World Pest Day

World Pest Day is commemorated on 6th June every year. It is sometimes also called World Pest Awareness Day. The day was created to raise the awareness of how pest management can help to preserve the quality of life for you and your loved ones. World Pest Day was established by the Chinese Pest Control Association (CPCA) and the Federation of Asian and Oceania Pest Managers Association (FAOPMA) in 2017. It was co-sponsored by the National Pest Management Association, and the Confederation of European Pest Management Association. The primary goals of World Pest Day are to:

  • Emphasizes the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques for pest management called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. This technique mainly focusing on prevention, monitoring and targeted treatment to minimize the use of chemical pesticides and reduce environmental impact.
  • Highlighting the significance of pest management in protecting human health, food and property. It serves as a platform to raise an awareness among the public about the essential role of pest infestations and to maintain a healthy and safe environment.
  • Bring awareness to the fact that pests pose challenges to various sectors such as agriculture (damage crops), public health and property that have potential to cause serious health problems.

Table of Contents

What is considered pest?

A pest is defined as any animal, plant or other organism whose biology, behaviour or location have direct conflict with humans. Since some insects threaten human health, causes destruction or is otherwise a nuisance to crop, livestock or humans, they are considered pests.

IMPACT OF PEST

Pests can be more than just a nuisance. In fact, some can pose significant health risks to human and can cause structural damage to homes and buildings. When the pests are present in your home or your surroundings, it can seem that keeping their numbers under control is an unending battle. Pests pose a direct threat to:

Food contamination and safety risks

Pests can contaminate food through direct contact, faecal matter, or by serving as carriers of pathogens. This contamination poses serious health risks to consumers leading to foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella, E. coli or Listeria infections. In addition to the compromising food safety, contaminated food may need to be discarded which results in food waste and economic losses.

Structural Damages 

One of the most obvious destructions that pest can pose are structural damages. Pests like termites, rodents, and carpenter ants can cause structural damage to buildings, homes, and infrastructure. For instance, termites can cause severe structural damage. They may unknowingly eat away wood in your home or building without your knowledge and when left undetected, the damages they cause can compromise the structural integrity of the property. Rodents can gnaw through wiring, insulation, and other building materials, sometimes leading to occurrences of fires and damages which can be expensive to remedy.

This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding the root causes of rat infestation in Singapore, covering the types of rats commonly found, their habits, and effective rat control measures. Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, or property manager, this guide will equip you with the knowledge needed for basic rats and mouse control in Singapore to strive maintain a rat-free environment.

Wood which has been consumed by termites
Wood which has been consumed by termites

Public health concerns

Pests are also known for contaminating surfaces and spreading diseases, some of which can lead to fatal consequences. Pest can pose as significant public health risks by transmitting disease to human. Rodents are particularly notorious in this aspect, and they tend to contaminate areas where all the food is either stored or prepared. Rodents have been known to spread disease such as leptospirosis, salmonella and hantavirus. In fact, the fleas on rodents have caused a massive outbreak of bubonic plague in the 1300s which leads to the death of 50 million people worldwide.

Importance of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

What is IPM?

IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long term prevention of pests and their damage through a combination of techniques. IPM uses knowledge of pest and host biology as well as biological and environmental monitoring to respond to pest problems with management tactics and technologies designed to:

  • prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage
  • minimize the risk to people, property, infrastructure, natural resources and environment
  • reduce the evolution of pest resistance to pesticides and other pest management practices.

Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. There are 4 crucial components to an IPM program which can be categorised into:

Integrated Pest Management

Biological Control:

Use of the living organism to suppress the pest population. Natural enemies include predators, parasitoids and pathogens play an important role to control pest and their damages.

Cultural Control:

Practices that reduce pest invasion, reproduction, dispersal and survival such as good sanitation and crop rotation.

Mechanical/ Physical Control:

Method that reduces or suppresses the pest population by killing the pest directly by means of devices, hands or simple equipment. Traps for rodents are one of the examples of mechanical control.

Chemical Control:

This involves the use of pesticides. In IPM, the pesticides are only used when needed and in combination with other approaches for more effective, long-term control. Pesticides are selected and applied in a way that minimizes their possible harm to people and the environment.

Implementation of IPM

Implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) involves a systematic approach that combines strategies to effectively manage pests while minimizing risks to human health, environment and non-target organisms. It is implemented by adopting practices that focus on pest infestations, monitoring their populations and use a combination of non-chemical and targeted chemical control method.

