Science and Environment

Floods keep rats 'at home,' people in danger

- Katherine Adraneda -

MANILA, Philippines – Rainy days are here again. And flooded thoroughfares in the metropolis are proof that summer is really over.

With the onset of the wet season, however, comes the deluge of various diseases from simple colds or cough to illnesses brought about by viruses, including that which rats carry.

Rats are said to run from floods, and might deem the home as a safe haven. And once rats infest the home, they may be difficult to remove, which then result in sickness among household members.

Last June 13, Bayer, a leading environmental science company, held another Racumin RatAttack advocacy to boost public awareness on the many dangers posed by rats to man and his environment, in Barangay Barangka, Marikina City, a model district for cleanliness.

This year’s theme of the Racumin RatAttack is “Protecting your family and community,” reflecting the company’s call that by having a rat-free city, people actually protect their families and communities from diseases and illnesses.

Mari-Gail Lasam-Cruz, marketing manager of Bayer Advanced Racumin in the Philippines, said rats are considered vectors of 70 diseases, including salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium, leptospirosis, eosinophilic meningitis, murine typhus, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which, in particular, can be deadly for humans.

“Rat infestations should never be taken lightly,” Cruz warned. “A staggering 3.6 million rats are born each day and each one of them is a potential carrier of many life-threatening diseases.”

During Bayer’s Racumin RatAttack event in Marikina, Cruz told the participants that rats multiply really fast. Female rats, she pointed out, reach sexual maturity at five weeks old and go into heat every four to five days from then on unless they are pregnant or nursing.

Cruz added that each female rat can have as many as seven litters a year, with each litter producing an average of 10 to 12 baby rats, which will eventually reproduce, too, as they mature only after a few weeks.

Following the lecture on rat infestation, the Racumin RatAttack public service campaign team distributed educational leaflets as well as Racumin products to jumpstart rodent control in the community.

“By simply depriving these pests the food, water, and harborage they need, you are already doing a lot to reduce the population,” Cruz said.

Rat salmonella

According to Cruz, rat salmonella, for instance, can be spread through rat urine and droppings. Similarly, leptospirosis occurs most frequently during the wet season when there is a greater chance of contact with water contaminated with the leptospira bacteria, which can be found in rat urine or droppings.

Cruz stressed that rats are intelligent and adaptable animals, as they have the ability to outwit the several methods with which humans have tried to eradicate them.

These methods - snap traps, glue boards, zapper traps, and in most recent years, instant-kill rat poisons - have proven unsuccessful through the years.

Cruz added that rats are astonishing at avoiding detection, “so even if you don’t see them running around your house, it doesn’t mean that they are not there.”

According to Cruz, rats are most active during the first half of the night when food is abundant, while mice are generally active at night, both right after dark and between midnight and dawn.

“Making sure that homes and communities are clean and rat-free is one of the first steps... But even if community involvement as well as good housekeeping and sanitation are basic and vital factors in rat control, especially at this time of the wet season, it does not hurt to utilize a handy partner to get rid of rats for the long-term,” she said.

Cruz said Bayer offers protection beyond jackets and raincoats through its Racumin Rodent Control System, a comprehensive range of products designed to effectively deal with unwanted and dangerous rat infestations.

Racumin Rodent Control System

The Racumin Rodent Control System comprises the Racumin Paste, Racumin Ready-Made Bait, and Racumin Tracking Powder - all apparently designed to outsmart even the “more intelligent” rodent in the house.

Cruz said Racumin Paste contains an ingredient that lessens its palatability to other creatures while being practically irresistible to rats, while Racumin Tracking Powder is effective as bait and would help in tailing and eventually identifying where the rats dwell.

“Racumin Paste in easy-to-use sachets can be placed whenever one suspects that rats are threatening his home and community. Racumin Tracking Powder, meanwhile, is effective as both bait and tracking powder. Rats will lick the Racumin Tracking Powder that stick to their fur and get a lethal dose while leaving marks that can help you find out where they nest,” Cruz said.

Meanwhile, Racumin Ready-Made Bait, Cruz said, takes advantage of rats’ nibbling behavior and love for cereals to lure them to their death. This product is made from fragrant rice, which rats really find enticing.

Racumin, which contains Coumatetralyl, has a delayed killing action, taking effect after a couple of days so that rats would not even notice that it was actually the product that killed their fellow rodents.

This way, Cruz said, rats do not develop coyness to the bait.

“When everyone does his part, it is only then that we and our families can be totally safe and free from these menacing rodents,” Cruz said.

“We should all be responsible for the cleanliness of our households. With rats, we need to be more vigilant, and not let them slowly take over our homes,” Cruz added.










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