Rats are a pest that people understandably fear the most. There are several steps you can take to prevent rats from infesting your property and we hope that the following tips help. If you are concerned that despite your best efforts it would appear you have a rat infestation, please contact us.
Rat Prevention Tips
Rats are attracted to supplies of food and shelter that they can access in several areas of your home and the surrounding area. Combine this with an overgrown garden and you have already, albeit unwittingly, created the perfect breeding ground. You are essentially providing for their basic needs – food and shelter and you may not even know it! So here are some helpful tips to remove the temptation for rats to settle around your property.
Removing Outdoor Sources Of Food
Fruit trees with fruit that has fallen to the ground to go back to the soil are in fact food to feed rats with! So remove dropped fruit regularly. Look out for it.
Protect Your Compost Bins. Rats Love Accessing Them.
In one small, private, and dark space, usually located away from your gaze they have complete access to a never-ending supply of rotting food. Ensure your bin is set on concrete slabs so rats cannot burrow underneath it and don’t let it overfill. Keep the lid on firmly. If it is plastic, you will need to secure it with a slab on top. And keep a close eye for signs of infestation. You might have to stop the composting whilst any infestation is being tackled and re-site it closer to your home.
Cleaning Bird Tables
The same principles apply here. Birds are messy when feeding. The seed and other feed that falls on the ground will attract rats, especially bits from the fat balls which they love. Either opt for bird feeders where the left-over seeds stay inside the feeder or ensure you clear the areas under your feeders every day. Always use gloves to protect yourself from touching rat contaminated foodstuffs.
Keeping Trees And Bushes Pruned
Rats are secretive creatures, so your overgrown bushes and trees are perfect for them to stay out of sight and to create tunnels to move around your property. What’s more those overhanging trees you were going to get round to pruning are enabling rats to access your roof. It only takes one cracked or missing tile for a rat to make your home their home.
Keeping The Outside Bin Area Clean With The Bin Lids Securely Shut
Overflowing bins with the lids pushed open, bags of food rubbish placed beside a full bin – will attract rats. Add in warm weather and the stench from stale and rotting food will provide an irresistible lure for rats.
De-Cluttering The Entire Outside Space.
If you have clumps of garden rubbish; no-go areas where furniture, parasols, fertiliser bags, plant pots, and garden rubbish have been allowed to build up over time, you have created yet another safe space for rats. These spaces provide rats with a safe habitat.
Ensuring That Food For Garden Birds, Hens, Hedgehogs, Dogs, And Cats Is Well Stored
If you store animal food outside ensure it is kept in tamper-proof metal or pottery containers. And the lid must fit snugly and be tamper-proof too. A rubber or wooden lid will bear the marks of a rat gnawing long before you realise you have an infestation of rats and can see they have been helping themselves to the content.
Rats do not like the smell of mint and as it is an easy, fast-spreading herb to plant, consider growing it close to your home. It also ensures you have extra tasty potatoes!
Keeping Your BBQ Clean At All Times.
It is tempting to put off cleaning the BBQ for another day that rarely comes. Don’t! Cleaning it as soon as it is safe to do so, ensures you are not attracting rats to the grease and left-over food debris.
How To Rat Proof Your Property
Another great way to deter rats is to make your house rat-proof. This is easier said than done but there are certain steps you can take to make your property more of a fortress against infestation. So how can you do this?
- Undertake a thorough inspection of your property looking for small holes and cracks – fill them with robust materials. Rats squeeze into the smallest of spaces.
- Cracks in the roof or missing tiles? If you think you have an infestation of rats, they may be entering via the roof. Ask your local builder to check it out.
- Drain blockage? If basins and kitchen appliances are taking too long to empty, you may have a blockage that needs to be cleared so that rats are not attracted to the stale, greasy water.
- Use proofing and repairing rat-proof materials. A rat can gnaw through plastic, some types of expanding foam, and wood. So, think heavy-gauge wire screening to cover holes, metal mesh to stuff into holes around pipes, and a fit for purpose expanding foam sealant to fill other gaps and cracks.
- Inspect all the air bricks in your home. This will probably entail removing weeds and plants away which is a good practise. Given a rat only needs a space of 2cm to get into your home it only takes one slightly broken air brick to invite the rats inside.
- Check the condition of the air vents inside your home. A loosely fixed air vent on the wall or floor in the lounge or kitchen area will not present any barrier to a rat that has gained entry to your home and now wants to explore the rooms within!
- Check your soffit boards. If they are made from UPVC, a rat can easily break them down and gain access from gnawing at the plastic until a small hole is made. Unless you are looking for this type of subtle damage, you won’t be any the wiser.
- If your internal doors are loose-fitting, consider adding close-fitting bristle/brush strips to the bottom. Likewise, check on the fitting of your external doors. Gaps underneath or at the side are enough for a rat to gain access.
We hope these helpful prevention and deterrent tips have helped. If you would welcome some more advice and guidance we are happy to assist you!