Rats are opportunistic survivors who excel in finding weak spots in your home and tend to seek shelter from late-September onwards. It doesn’t matter if you live in the heart of an urban sprawl or in the middle of the countryside, if you don’t take the necessary precautions you will be at risk of an infestation that could be very costly to exterminate.
These prevention tips are designed to make your home inhospitable to rats, therefore turning them away and onto more attractive pastures:
Deny them their basic need: Food, Water and Shelter
When rats are looking for a new home, they are looking to fulfil three basic needs. They need water, food and a place to shelter from the elements and predators. If you fail to properly maintain your home then your house will become an attractive prospects to a family of rats. Puddles and leaks offer rats an easy drink, they only need between 15-60ml of water to survive each day, so don’t give them a free snifter!
Keep foodstuffs packed away
All your food stuffs (including pet food) should be kept tightly in metal or glass containers and off the ground. Your kitchen should be kept hygienic and clean of food debris. Rats can subsist off just a few crumbs, so leaving plates or takeaway cartons on the floor is akin to laying out a buffet for them! Sweep up, vacuum and keep your sides clean at all times.
Batten down the hatches!
It’s important to cut down the options for rats to shelter in your home. Older homes tend to offer a maze of gaps, holes and cavities for them to squeeze into. By sealing up any potential gaps (interior or exterior) you can cut down on their points of entry. Ideally you’ll be able to keep your furniture away from the wall, so that you can easily peek behind them.
They came from the garden!
All rats come from outside, they’ll only consider exploring your house if the area outside your house is already offering them a level of comfort. Keep your outside areas clear of debris, like leaves or bric-a-brac. If you create a pile of trash you’re pretty much offering them a free night’s stay. Secure your outdoor bins properly and keep a lid on your compost heap to deter them from coming any further.
Is it too late?
If you’re spotting rat droppings around your home (brown-black pellets the size of rice grains), or you’re noticing a strong smell of urine then there’s a good chance that your home has already been infested. Don’t despair if this is the case, you should still follow the above tips, but now you should consider buying traps and poison as well (depending on how aggressive you feel).