Rats and mice are some of the most common pests that Pest Solution receives calls about. There are quite a few reasons for them to be controlled including damage to property, disease as well as fear and noise. All work that Pest Solution carries out on behalf of its clients for rodents, follows the CRRU (Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use) Code of Best Practice. This means that Pest Solution always considers non-toxic control first, with poison used as a last resort. Pest Solution always uses physical control methods first such as preventing access, good house-keeping, and removing the source of food and water. The next port of call on the CRRU Risk Hierarchy is the use of traps for rodent control. But what traps should be used? And what makes a good trap?
An ideal trap would deliver a strong and accurate blow to the rodent ensuring that it is killed extremely quickly. In reality this very rarely happens, but a humane trap should result in the animal being either killed or rendered unconscious without distress. But how can we be sure that the traps used are working in this humane way?
Most people would assume that the UK government or even the EU would have imposed legislation on break back traps (the type of traps commonly used to control rats and mice). In reality, neither the UK or the EU have imposed regulations that cover these traps. This means that traps sold in the UK do not have to meet any requirements to be placed on the market. Recent studies by the University of Oxford have found that there is a huge variation of traps on the market and a growing quantity of cheap versions of traps being imported from abroad. Some rat traps can break your fingers, and other will only cause a slight tingly sensation. There are also some that are so weak, that rats can even escape from them!
Since the EU and the UK government have not implemented any restriction on break back traps, there are now discussions about creating an industry led scheme to approve traps. This would not prevent any inhumane traps from being on the market, but could ensure that those traps that do meet certain requirements are identified and could be used preferentially over weak knock-off traps. So next time you think about doing a DIY treatment and you are shopping around for traps, think about what you are actually buying, and whether it is time to get some help from the professionals.