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"Ratpocalypse" pest control issues with rats
‘Ratpocalypse’ Caused by Climate Change Could Increase Spread of Disease   "ACES pest control attended Dr Corrigans " Rat Acadamy" course in 2016 NPMA  Seattle meeting. It was standing room only! Bobby is the "go to guy" when all the other Pest Control Companies have tried and failed.  Bobby has a  scientific approach and has a Doctorate in Science. We hope you enjoy this article featuring Bobby as much as we enjoyed his course."    Milder winters allow rats to have more litters, and their population explosion could help spread diseases such as E. coli and bubonic plague. Is America on the verge of a ratpocalypse? Experts and officials are documenting growing numbers of rats across the United States, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. However, rats are notoriously difficult to study. The exact number of rat populations is unclear. In New York, for example, estimates range from 250,000 on the low end up to tens of millions.   The only thing certain is the numbers are growing. In July, New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, pledged $32 million to combat the rodents. The city wants more rat corpses, he announced. New York may be the most prominent city in the United States to tackle its highly visible rat problem, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Other major metropolitan areas, including Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Washington have all reported increased sightings. Milder winters mean more rats Bobby Corrigan, who holds a doctorate in rodentology, and is one of the nation’s leading experts on rats, told Healthline that if you spoke to health departments in 25 different cities, they’d all tell you we have more rats now than ever before. Even though that’s not empirical, that’s a pretty darn good indication, he said. Corrigan attributes growing rat populations in the United States and around the world to milder winters and growing human populations. Rats tend to reproduce less during the winter as cold weather makes it harder for the rodents to survive. But, as winters have become milder due in part to climate change over the past decade, rats have been able to produce extra litters.   More rats mean more disease The warmer weather also cascades down onto the various other parasites and bugs that depend on rats for survival. Disease-carrying ticks, mites, lice, and fleas are all more likely to survive and reproduce during mild winters. A similar problem manifested earlier this year when reports of increased tick-borne illnesses were largely attributed to booming populations of mice  the critters that spread ticks throughout forested areas. Simply put, says Corrigan, Winter doesn’t kill as much anymore because we don’t have hard winters. The risks of booming rat populations are manifold. The various ectoparasites that feed on rats are capable of spreading many different diseases, including rat bite fever and bubonic plague. While the plague is uncommon in the United States today, it still appears periodically, including this year in New Mexico. However, rats don’t even need to carry ectoparasites to spread disease. In fact, they are more than capable of spreading zoonotic diseases through contact with their urine and feces. A study from Columbia University in 2014 found that rats in New York carried everything from E. coli and salmonella to Seoul hantavirus and C. difficile. They don’t carry rabies. That’s the good news, says Corrigan.   Solutions are difficult The federal government isn’t actually involved in controlling rat populations as it is with many other public health problems. Between 1969 and 1982, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doled out grants to different cities under its Urban Rat Control program, but that ended under former President Ronald Reagan. A CDC spokesperson confirmed to Healthline that it no longer has any involvement with rat control. Since then, cities, businesses, and citizens have had to fend for themselves. You’re only as good as your worst neighbor down the street or outside the door who doesn’t do their trash right, said Corrigan.   People are the problem This leads to the second major part of the rat boom: humans. Rats have been called the mirror species of humans. When we thrive, they thrive. They share and inhabit the same cities that we do. More people, more trash, more trash, more pests, said Corrigan. For better or worse then, the solution to the rat problem begins with the human problem of waste management. That’s a mammal that needs the same thing you and I need. It needs food every single day. It needs water every day, explained Corrigan. If you have 16 rats, just one family of rats, they need a pound of food every night. That’s seven pounds of food every week going into those rats’ bellies, he noted. The implication is clear: Rats are getting all the food they need from humans. And while calls to pest control services are up across the country, and cities are trying new methods for killing rats  like using dry ice to suffocate them in their nests  in New York, Corrigan’s approach is far more benign. The only solution, according to Corrigan, is an approach that includes individual and government cooperation between everyone from city task forces, to grocery store and restaurant owners, to homeowners. If you want to keep rats out of your home and help control populations, it comes down to two things, he said. Ensure that all doors, including garage doors, leading into and out of your home are tightly closed. You should not be able to roll a number two pencil under a door, Corrigan said. The second is securing garbage appropriately.  Everybody thinks anybody can take out the garbage, so sometimes they’ll give it to the children to take out the garbage, says Corrigan. Taking out the garbage and storing the garbage correctly is something that needs attention. Instead of hiring an exterminator or putting out poison bait, why don’t you just simply get a better garbage can? he said.   "When ACES spoke to Bobby between lectures, he mentioned that high numbers of rats must always go hand in hand with a large food source. And he pointed out that the Vancouver rat study is showing   that the pest control of rats while  effective, creates a vacant territory, which other rats eventually move into with time. Meaning the net result is zero. He concluded in his course that the long term solution for urban rats is how humans manage the environment around them." Adapted from an article  by Gigen Mammoser

