Rats and mice are a great nuisance as pests because they can pose a serious threat to human health and property. They invade homes and industrial units, sneak into cupboards and kitchen cabinets, contaminate food items, chew on insulation wires and furnitures, bite through plumbing pipes and woodwork, and spread a variety of diseases through their bites, urine and droppings. Rat bite fever and Leptospirosis are two of most common diseases transmitted from rats.
Australia's most fast-paced city Melbourne is popular all over the word for its shopping centres, world-class sport, exotic food and the arts. Yet someone living in the suburban regions can vouch for the fact that rats are a common pest, specially in the area including St. Kilda, all the way down the coast to Mornington, also Brighton, Sadringham, Beaumaris, Black Rock and the shoreline of Port Phillip Bay. Besides that, they are also increasing in numbers in the city centre. Scientists at the National Science Agency of Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), have concluded after conducting surveys throughout the city that the two major species of rats (Brown rat and Black Rat) native to Australia, are found in abundance in the sewer pipes and ceilings of houses. According to current statistical records of Archicentre, more than 90 per cent of homes in Melbourne face problems due to rat infestation.
Three types of rodents are most commonly found in Melbourne – the house mice, the Norway rat and the roof rat. The cold weather of the place provides the appropriate reasons for rats to survive and breed in very close proximity to humans, for fundamental necessities like food, shelter and warmth. The small size of house mice gives them easier access to buildings and houses. Norway rats mainly invade supermarkets, grain storage units, sewers, warehouses and basements.
A number of preventive and control measures are practised by cosmopolites and suburban-dwellers alike for controlling rats.
- Holes and entry points, including bottoms of doors are sealed up with gauge mesh and weather seals.
- Rodent bait stations are placed at suspected locations in and around buildings.
- Specially designed traps and tracking powders are used to locate and exterminate their breeding grounds
- Proper sanitation and garbage disposal methods are employed to ensure cleanliness because rats mainly choose untidy places for shelter.
- Pest management organisations have been actively set up all throughout the city helping people to deal with rat control in Melbourne.