Norway rats have managed to survive for thousands of years, mainly thanks to humans and our behavior. On top of that, rats are quite intelligent, and they actively adapt to pest control efforts. To make matters even worse, there is mounting evidence and public concern that rat poison is affecting wildlife, and this has led to rodenticide bans in many areas of the world. So pest control efforts have to adapt, and contain rat populations without using poison.
One area in which we could improve our rat control efforts, and an area that could have a disproportionate effect on their population, is human behavior. One of the biggest contributing factors to rat infestations and population growth is the massive amount of food that is thrown out by humans, especially in urban areas. In fact, some researchers believe that human behavior is a bigger contributing factor to rat infestations than the behavior of the rats themselves. This information, combined with the ongoing bans on rat poison, could lead to new pest control initiatives.
Basically, rats will reproduce extremely fast until they reach the limits that are imposed by the amount of food that is available to them. Other factors that inhibit population growth include predators as well, but in an urban area, predators that eat rats are few and far between. Thus, if we can reduce the amount of food that rats have at their disposal, their populations will naturally drop.
This technique stands in contrast to the current methods we use, which are more reactive – we wait until the urban rat populations are so big that they can no longer be ignored, and then we spring into action to bring their numbers down.
It’s also understandable why there is an abundance of food waste in cities. People are often on the go, and they buy some fast food from the corner, and then they throw the packaging, and sometimes some leftovers, away in the trash. This is a feast for the rats. People are also too busy with their families, friends, and jobs to think about rats at any point during the day. A good public initiative could help reduce the amount of food waste that people throw out, and even a small reduction in the amount of food waste can result in a large drop in urban rat population numbers. However, until new policies are implemented and adopted by city dwellers, we will have to rely on traditional methods of control. Contact us today if you have a problem with a rat infestation.