s capacity to decimate the human population. Rats still present a very real threat to humans. Here are just some of the diseases carried by rats in the Gold Coast area:
• Salmonellosis (salmonella) – a bacterial infection of the gut causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
• Giardiasis – similar to salmonella, this is another infection causing diarrhoea. It can also be transmitted to humans through drinking water contaminated by rat droppings.
• Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) – a virus linked to miscarriage, meningitis and foetal abnormalities.
• Leptospirosis – a notifiable disease in humans.
• Rat bite fever – a disease that can be fatal to almost 1 in every 6 people infected if untreated. It can lead to meningitis, endocarditis or pneumonia.
• Rat lung worm disease – this is insidious disease is passed on via rat droppings and has already claimed the lives of several young children in Queensland and New South Wales.
Click here here for more information about diseases carried by rats and mice in Australia.
Rats are bad for your business image
If you have customers coming to your commercial premises, the last thing they want to see is evidence of a rat infestation or, worse still, a rat scurrying around. It’s seriously bad for business. People equate rats with neglect, filthy conditions and squalor. If you own or lease a commercial premises, dealing with rats should be just as much of a priority as working on any aspect of your business image.
Rats are destructive and can start fires
Rats destroy valuable business equipment and electrical wiring by chewing through it. Why are rats such prolific chewers? They have two top incisors and two bottom incisors, all of which are ‘open-rooted’. This means that unlike humans, they continue to grow throughout the life of the rat. Rats chew on things because they need to wear these teeth down so as to prevent them growing into a spiral. Consequently, rats will chew almost anything.
A commercial premises offers up a smorgasbord of irresistible chewing options to a rat. Electrical wiring that has been damaged by rats puts you, your staff and your customers at risk of electrocution. Not only that, but rats build nests from chewed paper and other materials and it’s the accumulation of these materials in close proximity to heat or wiring that can start fires.
Dealing with the rat plague in your Gold Coast commercial area
There are a number of steps you can take to deal with an influx of rats to business area. Take steps to ensure that you keep your stock up off the ground wherever possible. Always keep your commercial area as clean as possible, as the more rubbish and debris there is, the easier it is for rats to nest and feel at home.
Check electrical wiring and look for the tell-tale signs of infestation including teeth marks, fragments of paper and other damage. Ensure that food stuffs are always stored in airtight containers and check for and eliminate entry and exit points to your premises by following rat runs and looking for droppings.
If you’ve already got obvious droppings around, there’s a good chance that rats have made themselves at home and it’s time to call a professional pest service for advice.
Pegasus Pest Control offers a prompt and reliable service to all commercial areas of the Gold Coast.