Rat control, the law and where we stand
We are not responsible for the removal of rat infestations within a property. This is the responsibility of the owner or occupier. We do however, have a duty to enforce this responsibility where it becomes necessary.
Several visits are normally required by the pest contractor to lay bait, check progress and finally, clear away any surplus. Advice is also given on the nature of the treatment and any precautions that are necessary. Repairs or pest proofing is not included within our service, neither can dead rats be retrieved from under floor voids, wall cavities or other inaccessible locations.
If you follow the precautions below, you'll hopefully never require this service.
The sight of a rat generally provokes a strong reaction. We associate them with dirt and disease, and history has taught us not to tolerate them at close quarters.
Rats are commensal animals, that is they live in close association with other animals, and humans and are usually nocturnal. They are not dependent on us, but our habits often favour them and they are quick to take advantage of circumstances or exploit opportunities we deliberately or inadvertently create.
The risk of illness is not the only threat they pose. Rats cause a great deal of damage to buildings and contents due to their habit of gnawing. Overall, it's in our collective interest to keep their numbers to a minimum.
Modern pest control measures are effective, but cannot be relied upon entirely. There is also a cost associated with the use of rodenticides, and because they have to be toxic, use needs to be kept to a minimum. Reasonably, there are a number of preventative steps that we can take without necessarily resorting to professional help, or suffering loss through damage or incurring unnecessary expense.
Preventing rats in your home
Rats can gain access to a house in a number of ways, most if not all of which can be prevented by good maintenance:
- ensure all gaps in brickwork are permanently sealed. Gaps are not normally present but can result from improvements or disrepair, i.e. pipes or cables have been inserted or removed.
- repair broken air vents/bricks
- with older houses, ensure any gaps under external doors are effectively closed
- open eaves in older style houses also permit access and should be wired over (do not stop the loft ventilation)
- rats in the loft have gained access either by climbing up pipes or within the cavity wall itself and may indicate a problem in the drains. Check your manholes for tell-tale signs such as droppings, soil (from tunnelling)
Preventing rats in your garden
Feed the birds not the rats! Take care when putting out bird food or kitchen scraps so as not to encourage unwanted visitors. Large amounts scattered about may well bring rats into your garden. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) can advise on feeding garden birds, please phone 01767 693690.
Home composting is an environmentally friendly way to recycle 'green' household waste. It is not recommended to recycle any cooked food scraps and leftovers by composting. Beware too: a badly constructed or poorly maintained heap will provide attractive accommodation for rats.
If you have an aviary or keep animals outdoors in an enclosure or hutch, you will need to take extra care as spilt animal feed, accumulated droppings and bedding material will attract vermin.
Overgrown, untidy gardens, accumulated refuse, stockpiles of materials, or plain old junk can easily become infested, especially if there is a local food source. A tidy garden will avoid many problems including rats, and neighbours will appreciate it too!
Non-professional use of rodenticides
Certain rodenticides are available over the counter for those wishing to carry out treatment themselves. However, extreme caution is necessary when using poisons in the open or indoors. For this reason, we DO NOT recommend self-application unless you are confident you know how to do so properly and without exposing non-target animals to the risk of accidental poisoning. Other than the distress it can cause, it is illegal and could result in prosecution.