Mice control DIY tips
Get rid of mice: The signs of house mice - what does a mouse eat and how to trap them?   ACES pest control finds that mice are year round problem in Auckland. 2016 and 2017 there have been more mice then rats. Mice are destructive often chewing electrical wires and sometimes high pressure mains plastic pipe resulting in major floods and $100 000.00s of damage. We have have around five customers call in with significant floods this year. Here is another point of view from Emily. Please read and enjoy.      HOUSE mice can be a nightmare for home owners who find them in their property. Do you know how to get rid of mice? What does a mouse eat? How do you trap them and what traps should you use? Do you know how to spot droppings?   House mice invade you home and eat your food, making it dirty and unpleasant to live in. However, do you know how to spot mice and how to get rid of them?   There are various signs of mice to look out for.   The first and most obvious sign is droppings. Mice should leave around 50 to 80 droppings per night.   How to spot mice droppings Rentokill describes mouse droppings as being around three to eight inches in length.   Mice do not defecate in corners or in a pattern like some animals, so you can expect to find them scattered all over the house.   What’s more, droppings could be hidden in a number of places, including in cupboards, above cupboards and along skirting boards. Droppings can be light brown or dark brown in colour depending on how long they have been there    Rat droppings are larger, from half an inch to three-quarters of an inch long - so if you find these you have a larger problem on your hands.      Get rid of mice: The signs of house mice - what does a mouse eat and how to trap them? What other signs of mice are there? Other signs of mice include creasy marks on the floor and bottoms of the walls - as mice tend to stick to the sides of rooms.   There is also the strong smell of urine, as mice urinate very often.   Scratching noises are also a signs that mice may well be living in your property.     Get rid of mice: What do mice eat?   Mice are thought tone very fond of cheese, however, it is not a staple of their diet and also not the most effective food to catch them with.   In fact, ACES a pest control company, claim peanut scent may well be a better lure for the small, furry animals.   Aside from this yummy treat, mice also like to grains, fruit, and seeds, so you may well catch them nibbling on your cereal.   While it seems that mice may eat cardboard and paper, they only chew these items to make comfy nests.       Traps are the most efficient ways to get rid of mice that are living in your home.   Website How To Get Rid of Mice recommends using electric shock traps, which they claim are humane, or a live trap that allows air to circulate through the trap.   Position a trap near where the mice seem to live, and also being new furniture.    How do you prevent mice returning?   The best way to prevent mice coming back is keeping your food in sealed containers at all times, to prevent mice rummaging through your cupboards.   Sealing of entrances to the house will also help keep mice at bay.       ACES pest control agrees with Emily that you should take steps to rodent proof house. Mice come from two areas in a house. Where there is an "under the house" e.g. Villa they come up from under the house via the travelling on top of the plumbing. Where the house is on a concrete slab they come in via the attached garage. All successful pest control treatments start with an inspection. ACES offers free rodent proofing advise following our inspection     modified from  EMILY HODGKIN article http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/839514/mouse-house-mice-get-rid-trap-droppings       for more information on  services offered by ACES pest control please click here for our services for rodents please click here for services for ants please click here and for cockroaches please click here

Jack- the awesome pest controller!!!!!
Got rats? Call Jack, Vancouver's only working canine exterminator He's cute. He's cuddly. And he's a killer.   ACES pest control once had the help of a customers dog finding rats. Jenny Jones told ACES her dog knows were the rats are. We did our inspection and an hour later, YES you guessed it Jennys dog was 100% correct! Some dogs are awesome pest controllers!   "Jack, the rat terrier, gets ready for work. His hearing is so acute he can hear the sound of a rat's heart beating.   Rat population boom blamed on cold B.C. winter Yoram Adler can't imagine a better work colleague. Jack is always up, always ready to take on a tough job, and always ready to kill.  "My daughter didn't want me to tell you this, but he's killed 36 rats and 11 mice. And two squirrels, by mistake," said Adler. At a mere 10 kilograms, the six-year-old rat terrier doesn't look lethal. On the contrary, he exudes the happy agreeability of a puppy. As for the killing part, he can't help it.  