This week has seen a media frenzy with everybody reporting on the call for using different poisons to control so called super rats in West Berkshire.
It all started last Friday when BBC Radio Berkshire contacted me for comments made by West Berkshire Council who are calling for a change of use for certain poisons to control known rat resistance (super rat) problems, specifically in the Berkshire area. BBC Radio Berkshire often call me for comments and sound bites when anything to do with pest problems appear in the news, so I gave my viewpoint on the situation and thought that would be it.
Anyway, a few hours later, I was called again but this time was invited to attend the studio in Caversham Park for a live interview with Andrew Peach on the Breakfast show. After shuffling a few jobs around, I agreed and duly arrived at 7am for the show. In the past I have done a little bit of radio, a very good friend of ours, Neale James, used to be a DJ for Radio 1 and then Reading 107FM and I used to be on the breakfast show quite a lot as one of the call in characters on his breakfast show…thats another story!
The interview went well and Dr Alan Buckle of Reading University and the CRRU was also involved by phone, so having done my bit, I went back to normal work, solving a few persistent rat problems in Newbury.
Then the calls started…BBC Radio Oxford, Reading 107FM, Newbury Weekly News…Then Daily Telegraph….Then Sky News….Then BBC South Today for TV….Gulp!!
So whats all the fuss about? Well Newbury has faced a growing issue over the last 15 years or so regarding rats being resistent to normal outdoor use poisons. The difference is that they have genetically mutated to not die from taking this poison, so it will never kill them. What pest controllers and local authorities are calling for is to be able to use a different poison which is only permitted to be used indoors currently to control rats. The biggest concern is the fear that these different poisons will affect the wildlife, particularly birds of prey and owls.
Personally, I think there is a different problem that needs to be resolved which I believe is putting more wildlife in danger and that is the sale of poisons to the general public, most of whom have little or no idea how to use them, where they should be placed and what effect they are having on non target species. I have been into one of our local DIY stores on many occasions and seen their staff giving “advice” on poison use…which in most cases is totally wrong and even extremely dangerous.
At Rapid Pest control, we are calling for the ban of over the shelf products, which are totally ineffective in this area anyway, and a licence to use the inside use only poisons for outside applications under certain situations. This must be controlled and regulated, either by voluntary self regulation, or by the HSE as a formal application. This poison should never be sold to the public, and can only be used in this situation but trained and responsible operators.
Rapid Pest Control’s officers are all trained and have been certified as “Wildlife Aware” accredited (We were the first company to be accredited in the Berkshire and Hampshire area). This means we take all precautions possible to ensure poison is only taken by the target species – rats – and that sites we operate on are wildlife friendly. We see this as a minimum criteria for being able to use these poisons.
The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use, the CRRU, has been created to protect our wildlife and to ensure pest controllers and farmers use a code of practice which is effective for rodent control, but safe for our wildlife.
So if you have a rat problem, call Rapid Pest Control now for advice and help on controlling rats in your property.
Here are the links to some of the news stories: