Super rats ‘immune’ to poison may cause rodent explosion in Britain

Britain faces an explosion in rat numbers during 2021 with three quarters now immune to pest control.

Tests showed that 74% of them now have a “resistance gene”, which means they cannot be killed by common poisons.

And pest control experts say 2021 may well be the year of the rat as lockdown has also seen a surge in their population.

They believe that without a cold winter to hold back numbers, next year could see numbers rocket.

Jenny Rathbone, from website  Pest.co.uk, said: “It’s very worrying because this “hybrid resistance” means some common rodenticides simply won’t work.

“This, together with a bumper breeding year, means we are in for a heck of a ride in 2021 if we don’t have a very, very cold winter.”

Newly released data from the 2019-20 Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use survey of rats ­reveal the 74% carrying a resistance gene to popular rodenticides.

In some UK locations, 20% have two different genes, making them super-resistant.

“Although one such rat was found in 2017, this is the first time in the UK that ‘hybrid resistance’ has been found on this scale, with potentially unknown difficulties for pest rodent control,” a campaign spokesman said.

There has been a perfect storm of conditions for rats. Ms Rathbone added: “This year has been very challenging for pest controllers with an increase of 25% in the population due to lockdown, plus a shift in where rats look for food.”

Homeowners have been urged to block up holes in brickwork, air bricks, shed doors and cellars.

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