Seeking and destroying rodents is exactly what Jack was bred to do. It's also what makes him the perfect partner for Adler, an exterminator and co-owner of Vancouver's Integrated Pest Management. Targets rats "I love my canine partner. And I love the fact that he loves his work," said Adler, who believes Jack is the only working dog exterminator in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. Jack has been on the job for five years, targeting suspected rats with his keen sense of smell, strong prey drive, and hypersonic-like speed. Small size, big job Jack can smell mice, rats, squirrels and even bed bugs. His small size allows him to get into places humans cannot. (David Horemans/CBC) "Generally in the wintertime there's a lot more rodent calls than in the summer," said Adler. "He is able to inspect garages, basements and crawl spaces, and stick his nose under stuff and smell. When he finds his prey, he'll paw or bark to alert Adler. "Usually, he barks to tell me where they are. He'll also show me their routes  you know, where they are running." Adler said Jack will catch and kill rats and mice if he can. But when it comes to squirrels, Adler deploys his dog differently. Jack the chaser "We call it squirrel evictions," he said. "We'll go up in an attic and I'll give him a go word, which is 'Chippy.' I ask him, 'where's Chippy?' And he'll make a lot of noise growling and barking. "The squirrels hear that and run out. He's not the killer in that situation. He chases them out and then we block the entrance point with a one-way door — in case there are other squirrels still inside — or with mesh." To keep his skills sharp, Adler sometimes brings Jack to a downtown SkyTrain station where training doubles as community service. "He killed three rats there one night. I don't want to tell you which station, though. People will think it's overrun with rats." 'He just had to be taught' Jack has also become an expert in bed bug detection, something rat terriers don't normally do. Adler recognized how valuable the skill would be and set about finding someone locally who could train him. In the end, he hired a retired customs dog trainer, who, over a six-month period, schooled Jack in the canine craft of finding bedbugs. "The customs trainer trained him the same way as when they teach the customs dogs to find drugs and money," said Adler. "I knew he could do it, he just had to be taught." President's pooch As a breed, rat terriers grew in prominence at the turn of the last century when  as the story goes President Teddy Roosevelt used them to rid the White House of a terrible rat infestation.  Adler calls Roosevelt "one of my history heroes," and credits the story for making him aware of the breed. When his daughter started begging for a puppy, he thought, 'why not get one that could help on the job?'  Working dogs don't always make good family pets but Jack has proven an easy fit in both worlds.  "He cuddles up on the couch and watches the Canucks' games with me," Adler said. "He sleeps on our bed and tries to lick our faces after he's done his work, which my wife doesn't necessarily like," said Adler. Job well done With another site cleared, Jack jumps into Adler's trunk. The two will head home for some play time, treats and rest before the next call. (David Horemans/CBC) Adler has never advertised Jack's services because there's never been a shortage of word-of-mouth referrals. But he is considering putting the dog's photo on a new work truck, which is set to hit the road. "People like the dog, they gravitate towards the dog because he's very friendly," Adler said. "But mostly they like that there's a canine expert inspecting their house." adapted from and article by Karin Larsen, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/got-rats-call-jack-vancouver-s-only-working-canine-exterminator-1.4214003

mice are an old pest control issue!
Mice as a pest control issue as old as 15,000 Years!?!? Mice exermination could be the oldest profession? Its been said before- there is nothing new under the sun. Never more true, when it comes to mice.  If you ever get a house, eventually you get a mouse or so Ogden Nash once wrote. And science seems to be catching up with poetry. The standard thinking until now has been that the house mouse, Mus musculus, only began its intimate relationship with humans at the dawn of agriculture, roughly 11,500 years ago. In effect, you had to have a farm, not just a house, before mice moved in to raid the stored grain. It turns out, however, that the house alone. A hut even was enough to do the trick, according to a new study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. M. musculus began to hang around with humans, the study’s authors wrote, at least 15,000 years ago, during the so-called Natufian era in the Middle East, when late-stage hunter–gatherers were just beginning to adopt a more settled way of life. It was an on-again, off-again relationship at first, with both species occupying the same settlements for a season or a two at a time. But for the mouse already becoming the house mouse—that early connection became the springboard to world conquest as one of humanity’s closest companions. Even though the new study is limited to mice, co-author Fiona Marshall of Washington University in Saint Louis speculates house cats might also have begun their relationship with humans in the preagricultural period. (Cats tend to follow mice, as Ogden Nash noted, “in a trice.”) The study also relies on evidence from an archaeological dig at Ain Mallaha in northern Israel that is already well known for the earliest archaeological evidence of dog domestication: In a 15,000-year-old grave there, a woman buried in a loose fetal position rests her hand against the body of a small puppy. The authors describe the preagricultural shift to a more settled way of life as a turning point in human and environmental history with “a profound, long-lasting and unpredictable influence on the human niche”—and the mice, cats, dogs and other familiar species that came to cohabit it. To examine the mouse connection in detail, the researchers took a new look at seemingly insignificant specimens mouse teeth that had been sitting on the shelf in a natural history museum for decades. The pioneering Israeli archaeozoologist Eitan Tchernov excavated many of them beginning in the 1950s, and he saw enough evidence even then to theorize about the unexpected abundance of house mice in hunter gatherer settlements. But he didn’t have the radiocarbon dates we have now, says co-author Lior Weissbrod, an archaeozoologist at the University of Haifa.  