What to do if rats or other pests are living in your home

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Nobody wants to share their house with unexpected guests. Whether rats or other vermin, it’s important to know how to deal with a pest infestation in the unfortunate event it happens to you

It doesn’t matter how clean your home is or how careful you are, pest infestations can happen to anyone at any time. That being said, there are ways to minimise the risk of a pest infestation happening in your home.

To prevent a pest infestation in the first place, there are three simple steps to follow.

1. Stop them from getting in

If you have holes in your brickwork, easy entrances around the outskirts of your house or any clear opportunities for pests and vermin to enter your home – block them up! Rats and mice can squeeze their bodies through extremely small spaces, so any possible way in should be dealt with.

The floor, roof, skirting boards and outer layer of your house are the most vulnerable entrance ways for rats in particular.

2. Stop them from eating

While having a clean home doesn’t necessarily prevent the presence of rats or pests, it can certainly help.

In the kitchen especially, make sure it is cleaned regularly and food is kept out of sight and correctly stored to avoid unwanted house guests sniffing round for free food. Rubbish bins can be a common cause of pests and making sure you empty these regularly can go a long way to preventing an infestation.

3. Stop them from feeling at home

Any old furniture or appliances that are left outside your home can make great places for rats and mice to nest. Any large items like these should be taken to your local tip, or you can even ask your local council to collect them for you.

If you have a garden, try to keep this tidy too. Overgrown plants and weeds are invitations for rats especially, and before too long they move from the outside to the in.

If you’re renting, your landlord or landlady should be able to help you with anything that prevents a pest infestation. It’s in everyone’s interest to keep the house free of non-paying tenants!

Signs of pest infestation

Early intervention is essential when dealing with a potential pest infestation. Noticing whether you might have rats or other pests in your home as early as possible will make dealing with the problem a much easier task.

But how can you identify a pest infestation?

Pest droppings are the most noticeable and visible sign that you have unwanted company in your home. While rat or mice droppings are relatively easy to spot, other smaller pests (such as cockroaches and bed bugs) may need closer inspection before you notice they’re around. If you think you may have any type of pests in your home, it’s always best to check thoroughly.

Signs of nesting are especially prevalent if you’ve had an infestation of rodents. Rats and mice will make nests out of almost anything they can find and usually build nests under floorboards or between walls.

Physical damage to your home, through holes and chew-marks, for example, can be a clear indication of pests. If you think you have rats or mice in your home, any sort of bite marks on furniture, wiring or surfaces is a huge red flag. With termites and other smaller bugs, the damage (especially to wooden objects) can be less noticeable and often needs immediate attention to prevent the problem spreading further.

Garden damage such as insect trails, damaged patches of lawn or rotting plants can all be signs that you have pests on the perimeter of your home. Moles, voles and a variety of bugs can often cause damage in your garden before moving inside. Spotting damage in the garden before pests have managed to enter your home can make eradicating the problem much simpler.

Removing rats and other animals

Having rats or mice in your home can be potentially dangerous for your health and should be taken seriously. Rats, in particular, spread diseases through their urine and droppings as well as causing other damage by gnawing and chewing food, wires and wooden surfaces.

It’s important to know what to do if rats are inside your home to minimise the health risks. If you believe you have a rat infestation, you should call your local council or a pest control company immediately so the problem can be dealt with quickly.

If you’re renting, your landlord or landlady should always be informed of any potential infestation as soon as possible. With mice, it’s possible to keep them under control using either traps or poison (or a combination of both) which you can buy in most large hardware stores. If you choose this option, don’t skimp on price and ensure you buy a recommended brand.

If you have a non-rodent infestation (cockroaches, bedbugs, ants etc.) you can find more about who to speak to in your local area here.

Making sure you’re covered in case of a pest infestation can reduce hassle and worry if it happens to your home. With Admiral’s Home Emergency cover, your home will be made safe and secure during an emergency. You’ll be covered for the removal of rats, mice, wasps and hornets if you have evidence of a pest infestation

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