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 properties, ensure any gaps under external doors are effectively closed.
Open eaves in older style properties 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 telltale signs, i.e. droppings, soil (from tunneling).
Preventing rats in your garden
Feed the birds not the rats! Take care when putting out bird-food or kitchen scraps not to encourage unwanted visitors! Large amounts scattered about may well bring rats into your garden. The RSPC can advise on feeding garden birds.
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.
Rats in sewers will tunnel out where there is a break in the pipework. Holes in the ground around your inspection chamber may indicate a problem in which case repairs will be necessary.
If you have an aviary or keep animals outdoors in an enclosure or hutch, you will need to take extra care to avoid vermin. Split animal feed, accumulated droppings and bedding material will attract such undesirables.
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! Holes in flowerbeds, under sheds are favoured locations.
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