Recognising a Vermin Problem
The telltale signs include:
- thin black droppings approximately 1cm long
- a rat run created by the rats running along a wall or fence
- damage to a variety of materials with obvious gnawing marks.
What Attracts Vermin?
Rats are attracted by food and protection. Food sources include:
- fruit, vegetables and nuts
- composting materials
- pet food, poultry grain and bird seeds
- snails, worms and insects
- almost anything edible.
Discouraging Vermin on Your Property
To discourage rats minimise the food sources and remove materials that may provide shelter:
- removing old machinery, overgrown vegetation, general litter etc
- stacking timber at least 30cm off the ground and not storing against sheds or fences
- ensuring all grass is kept short
- ensuring compost bins have a tight fitting lid and the base is clear of vegetation
- removing fallen fruit and nuts on a regular basis
- storing all animal food in metal bins with tight fitting lids
- regularly cleaning poultry yards and aviaries and only provide enough food for one day
- pruning branches away from building to prevent access to the roof
- sealing up holes in brickwork or roofing materials using hard setting filler, wire mesh or steel wool.
Removing Vermin From Your Property
Rat baits, available from hardware stores and supermarkets are the simplest way to get rid of rat infestations. When purchasing baits, look for single-dose baits in block form. The baits should be placed in areas that are frequented by the rats and away from open spaces. It is important to ensure that you position the baits so that they are inaccessible to children and pets. To ensure this, secure a short length of PVC pipe (400mm - 800mm long) in an area where rats are active, then place bait inside. Check bait daily and replenish as required.
To minimise the risk of rats dying in the roof or wall cavity ensure that all rat activity has ceased before sealing holes in the roof space.
Rat traps can be used, however repeat trapping may not be successful and baiting may be necessary if the problem persists. Good foods to place in rat traps include:; fruit, liquorice, fried bacon, and salami.
If the area is favourable for rats to live they will return. So it is important to not only remove rats from your property but also discourage them from returning.