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Its doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out we have had a long and hot summer. And that rodents get on with what the do best. Making more rodents!
It won’t surprise you to learn that Pest Controllers are fielding reports of customers seeing rats running rampant around their properties. But hey I hear the karma loving greenies say live and let live. Leave them outside let them be.
Except when summer flows into Autumn and we get cold snaps they look for warmth. And yes that means they are eying up your home. AND less rats means more native birds too. GO Predator Free 2050!
You don’t want an infestation of rodents in your house, with all their disease and destruction not to mention the fee you have pay a pest controller. Lets avoid all that and take the preemptive step
So what can you do to ensure that rat SURGE doesn’t invade your home. Some basic things to consider,
(i) restrict food sources around your home. Pick up fruit from trees that hit the ground and bin it. Nothing says “come hither” more than fresh fruit on the ground. Rats love fresh fruit and vegetables! While they are chowing down on your fruit, they might notice your warm and inviting home. “So convenient”, they think, source of yummy food and a nice dry warm home. “I might just move in” they muse!
(ii) compost heaps with food scraps attract rats. If your evangelical about your composting consider a design that gets food scraps off the ground, or rodent proof your standard one as per the predator free web site
(iii) reduce their access. Cut trees back to one metre from your roofline. Once a rat is on your roof like they can access your attic space.
(iv) look under house as a rat would view it. Grab a headlight, knee pads and gloves and have a look at the floor of your house. Any gap in the floor e.g. the hole around pipes that goes through your floor. If you can fit your thumb though, a rats can easily get though. Make these gaps smaller. Better to use metal or wood to reduce the gaps. While expanding foam is not as good as metal or wood it’s better than nothing!
(v) Controls. You can place controls outside your house. These can be mechanical traps that catch and kill. Or bait stations. Both mechanical traps and bait have their pros and cons. Please remember to wear gloves when handling controls as they may be contaminated with pathogens from the rodents.
TIP: Placement is critical for any control
Place controls on the side of your home. Remember before a rat invades your home, they scout around it first. This is your rat. The rats on the fence line may be coming from a council park. Putting controls on a fence line may kill a lot of rats but not the ones involved in your home invasion.
The best place to put a control is where the rats frequent, how to fine these areas? Today there is a huge range of remote cameras from electronic shops that use Bluetooth and wifi. Use these to work out what’s happening at night. Knowledge is power! Rats are creatures of habit, find out where their trails are and your controls will really start to work.
If rats squeeze over or though a spot on a regular basis, they will leave oil from their fur on this spot. This is pest control GOLD! You have just found an area that your rats trust. Dr Bobby Corrigan ( Rodentolgist) calls these sebum ( oil from sebaceous glands) trails. They look like someone has smeared vegemite on a beam or PVC pipe. Rats trust these marks.
TIP: Place your controls on these marks.
Rats are Neophobic. They don’t trust anything new. But after seven days they forget their initial fear. Place Snap traps or mechanical traps UNSET for seven days. Let the rats run over them and get use to them. Set them after seven days. Then when there is a kill, you need to consider moving the trap as the other rats have now learnt that the trap is dangerous. Unfortunately, this is the downside of the mechanical traps, its one rat at time!
Consider a humane mechanical trap made in NZ! Good nature is one the worlds best mechanical traps and its made here in NZ! And it’s an instant kill which is considered humane. They use gas power ( like a slug gun) to drive a needle into the back of the rodents head. 100% awesome but something this well engineered has a cost. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive. Remember placement is critical! Remember the best trap or bait in the wrong place will not work.
IMPORTANT TIP: With snap traps and bait can other ( non target ) animals get to them? If so, please use a locked station to exclude birds, hedgehogs, cats, dogs and children.
When in a ceiling or under a house I point out a bucket of water and ask the customers what’s that? Oh the plumber told me rats chew water pipe as they are thirsty.
Rats are as surprised when water gushes out of the pipe they are chewing as you are when your house suddenly floods. Rats and mice are rodents, and all rodents have the desire to chew to wear down their prominent front teeth. Otherwise eventually they can’t close their mouth. This desire to chew is what leads them to your soft plastic water mains piping. Its just a pleasant past time, much like some humans like to chew chewing gum. No point leaving out containers of water to prevent floods, MYTH BUSTED.
When you sleep…
Remember when you are sleep at 2am, there’s some furry animals admiring your nice dry and warm home. Every night while you sleep these furry critters have plenty of time to hatch a plan in how to invade your home. Take the initiative and be ready for the furry INVASION. Stamp out the rodent SURGE out before they overrun your home.