Rats are active throughout the year and do not hibernate during the Winter. That said, they do become less active as the weather gets colder, which is why you may see less of them around this time of year. Despite their aversion to the cold, rats are extremely adaptable and are adept at exploiting human sources.
Our warm, dry homes are inviting for these small creatures, particularly when there is access to a food supply and materials for nesting. Rats will seek shelter in homes, office buildings, food establishments, commercial premises and barns/stables. Not only can they cause damage through gnawing, but they can spread diseases and contaminate food.
Some studies have suggested that the recent cold and wet weather could drive up to 120 million rats indoors this season. While this number is difficult to verify, Suffolk Wildlife Services can offer some tips and advice on how to prevent rats from entering your home this Winter.
- Bird feeding can be a food source for rats – make sure bird feeders are kept above ground level and try to prevent any bird feed debris falling on the ground. Use rat-proof bird feeders.
- Keep gardens clean and tidy – this removes potential nesting sites for rats.
- Keep food stored in airtight containers. This includes pet food – if stored outside, make sure it kept in an air-sealed container stored above the ground.
- Keep your bins sealed and away from your home.
- If you have a compost heap, avoid putting food in it and try to store it above the ground if possible.
- Block up any holes. For many properties (particularly, flats and terraced houses) it is worth investing in professional rat proofing.
- If you encounter evidence of rats in your home, act immediately – rats carry nasty diseases which can spread to humans. Call a reputable pest control company.
Signs of a rat infestation:
- Evidence of droppings (find out whether droppings are from mice or rats.
- The smell of urine or areas which are stained and could be attributed to urine.
- Evidence of gnawing or nesting
- Scratching noises – rats are nocturnal so any activity is likely to be heard at night. They will mostly nest in the loft/attic areas and use cavities for movement in and around the house.
What to do if you think you have a rat infestation:
If you think you may have an infestation or would like some advice, call us on 07598 269176 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org