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Rats: One of the world’s most destructive pest


Rats and other species of rodents can have a devastating impact on businesses, particularly those operating within the food industry. Not only can they cause an outbreak of food-borne illnesses, due to the diseases they spread, but they can also have a negative effect on brand reputation, operating costs and revenue.

Rentokil commissioned independent research agency Opinion Matters and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) to identify the key trends impacting businesses and pest control. The research showed that out of all the different species of pests, rats are one of the most destructive pest for businesses.

Why are rats one of the world’s most destructive pest?

It may or may not shock you to learn that 49% of businesses report electrical damage caused by rodents. Rats have a pair of continuously growing incisor teeth in both their upper and lower jaw. As a result, they have to continuously gnaw on objects to wear them down and prevent them from becoming too long.

Rats and mice are known to gnaw on electrical cables. Not only is this a major fire hazard when they gnaw through to the copper and the wires short out, but it can also result in the failure of electrical equipment leading to production downtime. The findings from our report showed the true impact rodent infestations can have on a business.

Over a quarter of the businesses, we surveyed reported damage to electrical equipment following a rat infestation, with nearly half of them confirming that the damage caused to machinery was directly caused by rats. For businesses operating in the food processing industry, and in particular food manufacturing facilities, this can have a large impact on the production cycle. Our survey discovered that food-focused businesses lost an average of 8 working days due to rat infestations.

It’s not just the food industry which can be affected by rodents, as 20% of all the businesses we surveyed reported machine downtime.

How to prevent rats

Ensuring the necessary procedures are in place to prevent these rodents is the best way to keep your business safe from rats.

Digital pest control

Rentokil’s digital pest control solutions use the latest in pest control technology to provide businesses in the food processing industry an effective solution to control and monitor rodents 24/7.

Our range of IoT enabled pest management solutions to provide commercial business customers unrivalled pest data, insights and reporting to help proactively prevent, monitor and manage pests with new levels of efficiency and control.

pest control technology

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Jack Lyons

I joined the Marketing and Innovation team at Rentokil in 2015, and my mind has quickly become accustomed to the weird and wonderful world of pests. Outside of work my main hobby is music, being a huge fan of bands such as Queen and Led Zeppelin as well as being an avid drummer.


  1. It is very useful info to control rats and other pests. I have been working in Rentokil for two years and I learned lot of about pests, now my interest is increasing to learn more about it.

  2. It’s really an interesting and amazing post for all. I am very thankful for your post. It’s really helpful for us. Such a valuable blog you have written and it is very awesome. Keep writing such an impressive article.

  3. Nice post. The next time you see a rat darting for cover, consider this: it might just want to have a playful game of hide-and-seek.

    A group of neuroscientists in Germany spent several weeks hanging out with rodents in a small room filled with boxes, and found the animals were surprisingly adept at the childhood game even without being given food as a reward.

    They recorded joyful leaps and ultrasonic giggles – which previous work has shown to be signs of happiness – when the rats found the humans or were caught by them.

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