The common myth is that you are never more than six feet away from a rat at any given time when you live in a heavily populated area such as a town or a city. Although this statistic is exaggerated, it surprisingly isn’t too far off.
Prevention Is Priority
As is the case with all animals, not least vermin like rats and mice, the main thing they look for in a place to stay is a reliable food source. Rats, in particular, are capable of chewing through almost anything including wood, metals and even glass! So the best way of minimizing their impact is to remove everything you can that is even remotely edible from the surrounding areas.
Although there is little you can do about rubbish bins and outhouses, if you suspect the presence of rats and mice, then removing things like bird feeders from back gardens and the relocating or temporary/complete ceasing of food growth and natural composting using food waste is something you MUST do to stop them wanting to come back.
Long grass and overgrown bushes and trees are the perfect hiding places for rats and mice, and it is a good idea to keep these regularly maintained to minimize the scope for a handy hideout for them. Grass can be cut using a simple and reliable rotary mower, whereas edging can be easily taken care of by a grass strimmer. Hedges and bushes are thicker and potentially more troublesome to manage, so specialist garden trimmers and pole saws would certainly help with the job.
Removing Those Rodents
For anybody who has ever had the misfortune of living with a rodent infestation, the infernal scratching sound from your walls and ceilings that plague you day and night is a sure fire sign that you certainly have a problem. But when you go looking for the source of this misery these little nightmares are nowhere to be seen – so what do you do?
The most obvious ways of getting around it include different types of trap (humane and snap traps are available on the market), but it is almost impossible to predict the movements of mice and rats so they can often be ineffective. The next option would be to lay down poison where you can hear them in a more “scattergun” approach. Now, this can go one of two ways – it can either effectively get rid of them or THIS CAN BE ONE OF THE WORST THINGS YOU CAN DO!
If your property has standard shredded material/wool insulation, and you can hear rats and mice making themselves comfortable in there, chances are you are too late and a nest has already been established. If you put poison down, the rats will invariably eat it (which is a good thing if killing them is what you need) but the reality of the situation leaves you in a much worse situation.
After consuming the poison, the rat will then return to its nest deep within your insulation, and if it happens to die while it’s in there, you can wave goodbye to that area for the next few weeks because unfortunately, it will begin to decompose and believe me, you will never find it. And without sounding too morbid, if it happened to have any babies in the nest, they too will die, making this ungodly smell ten times worse.
If you do not suspect a nest has already been formed in your house, you don’t have this kind of insulation, or you are willing to take the risk, you can place poison around and this may do the trick. However, as our next section details, there are other ways of removing and preventing a return for these furry nuisances.
Stopping The Source
Unfortunately, in cases like this, the easiest way of rectifying your rodent problem is to remove this kind of insulation and replace it with solid insulation panels. Some local authorities still run schemes that renew insulation for free, but if it is the soft stuff you’ll end up right back where you started unless you can definitively find the source of the rats and block it off.
Private companies supply solid insulation and although it isn’t cheap, it more or less removes the chance of nest building meaning that if rodents do get in – they won’t want to stay.
After this has been done, you can then start figuring out the ways rats are getting in. Because even fully grown rats and mice can contort themselves into a while less than 3cm, sadly there is any number of ways they can get in. Perhaps the easiest to prevent is to fill the gap between your drainpipes and your wall, which rodents can actually squeeze between and climb up Mission Impossible style! Plastic guards can either be purchased cheaply, or they can be fashioned out of old plant pots or spare wood.
The second most common, and more invasive, way of getting in is through the sewers. If you think about it, if there is a break in one of your soil or drainage pipes leading into your house, rats can simply run through the sewers, up through the crack and into your home without even having to see the light of day.
Drain cameras (trade only) can be employed via either local authorities or private companies which can inspect your drains from the source, however, these are not always entirely conclusive. A good preventative measure (which actually ended 3 years of constant infestations at the home of the writer of this article!) is a non-return valve that sits at the entrance between the sewer/drain and the pipes leading into your house. This is a simple piece of equipment that allows water and material to flow OUT into the sewer but does NOT allow anything (such as rats) to come the other way.
Although it can be difficult to reach these areas and is a dirty job, this is a relatively cheap and effective way of removing the drains as an option for rodents to get in.
As for lofts, it is vitally important to keep the edges of your roof clear to allow ventilation, or your problem will be getting a whole lot worse, however, this gap is also an open door for vermin. Putting rolled-up chicken wire around the edges of this is certainly enough to make rats and mice think twice if not turn around and give up completely. This may require a ladder, of which we stock many different styles and heights available for hire.
We hope that this guide has given an insight into some of the ways you can prevent and remove rodents. We have tools that can help with some of the jobs detailed in this, available for hire nationwide and at highly competitive prices. You can book online or contact our hire team directly for more information. You can also check out our other blogs and guides here.