When it comes to pest control, prevention is better than cure. Once pests such as rats have taken hold in your home, it can be very difficult to eliminate them. Tidiness and sanitation are the best defenses against rats. Keep the exterior and interior of your home clean and uncluttered to prevent rats from getting established, and to make it easier to spot them if they do.
Pest control tips to avoid attracting rats include:
- Store food in sealed plastic or metal containers.
- Keep perishables such as fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.
- Do not let trash or debris accumulate in or near your home.
- Discard food scraps in a secure dustbin that can't be tipped over or accessed by other animals.
- Seal all possible entry points for rats--use wire mesh to cover ventilation holes, place wire balloons in the top of drain pipes and cone guards at the bottom, and fix a bristle strip to the bottom of doors.
- Clear up any fruit that falls from trees in your garden and food that falls from bird tables.
- Keep vegetation away from the house and stack firewood off the ground.
- Keep a pet cat!
Once rats have settled in, the two main rat removal options are traps and poisoning. Poison should be used with care, especially where children and pets are also in the property. Furthermore, rats can take the poison and die somewhere else in the house where they decompose and leave a nasty smell, potentially attracting other pests. Traps left in locations where the rats have been seen, or left evidence, can be successful for a small rat problem. And, hire professional contractors to treat a larger problem.