Rat infestations can cause significant damage to homes and can ruin reputations of commercial premises if not dealt with so knowing how to get rid of them is key.
As Winter months being to draw in these mammals look for the warmth of homes to survive and find food.
What does the brown rat look like?
The brown rat usually weighs over half a kilo and measures about 23cm.
The brown rat is unsurprisingly a brownish red colour, a hefty individual with a thick body and a blunt nose.
Its ears are smaller and rounder than its black partner in crime, and it has a shorter tail.
Are rats dangerous?
Rats are not necessarily dangerous to humans but can spread disease directly by contaminating food with their urine or faeces, or by biting.
Humans can also get ill where rats run across counter top or other surface areas where food is prepared.
They can also transmit diseases such as Weil’s disease indirectly through fleas, which if infected, can transfer the disease to other animals or people.
What attracts rats to your home?
As the Winter months draw in, Rats being warm blood mammals look for for the comfort of warm homes to survive.
They also enter homes in the hunt for food sources such as rubbish bins, leftovers, messy kitchens etc.
Rats also need a daily source of water and if they can’t find it outside they will look to come indoors. Homes sometimes have leaky pipes creating the ideal source for rodents.
Signs of a rat infestation
When rats invade your homes there are noticeable signs and distinct noises you will begin to notice.
Rats operate at night so they will be hard to spot during, however these signs are good indicators of an infestation.
- Rat droppings – dark brown and ‘rice’ shaped
- Scratching noises – usually heard in ceilings and attics
- Rub marks – grease and dirt on their bodies leave behind marks
- Gnaw marks – rats love to chew on wires and other surfaces
- Rat holes – rats are well known to dig for shelter and food storage
How to get rid of rats in the house
It’s important to get rid of rats in your home due to the damage they can cause and diseases they can carry.
If you are certain you have a rat infestation you have several options including block bait, grain bait, spring traps, electronic traps and more. Each option is best suited to each individual situation.
However, in general spring traps are good to place in high activity areas due to their instant killing mechanism.
Grain bait can be used in bait trays, block bait can be used in bait boxes and grain bait can be placed in harder to reach areas.
Remember, whenever baiting make sure you keep poison and traps well away from children, pets and non-target species.
To stop rats getting into your home we recommend proofing up common access areas. You can read more about rat proofing below.
How to get rid of rats in the garden
To get rid of rats in the garden you first need to try and identify particular areas of high activity.
Rats like to hide in shrubbery, bushes, under sheds and other concealed spots so check these areas first.
Once you have identified these areas you can start baiting with your preferred poison. We recommend using a rat bait box to protect non-target species and stop poison getting wet or blown away.
If rats are hiding under sheds and you can’t fit a bait box or trap underneath you can use grain bait sachets as these are much thinner. The rats will gnaw through the sachets and consume the poison.
When implementing measures to deal with rats in your garden make sure you do so carefully and away from children, pets and other animals.
How to get rid of rats in the roof
Getting rid of rats in the roof is more difficult than other areas of the home due to accessibility issues and other restrictions.
One way you can deal with rats in the roof is by knocking a nail through rat poison blocks onto roof beams where activity is high. This helps secure the poison and stops it being dragged away.
How to get rid of rats in the attic / loft
The methods to getting rid of rats in your attic or loft is similar to dealing with rats in your roof.
You will usually notice you have rats in your attic when you hear scurrying noises in the roofs.
If you can reach the attic or loft we recommend placing rat traps and bait boxes in high activity areas.
If you can’t reach then sachets can be easier to place and are just as effective.
How to rat proof your home and prevent future infestations
Rat proofing is very important especially during Winter to prevent rats entering your home.
Below are some tips to follow to make your home as secure from rodents as possible.
- Keep your home clean and tidy and store dry food in containers.
- Regularly sanitise surfaces and clean areas where food has been prepared
- Seal up any openings in walls or other cracks using caulk or steel wool. Cover bigger openings by using rodent mesh.
- Seal off air bricks by using an air brick cover.
Read our full guide on how to rodent proof your home here.