Lam (right) and Soo showing the box rat traps that are being used to reduce the rat population.
PEST control specialists believe that ongoing construction work, road excavation and pile driving may be forcing rats out of their habitat to seek shelter in buildings.
Rentokil Initial (Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei) Sdn Bhd managing director Carol Lam said construction in urban areas that caused massive vibrations and noise was one of the factors that contributed to people’s sudden increased encounters with rats in shops and their homes.
“With rapid development taking place, replacement of old water pipes and sewerage projects that involve digging into the earth displaces rats from their underground burrows that fringe the commercial and housing areas,” she said.
She said these nocturnal creatures were forced out of their habitat to look for a new home.
“On running out of their earth-dug burrows or covered drains, the rats scurry into buildings within the area.
“Rats have multiple ways to enter a premises, be it through drain pipes, loading areas and even front doors left ajar,” she said.
Rentokil Initial technical director Juliana Soo said food establishments must conduct constant inspections on their building, checking for small crevices that rats could squeeze in through and seal up those holes.
“Hypermarkets and dining establishments must lock up food areas and food scraps must be disposed of into bins with lids.
“The aim is to deprive the rodents of food,” she added.
Lam said another factor was the multiple pest entry points in commercial premises such as hypermarkets, including loading bays which made it a challenge to keep rats out.
“Once the rat is in the building, it moves fast and, upon getting into the false ceiling or rafters, has access to the whole premises.
“Our advice is to ensure stringent building maintenance and continuous upkeep,” she said.
She pointed out that another contributing factor to the increased rat population in urban areas was human behaviour.
“We must not forget about the tenants in the building that do not practise proper sanitation and management of their supply chain.
“All in all, it will be difficult to maintain building integrity and hygiene if the building or mall management do not work in partnership with their respective pest control operator to enforce compliance or if the tenants are not co-operative,” said Lam.
Meanwhile, consumer association activist Devadass Anjan called on all local councils in Selangor to conduct routine inspections at supermarkets, hypermarkets and restaurants to check rat infestation.
“All local councils must minimise pest infestation by keeping public drains clean and cracking the whip on food establishments that dispose of food scraps into the drains,” he added.
Devadass urged the Petaling Jaya City Council and Klang Municipal Council to have rat bait stations in night market locations as food scraps from those stalls often end up in public drains.