The understanding of the timing of the Natufian really changed with carbon 14 dating and the switch to accelerator mass spectrometry as a technique for accurately dating small samples, beginning in the 1980s. The new study also had the advantage of high-precision digital photography and computer-assisted analysis to make side-by-side comparisons of 372 mouse teeth, from a 200,000-year span at five sites around Israel. That enabled the co-authors to distinguish easily, by the shape of the teeth, between the familiar, long-tailed M. musculus and its short-tailed cousin Mus macedonius. During periods of human occupation, the researchers found, musculus moved into human settlements, probably attracted by food waste and small stores of foraged barley, wild wheat and nuts. Something about musculus made it better suited than M. macedonius to thrive in the dark corners of human habitations. A longer tail, for instance, might have made it more agile for climbing and for escape.  In any case, the abundance of musculus specimens during periods of human occupation, the co-authors wrote, indicates musculus effectively outcompeted macedonius. But during periods when humans resumed their nomadic ways, macedonius took over again around their abandoned settlements. The results are of interest, Weissbrod says, partly because human intentionality,  which complicates the question of how cats or dogs became domesticated, does not really come into play with mice. “When we’re looking at mice and at shifting proportions of two mouse species over time, we are looking purely at ecology, the effects of settlements on mice, and not at human intentions.” As a reality check on ancient ecology, the study also includes evidence about changing populations of two closely related mouse species in modern Kenya. On the southern border there, a Maasai community is now making the shift from a herding way of life to periods of increasing settlement, much as the Natufians did 15,000 years ago.  And again, a long-tailed mouse, this time Acomys ignitus, appears to thrive in human habitations, outcompeting its short-tailed neighbor, Acomys wilsoni. The Maasai do not store large quantities of grain, says Weissbrod, who conducted that part of the study, and they expressed no strong feelings about the mice that had begun to live among them. Intentionality only turned up, he notes, among neighbors who farm and store grain, and tend to talk about mice, predictably, in terms of how to get rid of them. The connection between mice and preagricultural humans is certainly for me a new finding and interesting, says Jeremy Searle, a Cornell University evolutionary biologist who has written extensively about domestication of both cats and mice but did not participate in the new study. “We have tended to think that house mice have been associated with humans only when there are large quantities of stored grain from farming. He calls the study genuinely a new approach.  I really love the fact that something like the house mouse not a big keystone species, not high profile, not charismatic is giving us a wonderful window on some of the more momentous events in human history,” adds the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Melinda Zeder, who also was not part of the work. “What this is showing,” says Zeder, an influential thinker on commensalism and domestication, is that the increasingly settled character of human communities really has definite impacts on the natural world and not just in a negative way. “It’s building what one might call an anthropogenic niche, and it’s creating a host of opportunities. For mice, of course, but also for archaeologists who see this whole range of mesocarnivores affiliating with these human environments. The number of wild cat and fox bones increases dramatically as well as things like weasels, badgers, martens, polecats, Zeder says. Until recently people tended to think about domestication as a matter of human mastery  over nature, she adds.  But as we understand the process of domestication more, we see it in terms of these mutualisms, these ecological systems that people are part of,” with humans and other species each looking to its own advantage, sometimes to the benefit of both. The new study fits this more mutual way of thinking about domestication, with preagricultural settlements like Ain Mallaha as the stage on which species—mice, cats, dogs and also humans in effect “tried out” for life with one another. We are still ambivalent about some of the resulting associations. Ogden Nash, for instance, thought cats were ultimately more annoying than mice. But for many of us, it was the beginning of some of our most beautiful friendships. original article By Richard Conniff published in Scientific American  modified by ACES pest control

rats and housing issues
  ACES pest control is often asked to work with either the tenant or the landlord on the issue of rodent control. ACES provides online payment meaning the landlord doesnt have to be present to make payment at the appointment date.    Tenant with rats in walls can't afford to move     A woman living in a Wellington flat with rats in the walls says the Prime Minister's view that soaring rental prices are a sign of "success" is stupid and ridiculous. A social housing provider said the shortage in the capital was the worst it had been. Yet Prime Minister Bill English remains steadfast that there is no housing crisis. Rental prices shot up 7 percent last year in Wellington to a median of $480 a week. At the same time, the number of properties available for rent plunged. Wellington's prices are just shy of Auckland's. When asked if he was concerned that a queue of prospective renters lined up outside a flat in Wellington at the weekend, Mr English said the heated Wellington rental market was a "problem of success". The rental squeeze was a concern for people looking for accommodation in the capital, but he believed the Wellington City Council understood the problem, he said. "I hope they [the council] are working hard to enable the development that's needed," he said. "Wellington