WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18: Are mice or rats becoming unwelcome guests on your property?
Government can rid you of rodents with its free Vector Control service.
Contact the Ministry of Health department and an inspector will come to your property to lay down poison pellets.
Vector Control used tin cans and bait boxes in the past but is now focusing solely on bait boxes as the safest method.
They are available at cost for $15 and are tamperproof, preventing pets or other animals gaining access to the poison.
Ross Furbert, Vector Control supervisory foreman, said: “We don’t want any non-target poisons, whereas tin cans are unsafe when it comes to animals.
“We respond to complaints by the public. We will send an inspector out and if there is evidence of rodents they will treat the property accordingly.
“But it is not just about going out and putting down poison.
“There may be items which need to be addressed on the property itself, such as unfinished masonry, overhanging foliage, or cables leading onto the roof, and the rats then getting through the eves.
“Harbourage is another problem, such as people building up piles of wood or rubble, giving rats a place to nest or hide. So the property needs to be clear of debris.”
The free Government service is only for the outside of a property.
Anyone with mice or rats inside their house or premises should call a commercial company to eradicate the vermin.
The poison contains anticoagulants, which prevent blood from clotting, and this causes internal bleeding in rats, leading to death.
The two species of rat in Bermuda are the Norway rat, which burrows and nests on the ground, and the roof rat, which lives along wires and trees.
Signs of rat trouble are: Gnawing, such as on doors and food; rub marks on walls; tracks and footprints; and runways — rats run back and forth along the edges and borders of properties.
Mr Furbert said the presence of rats in Bermuda was “nothing to be concerned about”.
“We’ve put programmes in place over the years and it’s improved the situation.
“We can’t eradicate them completely but we can control them, and we’ve had a lot of successes.
“But rats survive because of people’s habits and so everyone can do their bit.
“For example, people may leave excess dog or cat food outside, leave fallen fruit from trees on the ground, or have food scraps in their bins the night before, rather than putting them out the morning of trash collection.
“We recommend people put their scraps in a Ziploc bag and spray it with ammonia if they are putting them in the garbage bin.
“It’s people’s responsibility to look after each part of the island where they live and to make it rodent-free.
“We’re not poison-postmen, we look after the public health.
“It’s people’s responsibility to look after their own properties.”
To contact Vector Control, call 278-5397.