It began like many other routine calls for Mike Wills when a Hamilton resident got in touch over a suspected rat problem.
Cold weather often triggers an increase in rat activity around properties in midwinter as rodents seek some home comforts when temperatures fall.
But the sight that faced him and what happened next was anything but routine for the experienced PestCo Service Technician.
The tell-tale signs had been evident when Mike arrived at the family home in a Hamilton suburb.
“It was very damp outside, lots of moss on the footpath and trees overhanging the single storey property.
“Overhanging tree branches by roof lines can make it easy for rats to get onto a roof where they can then get into a property,” Mike said.
“The householder got in touch with us as she thought there might be rats in the ceiling.”
An inspection of the roof space through the ceiling hatch revealed a “disgusting sight with rat droppings just about everywhere”.
But things went from bad to worse when Mike was shown around the rest of the property.
“When I got to the garage I could hear something fossicking around in a box in front of me.
“The next thing this big rat jumped out and just shot up the doorframe of the roller door. It sat on top of the door, eyes wide open just starring back at me!”
Such face-to-face encounters with rodents are rare, he said. “It’s certainly unusual as rats are nocturnal creatures and you wouldn’t expect to see them in the daytime.”
In 17 years of working in the pest control industry it was the worst rat infestation case he’d seen in a domestic property.
“It was disgusting. This was a family home with mum and dad and a couple of kids living there.”
Mike said that without adequate control rat numbers can escalate rapidly. The average female rat has four to six litters per year.
“For every rat seen there would likely be at least a dozen other rats in that property.”
Rodents frequently invade properties and ruin everything they come into contact with, either by urinating or defecating on it, eating it, chewing it, or a combination of all of these activities.
PestCo’s Integrated Pest Management System is a strategic approach to pest control that minimises risks to people and the environment.
The four-step programme is an effective way to prevent rodent problems reoccurring, said Mike.