Monday, April 4, 2011

Christchurch Vulnerable to Pest Plagues

Rats Plague Christchurch
I have been warning that the damage caused to Christchurch’s infrastructure has left the city and its people vulnerable to plagues of pests. Rats and mice are able to take advantage of damaged sewers and buildings. Flies, mosquitoes and midges find new breeding sites in stagnant and contaminated puddles. Ground dwelling ants have been disturbed and have moved into homes and other buildings. Plus the normal pest operations that keep pests under control have been disrupted.

As the weather cools in autumn it is normal that rats and mice seek shelter and food in buildings. This annual influx of rodents is likely to be more serious this year, particularly in areas where damage to buildings and sewers provides them with easy access. I previously predicted a greater than usual problem with rodents this year. Warm and moist weather across the country has provided near ideal breeding conditions with more available food than normal.

Now is the time to be proactive, and whether you are in Christchurch or elsewhere in the country, it is the best time to place rodent bait in vulnerable places around buildings. Weatherproof bait blocks should be used around the exterior of buildings and the blocks or bait and tracking powder should be placed in attics, garages, and other places where rodents are likely to look for food and shelter. “The trick is to intercept them before they have time to set up a nest in the building.

The Kiwicare offices and factory are in Bromley, one of the hardest hit parts of Christchurch. We have been luckier than many. The strong building has meant that production was only disrupted for a week. But we are seeing at first hand some of the pest issues that are likely to be a particular problem in the damaged areas of the city. Disruption to the nearby sewerage settling ponds and the standing water formed in sink holes and liquefaction is providing breeding sites for mosquitoes, midges and flies. These insects have been seen in and around the offices. The midges, which can be mistaken for mosquitoes, are found covering the windows and walls. Although they don’t bite, not having mouth parts, their large numbers can be an unpleasant nuisance.

Rodents and flies are carriers of disease and increased number of these pests combined with the problems of sewerage leaks makes for a serious risk to health.

Cooler weather is likely to help keep the insect pests reduced, but it will also encourage the rodent pests to move in, so whichever way the temperature goes it is likely to cause increased pest problems for the already embattled people of Christchurch. You can help the city by making sure your property is not a breeding ground for pests.

A swarm of flies go into a bar.
“What’s the buzz?” Asks the bartender.

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