Rats inside your home or business premises are not just alarming – they can have a serious negative impact upon your health. Rats can spread infections such as Salmonella, Hantavirus, Trichinosis, Rat bite fever, Murine typhus and Weil’s disease. But as well as spreading infections rats are also home to some unpleasant parasites such as ticks, fleas and mites.
Rats are most active at night so it is important to be aware of the warning signs. Scratching noises under the walls or the floor should be investigated. Rats leave dark, sausage shaped droppings around 1-2cm long and leave behind a distinctive ammonia-like smell. Look out for signs of gnawing on plastic, cardboard and even metal. Rats will gnaw on anything softer than their teeth.
Broken pipework is a common way for rats to access a property and the best means of defense is to secure your home against an infestation, particuarly in winter when food is scarce or after flooding when rats nests can be washed out. Here are some tips on how to prevent rats from entering your home.
How To Prevent a Rat Infestation
- Young rats can gain access through holes of less than 1cm.
- To secure access against rats ensure windows are completely glazed or fitted with galvanized wire netting with a mesh of at least 1-2cm, the wire itself having a diameter of at least 0.7mm.
- Man-holes should be fitted with rat-proof covers, and drainpipes from the roof and outlets from the sink should be inspected to ensure that they are not providing access routes.
- Rats cannot normally enter via a cement floor but they will be able to access via a badly finished join.
- Do not allow rats to access any food sources, particuarly when feeding birds – do not allow food to accumulate on the floor and make sure bird feeder are off the ground.