Pest Control Through Ages: Medieval Rat Catchers vs. Today's Methods

Old fashioned newspaper with image of a man performing pest control

Pest Control Through Ages: Medieval Rat Catchers vs. Today's Methods

From Historical Practices to Contemporary Solutions in Pest Management

'Pest Control Through Ages' takes you on a journey through the history of combating pests. In this edition, we explore the role of medieval rat catchers and how their methods compare to modern pest control.

The Role of Rat Catchers in Medieval Europe:

In medieval times, rat catchers were essential in controlling rodent populations that carried diseases. Their methods, though primitive, were crucial in urban areas plagued by pests.

Medieval Pest Control Practices:

  • Manual Traps and Primitive Tools: Rat catchers used basic mechanical traps made of wood and metal. They also relied on nets, cages, and even manually catching rats.

  • Use of Predatory Animals: Cats and ferrets were commonly used to hunt and control rats.

  • Chemical Methods: Although rudimentary, some chemical methods such as the use of arsenic were employed, often posing risks to humans and the environment.

  • Lack of Public Health Awareness: Without an understanding of public health, these practices were not always safe or effective, leading to widespread issues.

Transition to Modern Pest Control:

The evolution of pest control has led to a more refined approach:

  • Advanced Trapping Technologies: Modern traps are more sophisticated, targeting pests without harm to non-target species.

  • Biological Control and Repellents: The use of natural predators and repellents has become more strategic, focusing on the ecosystem balance.

  • Regulated Chemical Use: Chemical treatments are now more controlled and targeted, reducing the risk to humans and non-target organisms.

  • Public Health and Safety: Contemporary pest control emphasizes public health and safety, using methods that are both effective and responsible.


The transformation from medieval rat catchers to contemporary pest control reflects significant advancements in technology, science, and an understanding of public health. At Paragon Pest Control, we embrace these advancements to provide effective, responsible pest management solutions.

Discover more about our modern approaches and the history of pest control at