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Rats use 20% of the world’s food supply!

Rat Photo (c) Glenn Peters

Rats get in to 20% of our food supply!

Most of the animal and plant species that share our world do not make a nuisance of themselves. Many are beneficial, such as ants and termites, when they do not interfere with human property and activities. In fact, less than 1 percent of all species are pests that negatively affect our lives by invading our space, damaging our property and threatening our health.

Rodents (rats and mice) annually consume and contaminate about 20 percent of the world’s food supply. Without pest control, half of our food might be destroyed by crop and stored product pests. Rodents also do untold damage to property – their gnawing is a suspected cause of fires attributed to unknown causes. As for insects, termites alone cost Americans about $1.5 billion each year in damage repair and control – more than the combined cost of all natural disasters.

Pest tolerance in crop land is usually based on the cost of control. Sometimes pests can be numerous and do considerable damage to a crop before the cost of that damage outweighs the cost of control. However, we are less tolerant of pests in the urban environment. Most of us are very concerned upon finding insects living with us, so much that the presence of a single cockroach or flea will prompt pest control in the home.

Structural pest control decisions are sometimes based more on emotion than economy. After all, fear of arthropods (insects, spiders and their kin) is our third most common fear (behind public speaking and heights), and spiders are the second most feared animal (behind snakes).

While fear, often unfounded, can sometimes be the stimulus for initiating pest control services, some pests do pose a very real threat to humans. Health concerns associated with structural pests include venomous stings and bites in addition to the transmission of diseases including food poisoning, allergies and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Pests also can have a psychological impact on us, for example, from the unsettling feeling of knowing (or suspecting) you are living with insects, spiders, rats or mice.

From an article published by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health titled “Prevention and Control”.

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