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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rodents on the rise in Ipswich

  Mat Bihi       Wednesday, January 25, 2012
WITH rats breeding up in abandoned flood-affected properties, pest controllers are warning the vermin could become a major problem yet again. Reports of high rates of infestations follow the rat population explosion last winter in the flood-hit Goodna area.

Ripley-based Common Courtesy Pest Control owner Brian Kneebone said he was attending more rat control jobs this summer than in any of his previous 30 years in the industry. "Jobs are up, and some places use much more bait than usual," Mr Kneebone said.

"If rodents are this bad in summer, then people will probably start noticing them even more when they seek shelter in winter. "You'll (usually) get some rats in the summer, but nothing like this. "We had one job in Ipswich where we found 120 rats, and that's only what we found.

"They're particularly bad in Goodna and Forest Lake, where you have vacant properties so people might not realise what's going on until they move back in." But Mr Kneebone said people needed to be practical when it came to rat control.

"Not every house has rats, but they are bad this year," Mr Kneebone said. "You're going to smell and hear something if there is a problem. "The best thing home owners can do ahead of winter is clean up to deter the rats. "Get rid of any rubbish and tidy up overgrown gardens, and also seal up any dog or chook food." 

Councillor Paul Tully said he had not received any complaints since Ipswich City Council used fox terriers and baits to combat the initial plague. "We're under the impression that they weren't completely eliminated, but they're under control," Cr Tully said.

"They are in the Goodna area and it could be an issue for another 12 months. "Abandoned buildings are unusual and they make it difficult because rats can go unnoticed for some time and breed up." Cr Tully said council had taken a number of proactive steps to reduce rat numbers.

"We have served a number of notices in relation to people not mowing and maintaining their property," he said. He advised anyone who notices rats in the area to contact his office on 3818 6900.

Rat facts

  • A group of rats is called a pack or a mischief
  • A pair of rats can reproduce at a rate of six to eight offspring every two months
  • Diseases linked to rats include classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease and the bubonic plague


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