hasn't experienced pressure on its housing market for quite a long time. And as long as they respond quickly, they'll be able to deal with it." Mr English maintained housing was not as big an issue as some said. "No, I don't think there's a housing crisis". A renter from the suburb of Brooklyn said she, her partner and their newborn baby live in a house with rats in the walls. She said it was covered in black mould when they moved in. They could not afford something better so were reluctantly renewing their lease. RatsA Brooklyn renter says she is living with rodents because she can't afford to move. Photo: 123RF For that reason she asked RNZ not to use her name. When asked what she made of Mr English's comment, she said, "Success for whom?" "We went to a whole bunch of open homes and you just see so many people that are in similar situations to us, or have more kids, it's just impossible. "Is the city, are the councillors, successful because a whole bunch of people in their city can't find a place to live? It's just stupid." Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said Mr English's comment showed he was out of touch. "This is a housing market that is beginning to look like Auckland and some of the other markets around the country - it's enriching landlords, speculators and those who own their own homes, but it's impoverishing everyone else, including the half of the population that are renters. "This is not good news," Mr Twyford said. At a public meeting on renting in Wellington last night, social housing provider Dwell chief executive Alison Cadman said there was a housing need in Wellington when she started the job 13 years ago. "I hoped at that time I'd stand here 13 years later, today, and say things are better - but they're just a whole lot worse," she told the meeting, which was organised by the Labour Party. "On top of being a whole lot worse, I just think the stories are a lot sadder and a lot more complex as well." Ms Cadman said since 2001 the Wellington region had lost more than 1200 social houses. The region was going backwards "big-time", she said. by Benedict Collins

the Vancouver rat project
I smell a (Vancouver) rat   Recently ACES pest control attended the NPMA meeting in Seattle- Washington State USA.  Dr. Chelsea Himsworth gave an update on the study and how they are following various rat populations of Norway Rats in the downtown Vancouver area. This study is the first study in the world to observe a rat population in the wild, by catching, tagging, releasing and observing their habits. One of the  focuses  of the study is  disease. Not only what type of disease the rats have but can their  disease transfer from   to humans and  can the rats catch diseases from humans too? Here is an introdction to the project from Ada Slivinski.   "Pest control companies in Vancouver have said 2015 was a record-setting year for calls about rodents. Brett Johnson, president of the Structural Pest Management Association of B.C. told the CBC, "There’s been an increase for sure." We don’t know how big an increase because politicians turn a blind eye to the problem  refusing to study, let alone address, the issue. Rodents of all kinds carry disease. As much as we’d like to think Black Death or rat-associated Bubonic Plague outbreaks will stay in the Middle Ages, unfortunately this disease isn’t bound to the history books. There have been 13 outbreaks of the nefarious disease between 2009 and 2013, including places like Peru, China and as many as 600 cases in Madagascar. Dr. Chelsea Himsworth, lead researcher for the Vancouver Rat Project, said there is a pronounced knowledge gap in Canada when it comes to rats. The rodent outbreak is not being taken seriously by political leaders as a potential health hazard. Mayor Gregor Robertson has said in the past that the increased rodent sightings couldn’t possibly be linked to the city’s mandatory food scrap composting program, despite the fact that the jump seemed to happen around that time. Proponents of the green bins argue that nothing has changed except the location of food waste  what was previously in garbage bins has just been moved to another container. But the containers are filled and re-filled with nothing but rotting food, tough to clean, and their contents are seldom bagged, making them attractive to rodents. Last year, TransLink received complaints about infestations in SkyTrain stations and rats took over the playground of a local daycare  located adjacent to several green bins  to the point where children were no longer allowed to play outside. Himsworth has found that Vancouver rats are infected with a number of zoonotic pathogens, including the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)  never-before seen in rats. Her research shows the rats are likely contracting it from infected people in the Downtown Eastside and though the superbug hasn’t yet made the leap back from rats to humans, that transmission pattern is not unlikely. Himsworth said rats can be a sponge, soaking up bacteria like E. coli through their contact with human sewage. It all sounds pretty scary. So why aren’t officials taking this concern seriously? When interviewed by the Georgia Straight, a spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health said there was no cause for concern and that disease from rats was unlikely to be transmitted to humans. HealthLink BC’s recommendation for getting rid of rodents is to kill them with traps, but the Vancouver Rat Project found this strategy could actually make the problem worse by causing other rats in the area to move. All it takes is one rat carrying the bubonic pathogen to jump on a ship headed to Vancouver to bring the disease here. As for MRSA, our rats already have that. Vancouver rats present a real health hazard, and it’s time politicians woke up to this fact."  by Ada Slivinski.   Dr Bobby Corrighan one of the Worlds foremost experts on rodents recommeneds  that if you want to learn about rodents,  follow this ground breaking-world first study.  ACES pest control  will keep you up to date!

