Saturday, January 19, 2013

Unwanted rats

Image: freedigitalphotos
Rats are among the most unwelcome visitors you are likely to have but how can you get rid of the unwanted guests from your home or garden?

Rats are universally reviled and quite rightly so. Not only is it common for them to carry fleas and other parasites but they can also spread infections like tuberculosis, Weil's disease and cryptosporidiosis to occupants of your house.

Their first port of call is often the garden which might not sound too bad but, once there, it won't be long before they are tempted to make their way into the house. Rats can squeeze themselves into unbelievably small spaces but we often make it easy for them to get in by having open cat flaps, gaps around waste pipes and broken air bricks.

Rats will generally be found roaming around at night and usually try to keep out of the way of humans. Consequently, you will probably find signs of their presence before you catch sight of them. That said, if you do make an effort to seek them out, it's worthwhile taking the precaution of wearing some gloves and a face mask for your own protection.

It is easy to see why they have a reputation for being dirty creatures when you consider that often the first sign that you have rats is a trail of droppings left wherever they have been. These will be about 12mm long, dark coloured and tapered. If they've been living with you for a while you might begin to notice a distinct ammonia-like smell coming from their nesting place.

Other signs to look out for are holes in food packaging that has been attacked, teeth marks in wood or plastic items that they might have been gnawing at and shredded up papers that they're been foraging for. While it's unusual to see them, rats can be quite noisy and will often be heard when it's quiet as they move around beneath floors and in roof spaces.

Rats favour dry, dark places with a bit of warmth to nest in but will often live underground in the garden. Check for holes raised decking areas or under sheds and near the base of trees and shrubs. Check outbuildings and attached garages for holes that they are likely to use and also look for gaps under the roofline of the house.

Although they like a bit of comfort, a readily available supply of food will also entice rats into your garden or house. Make sure you don't allow your bins to overflow, avoid composting foods that will attract them and don't leave pets' feeding bowls out at night. External gaps and holes should be filled to discourage access while internally check that storage cupboards and containers are secure.

All of the major supermarkets, local hardware stores and many garden centres stock a range of items designed to help you to get rid rats. These can include poisons that may be harmful to children or pets so, it's recommended that you read the labels and follow any directions for use that the manufacturer provides.

Get in touch with Envirosafe Pest Control today for help and advice on removing pests.