How to deter rats from living in your home

Preventative measures are important otherwise the underlying causes of a rat problem will remain, and the rats will probably come back.

Prevent entry

First, you need to find out where the rats are living and feeding, as well as the routes they take between these areas. Find out how they're getting into your home (you can block any holes with newspaper and come back a day later to see which holes have been reopened) and permanently block these access points.

  • Cover holes/gaps in walls and around pipes (fine mesh chicken wire and cement can provide a good solution).
  • Fix a bristle strip to the bottom of doors. This can be bought at your local DIY store.
  • Use thin wire mesh to cover ventilation holes.
  • Place wire balloons (less than £2 from builders' merchants) in the top of drain pipes.
  • Fit cone guards to the bottom of drain pipes.
  • When planting bushes make sure they're at least 3 feet from your house. Short, tidy vegetation in your garden exposes rats to predators and discourages them from venturing further.

Cut off their food supply

If there’s nothing for rats to feast on, chances are they’ll leave your home fairly quickly. We recommend the following tips:

  • Don't leave food lying around either inside or outside your home.
  • Give your house a good clean (even a few crumbs from the toaster could tempt a hungry rat into your home) and keep food in sealed containers.
  • Dispose of rubbish promptly and keep your bin lids closed.
  • Keep yards and alleys clean and if you regularly find litter around your home from local shops, call your local council to arrange for them to clear it up.
  • Clear up fallen fruit from trees and leftover bird food in your garden.
  • Make sure birdhouses and food trays are out of reach.
  • Don't compost any animal products (fish, meat, cheese or butter).

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