During this time of year when there tends to be heavy rain and occasional flooding, the ground becomes saturated with rainwater running down hillsides and from fields onto paths and roads. This is often combined with temperatures dropping below freezing. It’s after flooding, therefore, that you might become aware of a rise in the rodent population.
This occurs because flooding means that rats are forced out of their burrows and need to look for new sources of shelter and food. This can go on for some time even after flood waters have receded because the depth of the water table itself will take longer to subside.
Rats are very strong swimmers and able to cover long distances when seeking out new burrows and food sources. They can enter housing in a number of ways, such as via cracks, plumbing or any damaged pipework. They can also swim through the U-bend of a toilet.
Risk of disease
Rodents spread diseases and the risk increases during flooding. They represent a health risk to people and other animals in places which have flooded, and this is spread via their urine. Leptospires are present in rodent urine, and these spread disease. Furthermore, they are able to survive for longer outside the rat’s body when the weather is extremely wet.
These leptospires can cause Weil’s disease or Leptospirosis. Another transmittable pathogen is Hantavirus which can be transmitted to people via water and food that has been contaminated by rodent waste – http://www.rentokil.co.uk/news/2016/01/11/rodent-problems-after-flooding.html.
This ability to spread disease is the main reason why rodents are at the top of the pest control list for specialists such as http://www.vvenv.co.uk/ – even more so than other typical complaints such as nuisance bird management services.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you do not catch one of the diseases spread by rats.
Ensure you cover any grazes or cuts with waterproof plasters and make sure you wear waterproof clothing, particularly gloves, if you are dealing with a rodent problem. You should avoid swallowing floodwater or water known to be contaminated and wash your hands thoroughly before you handle food and drink.
When repairing a property after a flood take steps to ensure it’s rodent-proof and call in experts for help to deal with any rat sightings in your home.