If you think you have rats in your garden or even your house, you probably have!
The Pros and Cons of the best ways to get rid of rats.
Why are rats attracted to my home and garden?
Rats are never far from us humans, we are there source of food and habitat, so if you have recently seen one in or near your home or garden then it is likely to be living nearby and is searching for food. It is unlikely to be alone either, rats live in extended family groups. Whilst staking out a garden where the householder suspected rats might be living I saw about 20 rats all scurrying about together.
What diseases do rats spread?
Even rats living in the garden cannot be left untreated Rats cause us many serious problems. The most serious is Weils Disease, a potentially fatal disease transmitted by rats to humans and domestic pets via bacteria in the rats’ urine. Symptoms of Weils Disease (Leptospirosis) NHS
Rats also transmit Salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, listeria, toxoplasmosis and toxacaria to humans.
How is disease transmitted by rats?
If the Weils bacteria gets into your bloodstream the resulting infection can be fatal if not recognized and treated. If rats urinate in damp long grass or around garden ponds the bacteria can remain active for up to a month. The bacteria gets into the bloodstream via cuts and grazes so children crawling around on hands and knees in a rat infested area are particularly at risk. Poor hygiene also plays a part, ingestion from contaminated food dishes and by not washing your hands properly can transmit the disease.
How can rats damage my home?
Rats can cause a lot of serious damage if they get into your house by gnawing through soft metals such as lead and aluminium, thick wood like supporting beams, breeze blocks and electrical wiring leading to fire risks.
You think you have seen a rat in the garden or heard a rat gnawing or scurrying around within a cavity wall or loft at night, ugh! And you now want to trap or poison it. First you will need to find out where it is living and feeding and the route it takes getting from one to the other.
The route may lead to neighbouring properties.
One way is to quietly position yourself at sunset and watch what happens, rats have regular routines and you will get a fairly good idea of where to place the trap or poison.
A lot easier and quicker way to track rats is to use the fluorescent tracking dust featured here, it is really useful in detecting rat activity. You sprinkle a small amount where you think the rat is active and then when it's dark inspect using an UV torch. The effect is a bit scary seeing how active rats can be during the night. This will confirm entry points to the house and in dry weather can be used in the garden too.
More information about using Flourescent tracking dust at the bottom of this page or by clicking on the picture.
Rats will also leave droppings in the house and remains of nesting materials and food they have carried to the area and this can help locate the rat. Never handle rat droppings as they could contain disease organisms. Always wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
Live rat trap.
Live trapping allows you to humanely kill the rat or remove it well away from your property so you know it has gone.
Bearing in mind the habits and routines of rats we have discussed earlier, place the rat trap in the area the rat takes from where it is living to get to food. The more traps you set the more chance you will have of catching them.
Rats are very wary of new objects and will avoid them to start with, be patient and don't move them, an old object becomes a new one if you move it.
You can tempt the rats into the traps using bait, anything edible will work including bread, chocolate, biscuits, fruit, I would avoid meat as you may attract more flies than rats.
Check the traps at least once a day and when you catch a rat humanely kill it as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary suffering.
The spring-loaded snap trap is a proven, effective way to trap rats. Snap traps work by snapping a metal wire over the rat's neck when it tries to grab the bait. It is important to choose a rat trap that's big enough to kill the rats, using traps that are too small may maim the rat without killing it or lead to a protracted death from strangulation. I use the heavy duty snap trap here.
Finding out how rats get into your property and where they go, to enable you to place the traps in the best place, can be difficult. Sitting and watching in the dark or setting CCTV to record the rats scurrying around you property can work, but by far the easiest way is to use fluorescent tracking dust. The powder shows you exactly where the rats and mice have been and where they are going.
If you have got an hour to spare, read this online book of the account of the life and experiences of an expert Rat-Catcher named Mr. Ike Mathews who caught rats as a professional for about 25 Years in the 1800s First Published in 1898.