As my first blog post since taking over from Pam, I thought I’d write about something close to the hearts of all of us….
I can feel the excitement as we count down to the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup kick-off on 11 June. Whether you like soccer or not, you can’t escape the hype, the headlines in the press, and the steady stream of visitors pouring into Cape Town. There’s a sense of anticipation that’s unmistakable.
As the single biggest event to be hosted in SA, all eyes will be on our beautiful country. Of course, it’s far easier to be prepared for a situation that is controllable or predictable, but with pest control we don’t have that luxury. One of the big concerns is the increase we are seeing in rat infestations in our CBD areas. This of course begs the question of how well prepared we really are, and whether local municipalities and industries have paid enough attention to ensure we’re on par with the rest of the world in terms of pest control and food safety regulations.
It is believed that a lack of resources in the local municipalities is one of the major causes of this sudden increase in rat infestations. Without the much needed financial resources, municipalities can’t carry out the necessary preventative rodent control measures that are essential to keep public areas free from rodents. Informal traders, lower sanitation standards in city centers, poor upkeep of basic amenities, etc. all contribute to the serious rat problem in our country.
Health and food safety working together
The South African Food Corporation has recently launched the Star Grading Scheme for the food and food related industries. This project encourages anyone in the food or food related industry to become a safe food accredited supplier, manufacturer, farmer or establishment of food and non-food supplies or service. This will ensure protection for consumers and will especially be beneficial for tourists visiting our country during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The hospitality industry also needs to educate all their staff about the dangers that rats pose to themselves, other staff and to their guests. They need to drastically improve housekeeping, stacking, proofing and monitoring to ensure that they are pest free during this very busy period.
Quirky rat facts
- The average life span of a rat is 2 to 3 years. These omnivores can consume up to 28g (1 ounce) of food and drink per day.
- They are nocturnal and colorblind and can only distinguish between light, shadow and movement.
- They communicate through high-frequency sounds, smell, touch and body postures.
- Rats are more intelligent than rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs and have an excellent memory, making them the ultimate navigational creature.
- Rats use their tails to regulate their temperature, to communicate and for balance. They have glands on the bottom of their feet and will lie on their backs to sweat.