Homeowners have been warned to anticipate alarming growth in the number of 'super rats' in the run-up to Christmas.
According to experts numbers of the rodents, which have grown resistant to conventional poison, could soar in the next few months. This change might be because of a combination of colder temperatures and increasingly wet weather.
The spread of the rats and their immunity level have been accelerated by failed home treatments, says the British Pest Control Association (BPCA).
The association has issued the advice ahead of National Pest Prevention Week (November 9-14) - an initiative designed to raise public awareness of all pests.
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the BPCA, said: "Reports of poison-resistant rats have been increasing in recent years and it seems likely that there'll be a further surge in numbers during the coming months. There's less natural food around during colder weather so the population of rodents in and around homes and business premises could swell at an alarming rate as we head into winter."
Forrester also said that the people who try to treat issues themselves are likely to be making the problem worse.
"The rodents have become resistant and, in some cases, immune to off-the-shelf poisons to the point where they're actually feeding off the toxic pellets, which means their size and strength is increasing. Stronger rodenticides can be more effective, but most are subject to strict legislation and must only be used by professional pest controllers. So it has become very important to make sure infestations are treated by experts in the field," the official said.