Advice for protecting your home against rats

The cold weather is the perfect time for rodents to invade homes as they seek warmth.

With unprecedented cold weather for March, Rentokil is warning householders and businesses to be vigilant in proofing their homes and premises from rodents.

Dr Colm Moore of Rentokil said: “During winter months, rodents like to base themselves somewhere warm, quiet and close to a source of food. If you can prevent rats you will also reduce the damage and health risks they cause. They can be very persistent and if rats gain access into your home or business they can spread disease, cause damage and contaminate food.

“One pair of rats shed more than one million body hairs each year and a single rat can leave up to 25,000 droppings. If you have already spotted signs of rats, such as droppings, prevention may already be too late. We would advise you to act quickly to get rid of them and prevent a large infestation.”

To avoid attracting rodents into your home, follow these simple tips:

Keep foodstuffs in metal or glass containers with tight fitting lids.

Tidy inside the house and around the garden - less clutter means less places to hide.

Put outdoor rubbish bags in metal bins with securely fitted lids to stop them feeding from contents.

Clean up pet food and bird seed debris, and store pet food in robust containers with fitted lids, preferably above ground level.

Keep gardens free from debris. If you have a compost heap do not include organic food waste, as this will attract them.’

Rentokil has created an interactive map, named ‘The Rise of The Rats’, to visualise this rapid reproduction rate. It explains the breeding cycle of a brown rat living in an ideal environment.

A female rat typically births six litters a year consisting of 12 rat pups, although five to 10 pups is more common. Rats reach sexual maturity after four to five weeks, meaning that a population can swell from two rats to around 1,250 in one year, with the potential to grow exponentially.

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