Rats immune to poison

Two Berkshire towns plagued by rats which have become immune to poison Two towns in Berkshire are suffering a rise in the rat population because vermin have developed near-immunity to standard poisons, pest control experts have warned. Almost all animals used in laboratories either die in testing or are killed at the end of the experiment Photo: GETTY   2:27PM BST 03 May 2009   The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is calling on the Government to allow the use of more powerful pesticides to contain Britain’s growing rodent population. It is estimated that their numbers have swelled by 13 per cent in the past year to more than 50 million, one for every person living in England. Infestations in some towns and cities have reportedly doubled in the past 12 months. Exeter council has seen a 66 per cent rise in vermin call-outs in 2008, while there was a 40 per cent rise in Salford. The BPCA says the situation has also escalated in two Berkshire towns, which it has not named, because the local rat population is now almost completely resistant to the standard poisons. Oliver Madge, chief executive of the BPCA, said: “We are very concerned about this from a public health point of view.” A Freedom of Information request found Reading Borough Council tackled 428 rodent infestations in homes between April 2008 and January 2009, and 646 between April 2005 and April 2006. Local newspapers there have reported that the town’s ratcatchers are so busy they are facing a three-week backlog. The association will hold talks with the Department of Health this week about what can be done to control the vermin. Pest control experts want the law changed so that two powerful rodenticides, brodifacoum and flocoumafen, can be applied outdoors. Currently their use is only allowed inside properties. Other EU countries allow the use of the powerful poisons outside, but there is concern this endangers birds and pets. Rats and mice are capable of spreading more than 35 diseases, including a fever inducing nausea and muscle aches passed to humans either via a bite or the rodent’s urine. Years of mild winters and wet summers have helped to their population to multiply, as well as the increase in recycling. Mr Madge said: “We are encouraged to recycle, but the rats tunnel under compost and they find it’s nice and warm and they have food.”   From the: The Telegraph on wednesday 10 october 2012