Maidenhead bridge
2020 was a year where we all learned to adapt to the new normal, food shortages due to panic buying, toilet rolls becoming a rarity, Boris Johnson's’ nightly briefing; no need to wear masks, now the requirement to wear masks, eat out to help out then back to lockdown, it certainly was a strange year. 
 
Meanwhile we were sensationalised with stories of dolphins swimming in deserted Venetian canals, cougars roaming streets of north American towns and how clean our planet was becoming, a case of a positive from a negative. 
 

Rats in Maidenhead 

One animal that made some headlines throughout the year were rats, and the Rise of the Rats as the specialist urban survivors that adapted to our changing behaviour and flourished as a result. Rats have been a problem in Maidenhead for years, they have built their colonies based on a constant supply of food and the source of that never ending banquet was directly from our dinner plates. 
 
Pubs, restaurants, shops, schools and even offices all have large commercial waste bins which are topped up with rubbish on a daily basis. A portion of all of this rubbish is edible; waste food from restaurants and the remains of a packed lunch from a high-rise office block all mean that these bins contain food and will be the dining experience of choice for the local rats. 
Rat outdoors

Lockdown has changed rat behaviour 

One animal that made some headlines throughout the year were rats, and the Rise of the Rats as the specialist urban survivors that adapted to our changing behaviour and flourished as a result. Rats have been a problem in Maidenhead for years, they have built their colonies based on a constant supply of food and the source of that never ending banquet was directly from our dinner plates. 
 
Pubs, restaurants, shops, schools and even offices all have large commercial waste bins which are topped up with rubbish on a daily basis. A portion of all of this rubbish is edible; waste food from restaurants and the remains of a packed lunch from a high-rise office block all mean that these bins contain food and will be the dining experience of choice for the local rats. 
Rats in rubbish bags

Never under estimate the rat 

Rats are incredibly clever creatures, and we should never underestimate their ability to adapt to a changing environment, rats have cunning, a great memory and they are able to ‘learn’. A rat that has triggered a snap trap but not been caught will never return to either that trap or any other trap that has the same bait on it; they learn from their own experience and from the experiences of other rats. 
 
Our method of controlling rats is predominantly using traps and it’s not uncommon to catch one rat which the others will then eat – why pass up the chance of a free meal? What happened now is that all the rats that were aware of the misfortune of the “meal” rat will not go near any other traps, we have to resort to changing the bait and the trap type or using traps that we can ‘hide’ so as to trick the rats into the kill zone from then on. 
 
Lockdown has seen a massive rise right across the Country in new rat behaviour, with the easy chance of a meal now removed from the bins, no more dropped chips and kebabs from a Saturday night out and less food to be found in parks and other leisure time locations, rats have taken to new areas to find food and one of those areas are houses in the suburbs. 
rat hanging from a rope

"You dirty rat!" 

Rats have a poor association with man, they have been portrayed as evil and a thing of nightmares; from George Orwells “1984” to James Herbert and “The Rats” and ad hoc references like “You dirty rat” only heighten the fear factor when you find out that you have rats living in the walls or the loft. 
 
We have seen a marked increase of rat infestation in homes across the Maidenhead area which I suspect is because of the shortage of food in their usual haunts, rats need three things in life = food, water and harbourage; somewhere to live. 
 
These three things are found in town centres and business parks, for town centres it will be that downtrodden alley or loading bay where rubbish collects or unused outbuildings that haven’t been properly secured which become home to the rats. In business parks it can be something as simple as a pile of wooden pallets which provide the shelter or the ground beneath a steel storage container that is dry and protected. 
 
If asked most people would associate rats with the sewers and that would be the reason why they get the name Sewer Rat, the correct name is the Norway Rat or Rattus norvegicus to give it its Latin name. Other names that get applied are the common rat, farm rat and brown rat; these are all the same species 
The Norway moniker is an unfortunate and incorrect term rather like Spanish flu, neither of these two originated in the countries that they are named after. The Norway rat got its name as it was noticed coming from trading ships that sailed from Norway in the 18th Century. Our common rat at that time was the black rat or Rattus Rattus which slowly got pushed out by its brown cousin and is now only found in a few sites in the UK, we will find the Norway rat in sewers, but they are more at home living in burrows in the ground. 

Rats in Maidenhead Town Centre 

There are places in Maidenhead town centre, one near Nicholson’s Walk where a portion of the ground is protected by an adjacent building which overhangs, creating a dry zone where rats have burrowed down under the concrete slab that forms the base of the pavement. We have baited these as part of treatments with great success; rats like to live underground and so anywhere that leads to a hidden underground void will be a prime residence for rats. 
 
It is thought the Norway rats originated from central China in the 1300’s, bought to the west with the growth of trade with Asia, evidence suggests that their original habitat was open grass steppes where the ancestors burrowed into the ground for security. 
 
Dry, protected ground is not something that the average person looks at when thinking about rats; however our technicians do as we know that there is a good chance that this is where rats will live. To help business, colleges, schools and any building owner in Maidenhead we deliver a low-cost rodent monitoring service, where permanently secure bait stations assist in the control of rats and mice. We also look closely at the surroundings to see if we have rodent activity that could be migrating into the area. 
rat peeking through a hole rat at night

Rodent monitoring for businesses in Maidenhead 

If you have run a business that is food related you really need a professional monitoring contract to comply with the various pieces of food safety legislation, in your position you must show due diligence to the law and what better way than having a monitoring contract? 
 
Our monitoring incorporates a style of pest control known as Integrated Pest Management or IPM for short, when you include IPM, we are looking at the wider issues such as delivering training, making running repairs to the fabric of the building, cutting back vegetation and waste removal when required. All of this helps to create a more effective environment that deters rats from coming into the area and is proven to be more efficient that purely box checking. 
 
Every business can benefit from a pest control monitoring contract as part of their commitment to the health and safety of their staff, we all work on risk assessments and having a plan in action to deal with both rats and mice lowers any risk to staff. Rats and mice can, and will gnaw through critical cabling and wiring leading to loss of data and the loss of power; both of these can have serious financial implications for businesses and we often provide a monitoring contract post infestation after this event. 
 
Rat coming through a pipe
If you want to know more about how we can help protect your business from the return of rats when lockdown finally lifts, and we get back to some semblance of normal then get in touch via the contact page on our website of call us on 01628 30 20 48. 
Tagged as: Rats
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