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It’s been reported this week by a local newspaper in the Fourways area that Diepsloot is under a siege of rats at the moment.

With the recent rains that have been experienced in October has brought out a plague of rats according to the residents of Diepsloot. The reality is such that with the large volume of rain experienced has flooded out the rodents burrows and forced them to search for higher ground and at the same time this has forced them to enter many shacks in the area. It’s even been reported that rats have chewed on a child’s ear while they were asleep. This really is not a healthy way of living by anyone.

Countless witnesses have seen dead and live rats on the sidewalks, with live rats running between food vendors, shacks and bathroom cubicles.

This sort of occurrence is not just limited to Diepsloot, but to countless other informal settlements around Gauteng that are plagued by rats. The best solution for this rat crisis believe it or not is not actually pest control, but unfortunately comes down to proper infrastructure being introduced from the onset of the area that is being occupied by City Council- namely effective sanitation facilities being constructed and effective sanitation practises being implemented and managed, proper education given to the residents on sanitation, maintenance & Housekeeping. Lastly proper waste management is vital and behavioural habits of residents being educated not to litter the area, but rather to use designated refuse areas, with these refuse areas being properly managed and waste removed daily.

The other challenge is that there are normally no owls in the area to naturally control the rat population due to them unfortunately being used for witchcraft which doesn’t help matters.

If these steps are not followed, one will have a continual rat problem, with rats being naturally attracted to the lure of shelter, food and water. Rodent control practises can be introduced but needs to be maintained using tamper resistant boxes, along with various mechanical traps being deployed on a big scale to curb the problem in the area. This will only help curtail and limit the numbers, but if the area has bred out of control, it’s rather challenging for a pest control company to contain such an infestation that has been neglected for such a long period of time.

A short term solution is to have a massive litter drive in these areas, whereby the communities participate in cleaning up their environment, and then a longer term solution would be allowing rodent predators such as owls to be introduced to the area and the community supplied with owl boxes to try encourage owls to stay in the area to feed on the rodents. Importantly a study into tracking where the rats are coming from needs to be established and the necessary proofing and preventative measures put in place to stop them invading the residents.

The City council needs to come into these communities and introduce large scale and effective sewage systems along with proper drainage systems to curtail this on-going battle with rats which do breed out of control very quickly.

Rats are notorious carriers of fleas which could potentially carry the dreaded bubonic plague which is easily transmitted to humans (which incidentally was found in a tested rodent in the Thembisa area in recent years), and if the virus is transmitted and left untreated will result in fatalities.

Diepsloot is down the road from nearby suburbs such as Fourways and countless retail and commercial sites, and if these rats are left to breed out of control like this, these surrounding areas will soon be infested by rats.

If you fear you may be near a potential rat breeding site or are in need of advice or assistance regarding rodents, please contact us for further assistance.

 Flick is here to provide a solution for any rodent infestation or concerns you may encounter- give us a ring, drop us an email or contact us here drop us a comment on our blog or social media platforms.