rat exterminator Henderson wasp control murrays bay
Brazen rats ruin riverside picnics    Rats down by the Waikato River are being kept well fed by people enjoying a leisurely bite to eat and leaving their scraps behind. A mischief of rats is going rogue in the city. With the promise of an easy feed from an abundance of rubbish bin leftovers, the natural flight response of Hamilton's riverside rats is being dulled. The brazen little beggars at Hamilton's Swarbrick's Landing are out in broad daylight and have even taken to beckoning for scraps, standing upright on their hind legs while park users dip into their hot chips. It's odd behaviour. Rats are fearful creatures and largely nocturnal but Landcare Research wildlife ecologist John Innes said they are adapting. "Swarbrick's Landing is used for a lot of picnicking and people are leaving a lot of food around and Norway rats, the species people are seeing in the daytime, they respond really readily to food supplies like that," Innes said. There is also no poisoning done in the area. It's too dangerous for users of the neighbouring Day's Park dog exercise area. There are plenty rats there. In a small stand of harakeke and cabbage trees, 10 metres long and wide, about 20 rats come out to feed on a handful of fried potato chips left scattered on the ground. When sparrows flock to the chips, the rats duck for cover. When the birds fly off, the rats emerge. A short walk away, next to the council-owned barbecue, a dog leaps around a low growing bush overlooking the Waikato River. He's unsuccessful in his hunt and leaves. The danger passed and a few minutes later, the rats return. Pest Controller Jason is surprised by the behaviour. "Rats are normally nocturnal and to see they out during the day is unusual," Jason said. "If you see them during the day, usually they are a problem and quite a big problem." "What that means is that there is a large population of them and they are competing for food and they are having to get out for the day and scavenge for food rather than at night time when they prefer." Rats are neophobic critters - they have a fear of anything new or unfamiliar. They have poor eyesight and will avoid anything in their environment - even food - until they feel safe. They are a "huge problem", Jason said, especially near the river which is a migration super highway. Typically, in Hamilton, he'll install a two month pest control programme for Hamilton home owners. If you live by the river, it's year-round monitoring. "[Two months] is fine for other parts of town but by the river, they are rampant so you just can't get away with that. "As soon as you get the ones there and take the bait stations away, they just move in." The Swarbrick's rats have become comfortable said Hamilton City Council parks and open spaces manager Sally Sheedy and this spring has seen an upswing in residents contacting council about it. In response, Sheedy is introducing a new weapon in the war of the rodents - chocolate. "We'll be using, in assistance with [Waikato] Regional Council, some Goodnature traps in that location," Sheedy said. "They have nice chocolate sauce applied and the rats go for that and they are, obviously, killed in that trap but it doesn't pose an issue in terms of an actual toxic bait." So if dogs find a rat carcass and eats it, they won't ingest poison, she said. Council have started a pest control operation in 11 city parks - something they do on a six-monthly and yearly rotation. Onukutara Gully, which runs from Porritt Stadium at Chedworth to Wairere Drive near Hukanui Primary School, is one of the areas to be hit but is a special case. Predator-Free Hamilton have been radio monitoring the movements of ship rats and Norway rats in the gully and a toxin free trapping programme begins there on Saturday. Monitoring found most rats have a range of about 100m to 150m and while there is no data on how many rats there are in Hamilton, Sheedy said "they are not very abundant". "What you are seeing isn't an explosion in rat population, it is just the population that we have." It's a big population, though, said Waikato Regional Council biodiversity officer Dave Byers and conditions are ripe for breeding. "There are quite a lot of rats around at the moment and that's come about, mainly from the mild winters, the last two winters that we've had," Byers said. And, like the beech and rimu forests in the South Island where rats are converging in epic numbers, Waikato is experiencing a 'seed mast' where an abundance of seed drops from flowering trees. "If there is lots of food, there will be lots of breeding going on as well."   Rat facts  A group of rats is called a mischief. Norway rats can have up to 22 babies in one litter but usually they have 8 or 9 babies. Rats constantly gnaw to wear their teeth down as their incisors keep growing at a rate if about 11-14cm in one year.   by ELTON RIKIHANA SMALLMAN

Rat control new lynn cockroach eradication newmarket
Rats on the rampage in inner city growth areas   Rats are on the rampage in Sydney's inner suburbs with the proliferation of new cafes and booming rental market creating perfect conditions for the rodents to flourish. Older suburbs close to the city where landlords fail to carry out maintenance and residents dump their rubbish in plastic bags are creating havens for Sydney's two major rat species. Businesses and residents are reporting sightings of rats, including brazen appearances in full view on streets and in backyards. Some residents complained of rats almost the size of cats, but rat experts say the brown or sewer rat grow to a maximum of 25cm with a tail of similar length, while black or roof rats are smaller. Stuart Jackson, who has been treating rat infestations in Sydney for 40 years, told news.com.au that an increase in demand for rat control has seen him called out to outbreaks at commercial and residential properties. "It has always been consistent but there is an upsurge in calls particularly in the older suburbs like Surry Hills, Haymarket and in the city itself," Jackson, of Expert Pest Control, said. "There's the old dunny lanes, neglected properties with inadequate waste control, poor hygiene standards and places where they dump their rubbish in plastic bags in the backyard. "Plastic bags are no deterrent to a rat and the waste goes down a drain where [the brown rat] Rattus Norvegicus live. "I was called to an advertising agency where they have meetings in the boardroom and watch the rats running up the wall from the property next door. "A lot of it could be easily prevented, but you have $2m to $3m properties in the inner city next to a rental where the landlord doesn't care and where there's broken