Reasons for Exclusion: Rodents, the Nasty Friends They Bring and Disease.

David Bennett

According to Food Quality and Safety, “rodents eat or contaminate at least 20 percent of the world’s food each year. Their ability to contaminate on such a large scale is due in part to their “nibbling” habits, wherein they come into contact with far

Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) climbs on corn near orange pumpkin inside of warehouse.

more than they actually consume. In addition, in just one year a rat can shed more than half a million body hairs, and a mouse can produce up to 18,000 fecal droppings. In that same year, a pair of rats can produce over 1,200 descendants. Within three years, that can grow to half a billion descendants! Rodents have been linked to asthma and transport fleas, lice, and ticks. The CDC also points out that they carry diseases including rat bite fever, hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, murine typhus, and even the bubonic plague.”  Rats also carry rat lungworm disease, which has affected people in multiple states, including Hawaii.   Rats are no respecter of persons, and invasions happen on every economic level of society.    Daily headlines make the news all over the world of rats that got into restaurants, bakery cases, grocery stores, apartment buildings, hospitals and private residences.   Never mind the gnawing.   Because their teeth are constantly growing, rats gnaw all the time to file them down. That makes them literal jackhammering machines. The buggers can gnaw through aluminum, lead, cinderblock, wood, glass, vinyl, and improperly cured concrete! Despite all we throw at them, these hardy little animals, with a lifespan of only 18 months, have survived millennia.   As fearful as we are of them, we are also grudgingly respectful and admiring of their survival skills. One memorable story we wrote about was about a rat who had been turned out on an island to flush out a possible infestation. When time came to retrieve him, he made a run for his freedom, and when he ran out of land, he jumped into the open sea and swam over a quarter of a mile to the next island.  Makes sense.  They can tread water for 3 days and hold their breath for 3 minutes and crawl up sewer pipes up into your toilet.  Clearly, we have a worthy adversary!   Complicating matters connected to the rats is the problem of rat poison. 

Why Poison Isn’t a Cure-all

First of all, rats can develop immunity to poisons (see this complete list of rat poisons sold over the counter). And what happens when rats nibble just a little bit of rat bait, but not enough to kill them, is really very interesting from a scientific perspective because rat have up to 84 litters a year, so it affects future generations of rats genetically.  The weak rats are killed off by the poison, and the strong ones survive.    According to, in the UK alone, it is estimated up to 75% of the rats are resistant to most poisons.  The implications for you are that you spend money on rat poison and while it might kill a few, it’s not killing them all.  Anticoagulant poisons like warfarin and bromadiolone have been in use for over 50 years.   Rats have, through the years, developed resistances to these poisons which are genetically passed down through millions of generations over that span of time. So really, this is not surprising news.  As we previously noted in our article “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes you Stronger,” “on and on the cycle is repeated until all of the rats that did not have that resistance are dead, and only “super rats” remain.  They aren’t bigger than other rats, and they don’t wear capes.  They’re just genetically protected from most over the counter poisons. Stronger poisons are developed, the rats develop over time a resistance to those poisons, and pretty soon, for years, the environment has been subject to all of these different poisons while the rat species survives merrily along and it would take a nuclear bomb to eradicate them (and maybe not even then!)”  Rat poisons can leach into the soil and water we and wild animals drink contributing to environmental pollution.  That’s a huge issue, and one pest control companies are trying to be more proactive about.  Traps and exclusion are environmentally friendly—and effective. Rats can’t build up resistance to traps or exclusion.  Done right, rats won’t be able to find their way in to a building that has been properly managed with IPM exclusion techniques.

Remember when we told you they are neophobic?  They are so cautious that if they get sick from a poison they will never touch it again if they can help it. It takes a relatively long time for poison to kill a rat, especially if they nibble on it a little at a time. That’s an inhumane way to die even for a rat.   Secondly, once you put poisons into the environment, the poison may not kill the rat, but it will certainly kill wildlife that eats who rats (alive or dead), and we’ve written plenty of stories about bobcats, cougars, and raptors who inadvertently eat rats as their natural prey and get sick and die.   Pets can get into poisons and so can children. Traps have zero collateral damage, and so does exclusion. 


Stay tuned on April 15th, we are rolling out in North America for Commercial and residential applications, tough, tested, easy to install, long lasting door sweep, wall and fence exclusion product.






NOTE. We are exhibiting at New York Pest Management Associations event April 30th, Russo’s on the Bay, 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach NY 11414. Please come talk with us about rodent challenges and exclusion projects.    


Tags: bubonic plague, Center for Disease Control, Door sweep, Eco Friendly, Environmental impact, Exclusion, Fann Traps, Fenn Trap MK4, Fenn Trap MK6, Hantavirus, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, Mole traps, NAPM, Norway rats, NWCOA, NYPMA, Pest Control, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Rat infestation, Rat poison, Rats, Rattus norvegicus, Rodent exclusion, Rodexit

2 thoughts on “Reasons for Exclusion: Rodents, the Nasty Friends They Bring and Disease.

  1. Thanks that I have stumbled upon this article. I have gained much more understanding of how much danger rodents can bring at home. I have never imagined that their ability to contaminate a large scale of food is that immense. I have been worrying about kitchen rats at home. Recently, I have seen two big rats nibbling in our kitchen sink. I fear that there can be more rats living under our roof. I am going to look for a pest control service to help me eliminate these pests.

    1. David Bennett says:

      Hello Sam, thanks for reading the article, taking time to comment, excellent idea locating Pest control company to help, be sure to check on RodeXit, the exclusion product we just launched, natural progression once rodent problem is dealt with, deploying solution to keep them out. Please stop by and visit the site again, Cheers, David.

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