BACKYARD RATTING ON LOCKDOWN

ATS1999

New Member
May 20, 2020
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Part 1.

With scaly-tails causing trouble in the garden and a new thermal scope to put through its paces, even the lockdown can’t keep Mat Manning away from his pest control duties.

While I would never describe an infestation of rats in the garden as being fortuitous, I would go as far as to say that the presence of rodents in my backyard has been handy over the past couple of weeks. I am writing this three weeks into the coronavirus lockdown, and being able to control nocturnal pests without having to leave my home has enabled me to put a new piece of thermal imaging kit through its paces without breaking government guidance on selfisolation and social distancing. The Saim SCL35 (IRay) arrived in a package from Optical Solutions a couple of weeks before we were all told to stay at home. Being too busy to set it up, I decided to try it out on some springtime rabbiting sessions over the coming weeks and left the box on my desk. By the time I got around to opening the box, there was zero chance of heading out after any bunnies, so I would have to settle for something much closer to home.

We have kept chickens in our backyard for about 16 years, and the birds inevitably tend to attract the odd rat. The pellets and grain that we feed to the hens provide rodents with easy pickings, but I keep a tunnel trap set and so usually manage to pick them off before they have a chance to get established. The last six months have been very different though, and I can honestly say that I have never seen as many rats. This applies not only in my garden, but also around the farms and estates where I control pests on a far larger scale.

Having rats around our hens is a serious problem. My biggest concern is that these filthy rodents carry Weil’s disease, so I really don’t want them in the garden where my children play. And of course, rats cause further irritation with their burrowing and by stealing my poultry feed. Although we occasionally see them by day, the critters are most active at night, so I thought that some after-dark pest control would be an excellent opportunity to put the Saim SCL35 through its paces.


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