pipes or tiles and the rats burrow underneath. "And there are restaurants which just don't dispose of their waste properly. I won't name them." Jackson described a "horror" scene he once witnessed in an inner city restaurant where he was called in and found 50 rats clustered around the hot water service under the stairs close to the restaurant's garbage compactor room. He has also seen rats running through serving kitchens and under sinks in high density restaurant areas like Haymarket, in Sydney's CBD. Ecologist and rodent plague expert Professor Mathew Crowther of Sydney University said that while current rat numbers in Sydney "could not be called a rat plague, there are more rats than people in Sydney and we have created the perfect habitat for them". Brown rats live in drains, sewers, under pavers and in dry areas under piles of wood or furniture discarded in yards. Black rats, Rattus Rattus, are the rodents that can be heard scurrying around in roofs at night when they venture out to feed on garbage, snails and other bugs on shrubs, citrus fruit and even macadamia nuts. "They are very agile and live in wall or roof cavities. They forage at night and you can hear them when you are lying in bed," Jackson said. "Rattus Norvegicus will burrow and excavate under foundations and broken concrete and then come out at night as scavengers. Occasionally you will see one running along your back fence. "You can do everything possible yourself like repairing holes and removing rubbish, but if your neighbours don't anything the problems with rats on your property will continue." Rats, which arrived in Australia by ship with the First Fleet have become endemic from the harbour's edge up to Oxford Street in Sydney's Darlinghurst and beyond. In 2014, it was reported to a United Nations aged care conference that hordes of rats were "moving up the hill" as wharves were being knocked down for the Barangaroo harbourside development, and relocating to Millers Point where residents were using towels to barricade their bedrooms to keep them out. But Prof Crowther said rats lived in every town and city in Australia, in relative density to human occupation and food supply. "In Sydney you will see them around the parks at night, near the Harbour, in tunnels, around Central Station," he said. "There's a localised population near the law building on the University of Sydney campus, wherever there's food and waste. "They'll eat pet food and bird seed, protein fats and grains, if you leave that out." Prof Crowther said rat predators included birds, cats and snakes, and that in less built up areas of Sydney large rat populations encouraged brown snakes, the world's second most venomous land snake. "Rats are very destructive. They live for about two years and they will chew through anything. "We haven't had a rat plague for a while. We have mice plagues mainly in the wheat belt area. "In a plague they will eat more grain and reproduce with more and bigger litters, and eat and spoil our foods until the plague peaks and falls away, or they are poisoned." Diseases spread by rats have included the rare infection rat lungwort, which can be fatal, and bubonic plague, which was brought to Australia by a genuine rat plague in Sydney in the early 1900s. But rats currently living in Australian cities do spread salmonella, E coli and leptospirosis, a bacterial disease causing lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and even death. The diseases can be contracted through touching or eating  rat urine and faeces. Canadian researchers who studied rat droppings found bacteria that cause diarrhoea and intestinal diseases, and identified 18 new viruses which potentially can infect humans. Dr Cadhla Firth, a CSIRO scientist who studies the behaviour of rats and other vector borne disease spreaders, said that the more dense urbanisation became, the humans living in them would have to deal with rats and other animals. "The more we move into cities, the more we are going to have to start wrestling with the animals and bugs that live among us," Dr Firth said. The City of Sydney said rats were "an ongoing issue across Sydney" and "evidence from the City's rat baiting program doesn't indicate any recent increase in rat numbers". "However, it is not uncommon to see more rats in summer as people spend more time outdoors," a council spokesperson said. "There's no accurate way to count the number of rats in the city. "Winter is the most active time of year for rats feeding. Generally, rats will seek out food and water close to the nest or in familiar locations." The council advised property owners to remove overgrown vegetation and accumulated rubbish which might attract vermin. HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF RAT INFESTATION ● Do not leave out pet food or bird seed ● Don't leave rubbish outside in bags ● Store rubbish in metal or heavy plastic bins ● Remove piles of timber, old furniture or debris from backyards ● Patch or seal holes in your garage or basement and repair broken tiles and concrete. - news.com.au

Mass rat sterilisation
Mass rat sterilisation could be the answer to New Zealand's pest free future  ContraPest would make female rats incapable of producing babies. Making rats infertile on a mass scale could be the answer to New Zealand's pest problem.  While the technology to make rodents infertile has been trialled in places like New York conservation minister Maggie Barry said it would likely still be a few years before it could be implemented here.  Barry floated the idea at a funding announcement in New Plymouth on Thursday for Taranaki's Mounga Project, which aims to ramp up pest eradication and native bird re-introduction in Egmont National Park over the next 10 years.  Maggie Barry, Jamie Tuuta and Steven Joyce announced four new investors for the Taranaki Mounga Project on Thursday. "There's still a need for 1080, we have to do what we have to do in the meantime to bring predators down to a manageable level," she said.  After pests were culled back with 1080, Barry said it would pave the way for the Department of Conservation to use pest trapping technologies that were only just starting to emerge.  The Taranaki Mounga Project aims to reduce predator numbers in Egmont National Park and ramp up native bird re-introduction. This could include ContraPest, a permanent contraceptive for female rats which when consumed, as a bait, kills off the rat's eggs in the womb and hence its ability to have babies.  These technologies could come in many other forms like self-resetting traps, drones or utilising GPS tracking to kill pests, economic development minister Steven Joyce said.  "Technology is becoming available to actually help us take on this predator free by 2050 challenge," he said.  Joyce said making rats infertile with bait was on the cards for New Zealand, but was still "awhile away" from being implemented here. "With technology like drones or GPS it's going to make it easier to deliver large swathes of predator free areas." However Joyce said it would be "a while yet" before the likes of ContraPest was used in New Zealand.  He said there wasn't a "final pathway" on how to tackle the predator free New Zealand by 2050 goal but believed it was "likely to be doable". "We're not looking for a silver bullet, it will take a range of methods to achieve our goal." As well as announcing future predator control methods Joyce and Barry were in New Plymouth to announce new investors for the Taranaki Mounga Project, on top of the $28 million the crown has put in to get the ball rolling.  DOC, the NEXT Foundation and Taranaki iwi were the primary partners and investors of the project but have now been joined by Shell New Zealand, TSB Community Trust, Jasmine Social Investments and Landcare Research.  Taranaki Mounga Project chairman Jamie Tuuta said all eight Taranaki iwi viewed the mountain as their ancestor and collaboration was key to achieving a pest-free goal for the national park. "So we can enjoy the bird song on Mt Taranaki, because sadly today it is silent," he said.  Tuuta said the project was an ambitious but necessary vision to safeguard Taranaki's ecology for future generations. The first stage of the mounga project was spearheaded by DOC with a non-toxic bait drop last week to draw predators to the area before the poisonous 1080 can be dropped in the same area.  This year's 1080 drop will be the last of DOC's six-yearly drops in the park before it moves to dropping the toxin every three years at half the dosage.  JEREMY WILKINSON

lets here it for rats
Let’s hear it for rats   It’s time to abandon our weird fear of these spectacular creatures   ‘I really, really hate rats,’ Sir David Attenborough has boasted. ‘If a rat appears in a room, I have to work hard to prevent myself from jumping on the nearest table.’ But why? Sir David’s answers are disappointingly feeble. A rat had once run across his bed. They live in sewers. They show no fear and ‘invade the area where you think you are boss’. It is odd that a naturalist can hate an animal for simply doing what animals do — survive — and rather better than most. But almost everything about how humans view rats is illogical. Any social historian looking to prove that an ounce of primitive emotion will outweigh a pound of rational thought should study our creepy rat phobia, as unchanging down the years as it is unthinking. Rats are a miracle of evolution —resourceful, intelligent and generally fascinating. And yet they are loathed more than any other animal on earth. Our attitude is strangely medieval, and we’re proud of it. Even the kindest, most reasonable of people will cheerfully brag of their prejudice. A regular stand-by for tabloids is a story about ‘super rats’, invariably illustrated with a false-perspective photograph. Recently, the Guardian devoted its ‘Big Read’ spot to ‘Man vs Rats’, describing the animals as ‘our perfect nightmare’. There is nothing new in this madness. The French biologist Léon Calmette, in his 1904 paper Declarons la guerre aux rats, announced that if rats weren’t exterminated, they’d bring about the end of humanity. They appear in villainous roles in literature, notably crawling all over the works of Orwell. ‘Of all the horrors in the world – a rat!’ gasps Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four. A famous New Yorker piece called ‘The Rats on the Waterfront’, written in 1944 by Joseph Mitchell, listed the usual hysterical claims: rats kill babies, try to eat vagrants, bite the necks of chickens out of a sheer lust for killing. Apparently, they also ‘snarl’. (Snarl?) According to other reports, there are no limits to a rat’s sins. One claims they are so sex-obsessed that they will mate with a corpse; another that they are motivated by greed and hedonism. A rat-catcher in Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary Rats swears they can read the warning signs on packets of poison. Yet the more I have seen of these astonishing animals, the more I have come to admire them. When I was small, my brother had a pet rat called Whiskers that he kept inside his shirt. It was loyal; when placed on a table and surrounded by humans, Whiskers would sniff everybody’s hands before running up his master’s arm. Years later, my son Xan had a similarly endearing rat called Jaboa. For its last night on earth — it contracted respiratory disease, a common problem among pet rats — it slept on my bed. I see wild rats several times a week and occasionally, when their presence around our hen-house becomes a problem, have to kill them with the help of my brilliant ratting dog (a more humane method than poison or an air-gun in my experience). I admire them, even as enemies. Their reaction when cornered is not to run or attack, but to freeze and try to make themselves invisible. They are lithe, good jumpers and superb swimmers. I am impressed by how they use anything and everything to survive, gaining sustenance from gnawing on old bones, plastic or the glue on books, adapting to whatever a hostile environment throws at them. Such is my fascination, and the irrational fear that rats engender, that I wrote a novel called The Twyning, set in 19th-century London, in which rats are the heroes while humans, except for two abandoned teenage children, are the aggressors. From a position of bias, I think my epic tale — I envisaged it as a ratty War and Peace — would make a more interesting film than Spurlock’s gross-out documentary, which Variety magazine described as a ‘grisly marathon of murder’, pointing out that every trick in the book is used to quicken viewers’ disgust for its subject. Of course, in parts of the world, rats are a menace, eating food humans grow for themselves, causing environmental damage and spreading disease. But none of that explains our paranoiac fear. There is, after all, so much to admire. In a recent experiment, scientists at the University of Chicago discovered that, like humans and intelligent apes, rats have empathy. Given the choice between a chocolate treat and freeing another caged rat — one it has never seen before, incidentally — a lab rat will choose the noble path. Perhaps behind our sinister hatred there lies an uncomfortable truth. Rats are clever and exploit the world around them for their own ends. They are competitive with other species. They are highly sexed and mate all year round. Remind you of anyone? Terence Blacker