Last year, the British Pest Control Association warned that rat numbers have increased to an estimated 200 million. Any pest control service provider will tell you that it is a phenomenal stat.
If these numbers aren’t scary enough, experts also say that as these rodents are living in ever-closer proximity to humans, they’re becoming unfazed by us. The final nail in the coffin is that they’re also learning how to avoid traps and are becoming resistant to conventional poisons.
What we can conclude from this is that rats are easy to come across and difficult to get rid of. So, what are the best ways to eliminate a rat infestation should you find yourself faced with one?
Eliminate any potential food sources
It may be obvious, but this is one of the most effective ways to get rid of rats fast and even prevent an infestation occurring in the first place. Rodents don’t enter our properties because they enjoy our company, they’re simply looking for food. If you make it impossible for them to fulfil this basic need, they will move on quickly.
- Keep food in rat-proof containers or storage. This is most important for items which have been opened but not finished. If you’re prone to rat infestations however, it may be worth doing this with everything because they can easily gnaw through packaging.
- Keep bins as far away from entry points into the building as possible. If you’re limited for space, try to raise bins above floor level so rats can’t access them.
- Don’t leave bowls of pet food outside because this is an easy food source. If you feed your pets inside, remove and wash their bowl as soon as they’ve finished eating.
- Clear up any food spillages immediately.
- Turn compost piles to cover newly added food scraps.
- If you provide food for birds, only feed them husk-less items which leave less residue.
- Don’t store food such as fruit on the kitchen counter.
- Also eliminate any water sources such as pet bowls and bird baths and if you have a condensation problem in your home, get this seen to.
If there are any holes in your property, make sure you seal them up. Feel around your house or premises for any areas where you can feel a cold breeze coming through.
Filling these gaps can prevent rats making their way in. No matter how small the hole is, never underestimate the capability of a cold and hungry rodent. They can easily chew through foam and dried caulk so try to use metal or galvanised hardware cloth.
Some of the most common entry points include:
- Inside, underneath and behind kitchen cabinets, fridges and stoves
- Inside cupboards near floor corners
- Around windows and doors. Young rats can even squeeze through small gaps under doorways so fit strips to the bottom of doors
- The fireplace
- Pipes under sinks and washing machines
- Floor and dryer vents
- The attic and/or basement
- Electrical, plumbing, cable and gas lines
- Cat flaps. Try locking your cat flap at night or installing a microchip cat flap which will only let your pet inside
- If you have trees near your property, rats can climb them and gain access to your roof where they can then make their way inside
Keep your garden clutter-free
You may think that as long as they’re outside it’s no big deal but if you do have rats in your garden, they’re likely to make their way inside before long.
- Firewood is a favourite hideout for rats and mice so if you keep a stockpile at the ready, elevate your logs at least 18 inches off the ground. Also try to store it as far away from your property as possible.
- After a storm, clean away any debris that provides protective cover for rodents as quickly as possible.
- Clear out your gutters on a regular basis. Anything like leaves, twigs and moss can be used for nesting materials.
- Rake up any leaves and make sure you dispose of them. Leaving them in a pile at the back of a garden provides a great place for rats to hide.
Call a local pest controller
If you think that you may have a rat infestation, complete our online form give Prokill a call today on 0800 328 9354. Our free pest control audit will be able to determine whether or not you have a problem, how to get rid of it and importantly, how to prevent it coming back.