 Recently, it was reported that rodents’ infestation in Singapore is growing in number. Rat sightings have made headlines recently. This is a sign of a gnawing problem that could potentially escalate further if left uncontrolled. All parties including pest control companies, property owners, government agencies and facility management companies play a crucial role in implementing IPM strategies in their respective properties and lands space.

Let’s see how IPM can come into play in solving a Rodent Infestation. IPM uses a combination of different pest management methods for greater success in eradication a pest infestation. IPM enables you to choose from the different pest control option that are available. The options include chemical, cultural, biological and physical controls. For biological control, this method mainly focusing on using natural enemies such as predators, pathogens or parasites to suppress pest population effectively. The goal of biological control within IPM is to reduce pest numbers to an acceptable level while minimizing the use of chemicals and harm to non-target organisms and the environment.

Mechanical control for rodent infestation involves the use of physical devices to capture or kill rodents. These controls employ methods such as traps, barriers or manual removal to impede pest access.

Cultural control of rodent infestation involves modifying the environment to make it less attractive to rodents and to limit their access to food, water, and shelter. These methods aim to prevent rodent infestations by altering human behaviour and environmental conditions.

Chemical control involves the use of rodenticides to manage rodent populations. Rodenticides are used only when needed and in combination with other approaches for more effective and long-term control. Rodenticides are selected and applied in a way that minimizes their possible harm to people, nontarget organisms and the environment.

These are several measures you can take to prevent rats from getting into your home or building. You will need to be vigilant and make sure you don’t leave any loose ends that could facilitate the presence of rodents near you. Let’s look at them.

Prevent access (Rodent proofing)

Implement preventive measures to make your home less attractive to pests. Therefore, preventing access through rat proofing of such infrastructure should be adopted for prevention and control of rat infestations.

  • Ensure that doors of bin centres are close fitting between the door, the frame and to the floor. Any gaps shall be sufficiently sealed to prevent access by rats.
  • Seal holes inside and outside buildings to keep rodents out. This may be as simple as plugging small holes with steel wool, or patching holes in interior or exterior walls.
Rodent sneaking into the building through gaps in walls
Rodent sneaking into the building through gaps in walls

Practice Good Housekeeping

Rats need a conducive environment to proliferate and are attracted to places that are cluttered with undisturbed items, hence it is always important to ensure good housekeeping.

  • Always throw food leftovers away properly in sealed waste bin and not leave them in the toilets or sinks. Sewage systems with food leftovers are a rat’s preference.
  • Do not let food leftovers sit overnight. Remove leftover food from packaging before putting them in the recycling bin.
  • Keep trash bags closed and use lidded bins or store them where it is difficult or impossible for rats to access.
  • Food or refuse spillage should be removed and cleared
  • Remove all clutter (e.g., boxes, furniture, white-goods and etc) as these are good hiding areas for rodents and other pests

Manage bin centres and bin chutes properly

Rats are opportunistic foragers. Bin centres and bin chutes overflowing with refuse serve as one of the most common food sources for rats and may provide shelter for the rat populations. Hence, they must be kept clean and in good condition to prevent rats from harbouring in these areas.

  • Always keep bin lids and refuse chutes sealed properly. Since rodents are flexible and excellent climbers that they can squeeze through tight spaces and climb walls with a slightly rough surface.
  • Be sure that bin chute hoppers are closed tightly so that these unwelcomed guests are unable to gain access to the upper floors.
  • Ensure that refuse is properly bagged and tied up and not placed on the ground next to the litter bins.
  • Ensure bulk bins are covered, recycling bins are not overflowing, and that all damaged bulk bins are replaced
Bin chutes can be an access point for rodents as they are good climbers
Bin chutes can be an access point for rodents as they are good climbers

Contact a professional pest control operator

If you have detected a possible rodent infestation at your property, it is highly recommended to contact a professional pest operator like Verminator to have it quickly solved. Professional Pest Control Operators have access to professional grade equipment and chemicals. Coupled with their expertise in handling rodents, they are able to quickly deal with your rodent problem and to nib the infestation at its bud. They will also be able to provide you with their recommendations in rodent-proofing your property and help prevent any chances of future re-infestations.

Written by: Nur Fatin Shahirah, Entomologist