If all else fails you could try rat!
Only kidding (Or maybe not).
Scared of rats? I can identify with that but, as always, the ex-spurts gave it a name, Musophobia or murophobia and that fear is really a common phobia.
The dangers rats present are many but usually biological or as a by product of chewing things i.e. fire, floods, gassing of you from chewing through house gas pipes.
Their urine is also not nice and may contain:-
- Leptospirosis (often referred to as Weil’s disease)
- Toxoplasma gondii
- Plague rats can carry the fleas known to carry plague toxins, two examples are the Murine typhus bacteria and the blood disease M. haemofelis.
Note, this is NOT a complete list!
Are their many types of rats?
In the UK (aside from pet rats) only two common species.
The brown, sewer, or common rat
Proper name Rattus Norvegicus.
Blunt nose, Hairy ears, small eyes
About a pound (0.5 kg), up to 16 inches (40 cm)
The other is the Black, ship, or roof rat.
Proper name, Rattus Rattus.
8 oz (0.25 kg) 9 inches ( 20 cm)
Pointed nose, slender, Hairless ears, LARGE eyes
Usually found in and around ships and ports.
How to kill them.
If you want to eat them, don’t poison them.
If you only want to reduce their numbers quickly (ish) poison them.
I like to trap them BUT poisons like pasta bait are designed to be taken back to their nests for their pups to eat which kills them.
Trapping works but takes time to work as rats suffer from neophobia.
They distrust anything new or something different from the norm.
Professionals in the UK will always try trapping first.
Except anything outside of commercial or ‘home brew’ traps are seldom ‘multi-catch’. Thus it is usually one trap one kill.
Their reasoning (Training)? Some rats are immune to common poisons.
Baits on traps?
Personally I use anything fatty like bacon rind FIRMLY attached to the trip plate.
Other live catch traps use grain to attract them.
Some ‘kill traps’ are electrically powered and use a ‘very attractive to rats’ paste.
Shooting. I do this a lot BUT it is not very effective as it is one on one.
Problem is, for every rat you see, there are probably 10 you don’t.
How do you know you’ve got rats (apart from seeing them).
Droppings that look like over large black ‘grains of rice’.
Gnawing marks on EVERYTHING!
Smear marks, a greasy stain on walls along their highways.
You will hear them.
Rats have VERY POOR SIGHT which is why they establish highways along walls BUT don’t be fooled, they have a brilliant sense of smell, good touch skills, (hairs on nose), and their hearing is above excellent.
How to prevent rats
Householders can put steps in place to try and avoid a rat infestation.
1. Search for and plug any holes and gaps, larger than a 1/2 inch.
2. Use wire wool mixed with quick setting cement.
De clutter inside and outside your home and your garden.
1. Do away with all rubbish and ‘dumping grounds’ for old wood or household debris.
2. Do away with compost heaps, rats love them.
3. Clear all weeds using a very strong path clear.
4. Feed birds carefully using a bird table and NOT throwing bread to them.
5. Put nothing outside that isn’t sealed. Preferably in metal bins.
Is that it?
Pretty much. Except to offer a bit of advice on baiting.
Rats get immune to poisons. Mostly that is caused by withdrawal of poisons before the rat population has died off. That can take time and even then, there are rats that are immune to the popular makes.
Personally I bait for no less than 4 weeks AFTER the bait stops being taken.
Which puts me at odds with many qualified professionals.
Can you completely clear an area of rats?
Sometimes, BUT it leaves a power vacuum and other rats will move in to take over that territory.
At best you are fighting a ‘CONTROLLING THE NUMBERS’ sort of war.
AND ANY PROFESSIONAL WHO SAYS OTHERWISE (i.e. I can completely eradicate all your rats forever) isn’t much of a professional or good at telling the truth.