The best way to treat a rat problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Rats can procreate very quickly and once they have settled down it will be hard to get them to leave. Do not let them enter your home by covering all possible entry points. |
The objective is to prevent rats getting into your house. Before you start sealing holes, be sure there are no rats left in the house. If you trap a rat inside your house it may cause considerable damage trying to get out, or worse still trying to get water. Rats need to drink regularly and if deprived of water they will chew through a water pipe.
First eliminate all the rats using your house, then very carefully and thoroughly search all aspects of your house for potential access points. Go round several times and from different directions. Rats can gain access through holes as small as 1.5 cm (½ inch), but usually they quickly open holes to about 5 cm (2 inchs). If rats are using the hole regularly it will probably have a used look about it, clear of cobwebs, dust, leaves etc. Rats like to be able to move quickly and easily around their territory.
Stop rats and mice finding a way into your home or other building. Take half an hour to walk around the house looking for ways in. Take a pencil with you to write down what needs to be done and use it to measure gaps. If a pencil can slip under a door a mouse can get under it. Mice and rats can flatten their rib cages to fit through gaps, if their head can fit through, their body can follow. Gaps under doors can be sealed with draft excluder.
Rats and mice are usually active at night and are not likely to gain entry through open doors and windows during the day. The exception might be when they are under real pressure to find food and shelter. Then they may take the risk of venturing out during the day. So keep doors and windows closed at all times if possible.
Remove all food sources. Check for food that might have been spilled behind the fridge or under other furniture. Make sure the cereals, flour, rice and other food stuffs in your larder are put in sealed containers.
Look in places both high and low. Rats and mice are excellent climbers. Roof rats are better climbers than the larger Norway rats and feed readily in trees. They will walk along branches that overhang roofs and drop down onto the roof. From here they rarely have difficulty getting into the roof void via gaps around the eaves. Cut overhanging trees away from the roof and also trim climbing plants such as rambling roses, vines, ivy, honeysuckle etc. to at least 30cm below the overhanging eaves.
Air vents are necessary for the good ventilation of sub floors and should not be sealed. Undamaged vents are usually designed to be mouse proof. Repair damaged vents or cover with fine mesh. Also look for gaps where pipe work and cables enter buildings and gaps where weatherboards do not fit flush. These can usually be filled with silicone sealers, waterproof fillers or foam filler.
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