An expert has warned of a new breed of “superrodents” that could harm human health. Is it really asking too much to just have a normal year?
Over the past two decades, pest mice and rats in the UK have become resistant to a common type of poison used to kill them.
According to the Mirror, 95 percent of mice and 78 percent of rats have evolved genes that help them tolerate toxins known as anticoagulant rodenticides — a common pesticide that works by stopping the rodent’s blood from clotting.
This may be cause for celebration for the mice and rats who don’t want to die after accidentally ingesting some poison, but it’s not good news for humans.
The pest expert Dr. Alan Buckle told the news agency that the gene, found in rodents across the country, could pose a “hazard to human and animal health”.
He said: “The continued use of anticoagulant rodenticides against resistant rats or mice has serious disadvantages.
These guys are becoming resistant to common types of rat poison. Credit: Matthijs Kuijpers / Alamy Stock Photo
“These include incomplete control of rodents resulting in threats to human and animal health, more rapid spread of surviving resistant rodents, and long-term survival of resistant pests carrying toxic residues that could then be eaten by predators.”
The British Pest Control Association told the Sun that the spread of these so-called “super rats” has been accelerated as people try to treat pest infections themselves.
The BCPA said: “The problem is that people who try to treat problems themselves are likely to make the problem worse.
“The rodents have become resistant, and in some cases immune, to commercially available venoms to the point where they actually feed on the toxic pellets, meaning their size and strength increases.
“Stronger rodenticides can be more effective, but most are subject to strict legislation and can only be used by professional pest controllers.
An expert has warned of “super rodents”. Credit: PetStockBoys / Alamy Stock Photo
“As such, it has become very important to ensure that the infestation is treated by experts in the field.”
They explained how the ‘super rats’ continue to thrive, adding: “Normal rats are killed by poison, so these resistant species take their place.
“It is only natural that their numbers should increase and there could be a significant public health risk if their population is not controlled.
“Rats need to be treated by a professional pest controller who knows the area in question, its likely habitat, and how to treat a particular strain.”