The BPCA referred to findings in a new study by the University of Reading, commissioned by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use. It found that the rats carried a genetic mutation that made them resistant to conventional poisons.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, said the study highlighted the fact that resistance is growing in rat species across a “swathe” of the country.
“It also reports that rats without the genetic mutation are being killed off by poison, so the resistant species are taking their place, leaving a growing population of resistant pure-breds,” she said.
“With their numbers expanding, there could be a significant risk to public health if their population is left unchecked, in both urban and rural environments.”
Ward-Thompson argued that the rise could be due to amateurs such as home and business owners either doing it themselves, or employing unqualified individuals to try to resolve their rat problems.
“The clear message is that, to be effective in tackling this issue, people should not attempt to self-treat rats,” she said.
“Professional use-only rodenticides are often more successful, but most are subject to strict legislation, so it has become more important than ever before to make sure infestations are treated by experts."
She advised any companies to employ a member company through the BPCA referral service.