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Rodenticide Use in Houses

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The government report 'Rodent infestations in domestic properties in England' indicates the level of rodent problems in and around housing in the UK. The report arose from the English House Condition Survey and shows that older properties in poor condition in rural areas with pets, livestock or other animals kept in gardens experienced the highest levels of mouse and rat activity inside and rat activity outside. Specifically, the report reveals that for 2001, 1.4% of all types of properties surveyed had mouse activity inside, 2.9% had rat activity outside and 0.3% had rat activity inside. Although these figures do not appear to be very serious, upon closer inspection the number of people subjected to rodent infestations in the UK is not insignificant. There are 26.4 million households in the UK with an average of 2.4 people per household. When these figures are considered with the DEFRA figures, approximately 79,200 UK households equating to 190,080 people are subjected to rat activity indoors every year. Furthermore, approximately 765,600 UK households equating to 1,837,440 people are subjected to rat activity outside. Regarding mice, approximately 369,600 UK households equating to 887,040 people are subjected to mouse activity indoors every year. As a consequence of incidences of rodents being found in close association with human dwellings the need for rodent control has taken on increasing significance. The use of anticoagulant-based rodenticides is the most common approach to control of these pests and these are routinely used in domestic premises. Their use often causes alarm, but without adequate pest control measures, the spread of rodent related diseases and damage to property would be significantly greater. Rats, particularly the Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus, and mice, such as the house mouse, Mus domesticus, are often referred to as commensal rodents because of their close association with human activity. The derivation of the term commensalism refers to a sharing of 'the table' and the rodents located within domestic premises clearly benefit from their association with humans. Humans, when rodents are present, do not benefit from this close association. Indeed, in many cases, they suffer damage to their property, health related problems and distress. On the balance of evidence, it is clear that the need for rodent control in domestic premises using rodenticides is justified, based on the threat they pose to public health and wellbeing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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