Rats on the rise, but small house pests feel the heat

17:20, July 12, 2011      

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The latest annual report on health has found that the density of rats in the city increased by nearly 15 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year.

The report by Beijing Health Bureau found that the increased population was mainly centered around food markets and construction sites.

"But it is within a normal fluctuation range and is under control," Tong Ying, director of the disinfection and pest prevention office under the Beijing Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), told China Daily on Monday. "Otherwise, we will initiate campaigns to get rid of the rats."

The density refers to the number of rats monitored within a unit area in a certain period of time, and all the statistics come from monitoring networks in district branches of the municipal CDC.

The density of rats increased by 14.75 percent, and the major rat species are sewer rat and house mouse, according to the report.

Pest control experts said it is understandable that rats gather at food markets and construction sites.

"Rats like trenches around food markets and restaurants, where there is plenty of food," said Bu Lingtao, a technician for Beijing Bangjieshi Pest Co.

"Real estate is booming in this city, with a high rate of construction, which destroys nests of rats. So rat numbers grow in and around construction sites," said Li Zhenjiang, general manager of Beijing Suqing Pest Control Co.

Three professional pest control companies told China Daily that they believe the attempts of efforts to drive away rats and harmful insects has decreased.

"Schools, hospitals and other enterprises are carrying out disinfection work every year. That helps to control the number of pests," Li Zhenjiang said.

The density of mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches fell by 7.81 percent, 3.6 percent and 29 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, said the report.

Pest control experts attributed the significant declines to the efforts of the whole society to wipe out the destructive pests in recent years.

"Months before the Beijing Olympic Games in the summer of 2008, the city began a centralized 'millions of households kill cockroaches' campaign organized by the Beijing Patriotic Health Committee Office," said Zhang Junping, technical director of the Chinese Pest Control Association.

Professional teams visited communities, and with help from staff members of neighborhood committees went into every home and killed many cockroaches, Zhang said.

"Thanks to a cleaner environment and tighter management of waste disposal, Beijing's sanitary condition improved greatly after the Olympic Games, and this offered the pests fewer breeding grounds," he said.

Experts said the best way to deal with these insects is prevention rather than killing.

"Keeping greasy dirt away from kitchens and throwing away water bottles can prevent insects from spreading," Zhang Junping said.

"It is more difficult to kill them with pesticides, especially flying pests, than it is to eradicate them in the larval phase," he said.

Source: China Daily
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