With more than one rat for every human on the planet, rats are a worldwide pest and have major economic and public health impacts with huge costs in damage to food, human and animal health as well as infrastructure. In addition there is an annual spend of over USD45 billion on environmentally damaging and economically unsustainable rodent control methods globally. Only a technology preventing the rats from coming into contact with the feed stuffs or infrastructure will prevent this damage ever occurring.
We have a breakthrough rat repellent platform technology which is environmentally and economically sustainable.
An extremely valuable commodity with world-wide application and huge economic and social benefits.
Rats cause significant problems for the provision of safe food, a problem that will only increase as the human population expands to over 9 billion by 2050.
Just as the agricultural revolution has allowed humans to expand their population over the past 10,000 years, the rat population has expanded around the world on our coattails. We have inadvertently provided them with the shelter and food supplies that they need. They consume seven percent of their own body weight on a daily basis, and have been estimated to damage more than 1% of the world's cereal crops and, in developing countries, estimates of 3–5%, even up to 15% of some crops have commonly been reported.
A 2003 study in Asia indicated that rodents caused chronic rice production losses of 5–10% per annum, approximately 30-60 million tonnes, which would feed up to 400 million people for 12 months.
In 2014, UK studies revealed that the value of the contaminated food is far greater than the cost of the food actually eaten. In one study, 70% of a tonne of wheat had been spoiled by a small number of rats during a 28 week period, although only 4.4% had been eaten, which leads to major health impacts for humans and livestock.
Economic losses due to rats go way beyond their direct effect on food storage.
Rats are carriers and vectors of many significant human diseases and there are many health issues directly and indirectly associated with rat contact. There are around 50 diseases which can be transferred to humans by rodents, including typhoid, paratyphoid, and scabies. This has a major impact on the public health budget of every nation.
In addition, rodents may be vectors of a large number of diseases affecting domestic animals. Leptospirosis strains are transmitted by rats to many domestic animals including cattle, pigs, horses and dogs. The disease causes major economic losses through adverse effects on growth and reproductive performance, as in dairy cows where it can result in reduced milk yield, cause abortion and affect fertility.
Damage to infrastructure also costs billions of dollars each year around the world.
For example in 2013 in the USA the economic cost of rat damage to infrastructure was estimated at USD19 billion. In 2004, UK estimates show the damage by rats on railways, communication and other infrastructure cost nearly GBP 300m annually.
Rats also cause considerable damage to property and buildings especially in rural areas.
While the global rat population continues to grow, there has been little or no innovation or change in rodent control since the Middle Ages.
The primary products used to manage rodent populations are lethal rodenticides. While there are many rodenticides on the market, these do not prevent the damage occurring. Killing rats does not result in a sustained population reduction as tt often has the opposite effect by creating a rebound effect with surviving rats reproducing even faster and neighbouring rats moving in, as well as developing resistance. Over an 8 to 12 month life span, a mating pair of rats can generate 15,000 descendants, quickly replacing the original population and capable of inflicting further damage.
Rat poisons also enter the ecosystem where they can become toxic to the environment, pets and wildlife, especially if not used as directed. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centres, between 12-15,000 children are accidentally poisoned yearly in the U.S. alone. In recent years, the US EPA has been placing increasing restrictions on lethal rodenticides, in particular anticoagulants, and U.S. cities and municipalities have also begun to restrict their use.
The search for alternatives has become urgent and there are some alternative strategies already available in the market place. The modern non-anticoagulant rodenticides include active ingredients:
None of these prevent the damage caused by rats and any form of rodenticide still has some level of environmental risk.
Another method is reproduction control through the ingestion of treated baits, which causes both males and females to lose the ability to reproduce and instead of multiplying, they die of natural causes in 8 to 12 months. While alive they guard their territory from neighbouring tribes who would invade if there were to be a sudden drop in population, the cause of poison’s rebound effect. However, this strategy only delays the effect as when the pair dies, they will be replaced and, while still alive and not breeding, they will continue to eat, contaminate food and damage infrastructure.
A repellent technology preventing the rats from coming in contact with the feed stuffs or infrastructure will prevent the damage ever occurring. Rats quickly develop aversion and will move off to other potential sources, which if also protected, will cause the breeding population to collapse and the rat problem to disappear. This would make a repellent technology an extremely valuable commodity with world-wide application and the potential economic benefits of this approach are obvious.
This proposal is for a completely different approach to rodent control: Instead of trying to kill the rats, our solution makes them stay away by choice.
We have patented a natural compound which possesses rat repellent properties.
The potential opportunities for products incorporating the repellent include replacing the rat baits with:
There is also the possibility of genetic modification of food plants to include the active components in the seeds.
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