How to get rid of Rats
Can you hear scratching noises in walls, ceilings, or under floors? Do you see black droppings, chewed materials or noticed a strong musky smell? A burst water or radiator pipe? Then you probably have a rat issue. Check our advice below or contact us for help.
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Why rats are considered pests?
Rats can cause significant structural damage to buildings, including electrical fires, due to their gnawing habits.
They leave bad odours, droppings, and chew food, but also a range of diseases including Salmonellosis, typhus and Weil’s disease, a potentially fatal disease transmitted through contact with rat urine.
Under certain conditions, rats will also nest in gardens, under sheds, decking and will even dig burrows under shrubs.
Looking for evidence
The most common species of rat in Ireland is the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). It is also called Brown rat, Sewer rat, Grey rat or Common rat. Their colour varies from a pure grey to a reddish-brown, with a pale grey belly. Brown rats weight 100 to 500 grams (average 335g).
Signs of rat activity in the home or garden include the following:
- Gnawing marks
Rats gnaw continuously to keep their incisors short. Rat teeth marks are noticeable at the base of wooden doors. Rats will also gnaw through soft metal. or plastic materials such as wheelie bin lids or PVC sewer pipes.
- Rat droppings
This is the main way to differentiate between rats and mice infestation. A rat stool is approx. 12mm long (i.e. longer than a grain of rice) and tend to be tapered at one end. A mouse dropping is half that size and thinner (i.e. shorter than a grain of rice). Norway Rats produce about 40 droppings each per day.
Rats produce a characteristic ‘stale’ smell. This can be readily recognized when rat infestations are long-standing.
- Rat noises
Rats make loud walking, scratching, tapping and chewing noises behind kitchen presses, ceilings, plasterboards walls, attics and cavity spaces. These noises are far more noticeable with rats compared to mice.
- Smear marks
Rats and mice have greasy hairs and always walk the same path, rubbing along walls. This quickly leaves dirty black smears,
The presence of rats in houses is noticeable within a few hours. Rats nibble fruits, tear bags, carry full slices of bread under kitchen units, and turn over bins bags.
- Footprints and Tail Swipes
These can be noticed where rats have been moving over muddy or dusty surfaces
Proofing the building against rat infestations
Rats are very clever and will gnaw at any gaps to enlarge them and get entry to a building. Here is some advice to help prevent rats from accessing your home:
- Rat entry points
Possible rat entry points to the house should be sealed, such as ESB/cable boxes, holes in walls, gaps under doors.
Gardens should be kept short and tidy, particularly around buildings. Rats and mice do not like crossing open spaces, where they feel vulnerable.
- Roof areas
Rats can climb along gutter downpipes or use overhanging branches to gain access to attics through gaps under eaves. Any roof damage should be repaired.
We provide rat proofing inspections/surveys and undertake a range of Rodent Proofing Work covering all situations if required.
Getting Rid of Rats
Rats litter size is 6-11 babies. The rat gestation period is only 3 weeks and female rats can mate and conceive within 24/48 hours of giving birth. It is important to get rid of rats quickly before they are too numerous, infest your home or business and damage cables, insulation, or gnaw through water pipes causing floods.
Ultrasonic devices, rat poison and various rat traps can be used in order to control rats. There are situations where rat harbourage cannot be easily identified or accessed such as wall cavities or ceilings. If a situation is not straightforward it is preferable to consult a specialist Pest Control Service provider who is trained to handle each situation in order to achieve complete rat control rapidly.
Owl Pest Control Technicians have extensive experience and knowledge in dealing with rats from all areas indoors and outdoors, around all types of buildings, e.g.:
- Rats in walls – rat nests in wall cavity insulation.
- Rat burrows – treatments, identification and repairs to manholes/sewers damaged by rats.
- Rats in ceilings and attics – scratching noises, etc.
- Rats under floors – sewer survey cameras and identification of access points.
- Rats in the kitchen – removal of kitchen appliances as necessary.
- Specialist cleaning and biocide treatments of infested areas.