ACES pest control Director Owen Stobart is picking that Auckland will see a lot of surge of rats this year due to two main factors

Besides the fact we have come off another long summer, which means there are high numbers of rodents like 2019, two other factors are making this year even worse than prior.

(i) the Lockdown. Has meant that rats in general have had a month left to their own devices.4-5 weeks is about one breeding cycle. So given they produce around 6 pups a litter, that's potentially up to 5 times more rats than 2019! "Rat-nami" all over again!

(ii) the drought. Water is short not just  for humans but rodents are feeling it too. When the rats around a dam or stream find its dry as a bone, where do they go? Yup you guessed it, your place!

And we are seeing high activity for rodents with our stations being cleaned out completely

How to Keep Rats Away

The best strategy is to keep these kind of pests out of your home to start with. Once an infestation has begun they are hard to get rid of. Here are eight steps you can take to keep these rodents out of your home:

1. Fill holes, cracks and gaps

Rats can slip into holes the size of a quarter. Check your home for any opening that size and larger. Seal them up with proper materials. These include steel wool, hardware cloth, caulk, cement, and plaster. Weather-strip doors and windows if there are large cracks.

2. Don't feed them

Rats are resourceful. They will find things to eat around your property, so you have to be diligent in dealing with them. Cover garbage cans at all times. Pick produce from your garden and trees as it ripens. Pick up and compost fruit and vegetables that fall to the ground. Feed outdoor pets during the day and don't leave leftover food lying around. Don't store pet food outside without making sure it's in rodent proof containers.

3. Remove their habitat

Don't give these vermin a place to live. Remove debris such as limbs, old cars or appliances from your property. If you have wood piles or lumber, store them at least 18 inches above ground and a foot or so away from your home and other walls. Remove heavy vegetation, as rats consider this is a great hiding place.

4. Trim trees, shrubs and limbs back four feet from your home

Rats aren't Olympians; they can't bridge that gap.

5. Set traps inside

There are several commercially available traps to catch rats inside your home that are not dangerous to pets and children, for example, cage traps.

6. Use baits and poisons outside

Toxic baits and poisons should be used outside the home. Rats can spread poison inside your home, making it dangerous for all. Always read and follow label directions. Make sure rat bait is in an enclosed bait station. Keep the bait where children and pets can't reach it.