To get rid of mice you need to follow our 5 Step Process

  1. Locate areas of rat activity. Look for droppings (slightly larger than a grain of rice, moist when fresh and have a rough texture), rat runs, gnaw marks and holes in wooden structures.
  2. Place your rat poison or traps in the areas located above. Use poison bait trays and open traps inside and bait boxes (stations) with traps or poison outside. These should always be along a perimeter, never in an open area.
  3. If using open traps, check every 2 days but for bait boxes, leave for 7 days before checking.
  4. Leave bait boxes, trays and traps in place until you’ve had a 2 weeks period without activity.
  5. Once you are happy the infestation has been dealt with, fill in any entry holes.

Read on for the full treatment guide

Banner: Before You Start

Some Useful Facts About Rats.

(and hopefully interesting too)

  • Rats are social animals and live in hierarchical family groups comprising of an alpha male and female along with their offspring. A typical family group is around 4-6 individuals (this can increase quickly given the right environment).
  • A female rat can have 6 litters per year with between 5-12 young per litter.
  • They are neophobic, meaning that they have a fear of anything new in their environment. It can take a few days for them to inspect a new object before feeling comfortable with it.
  • Rats are omnivores and eat pretty much anything. However, they will seek out food that they are familiar with and has the highest calorific content.
  • Rats prefer to run along boundaries, making it easier for them to look out for any predators.
  • Their incisors newer stop growing so they must continuously gnaw to keep them from getting too long.
  • Rats will use cavity walls to move around the home and will surface in the attic or anywhere where a pipe cuts through an internal wall.
  • The majority of rats in the UK live in the sewer system where they have an ample supply of food and water (however disgusting this is to you and me)
Banner: Getting Ready

What To Look For

  • You need to be sure that you have correctly identified the pest. Mice can sound like rats in the attic when they run along the ceiling boards.
  • Check for rat droppings. These are slightly larger than a grain of rice, moist when fresh and have a rough texture. By comparison, mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice, have a smooth texture and are hard and dry.
  • Look for rat runs (areas along a perimeter wall), holes in wooden structures and gnaw marks left on any food items.

Where To Look

Inside The Home

  • Attic spaces: check as much of the attic as possible. You are looking for droppings and rat holes in the insulation. Corners and perimeter edges are your main focus here.  
  • Kitchen: remove kickboards and use a torch to check under the kitchen cupboards. Pay particular attention where pipes and drains cut through the walls.
  • Boiler cupboards: again, an area where your pipes lead and another possible entry point from the cavity walls.
  • Bathroom: if possible remove the bath panel. Check the area where the pipes are coming through the internal wall.
  • External walls: check the entire perimeter of the property. Look out for any possible entry points but do not block these until the infestation has been dealt with. If you do, then you risk blocking the rats inside your home, and the smell of a dead rat can be quite bad.

Manhole Covers

Whenever you have rats inside or outside the home, always check the manhole covers.

  • Check for any holes around the edges of manhole covers. This could mean the rats are emerging from the sewers to feed.
  • Remove the cover and inspect for droppings and soil/debris

Around The Garden

  • Fence line: you are looking for rat runs under the fence. Your garden is probably not a big enough territory for a family of rats and they will move from garden to garden looking for food, water and shelter.
  • Shed/outhouse: look around and under your shed for any run holes.
  • Compost bins: when garden and food waste decompose they give off heat along with a strong smell. The perfect place for rats to feed and harbour.
  • Decking: the perfect place for rats to safely dig their rat holes. They can dig with no worry of predators. Look for rat holes that lead under the decking. Remove slats where needed.
  • Birdfeeders: the rat equivalent of an all you can eat buffet. Remove all bird feeders until the problem has been resolved. Remember that they will always eat food they know is safe before using other food sources. Where possible, store bird feed in metal bins.
  • Ponds: Rats need to drink and prefer to live close to a water source.
  • Hutches, chicken coups etc: if you keep animals then check all areas around their enclosures for potential food sources. Where possible, store all pet food in metal bins.
Banner: Please Be Safe
Poison Warning
  • Always wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands after handling poisons.
  • When setting poison or traps outside, always use a bait box. This will prevent inadvertently killing birds or other mammals. Bait trays and open traps should only be used in outhouses that cannot be accessed by pets.
  • Make sure poison bait and traps cannot be reached by children or pets. If rat poison is eaten then you should seek immediate medical or veterinary help.
  • If in any doubt always read the instructions on the packaging.
Banner: Time For Action

Step 1 – Set up poison and traps

  • For bait trays, place one sachet of grain bait and four blocks of paste bait in each tray.
  • For traps, place an attractant in the trap’s bait holder.
  • Outside the home always use a bait box (for both traps & poison).

Step 2 – Position trays, traps and boxes

  • This should be in areas you have seen or heard evidence of activity. Make sure all trays and traps are placed along a perimeter edge. Never leave them in the middle of an area.

Step 3 – Check poison and traps

  • For trays and open traps, check every 2 days but do not touch or move unless you have caught a rat or need to add fresh attractant or bait.
  • For bait boxes, leave for a minimum of 7 days before checking (remember their neophobic response to new objects from the facts above). Replenish the bait if necessary.
  • Dispose of any dead rats by simply double bagging and placing in your general waste.
  • Leave poison and traps in place until you get a two-week period without activity. 

Once the infestation has been dealt with, fill any holes and block off runs to prevent another group of rats settling in your home or garden.

So What are the Best Attractants?

  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate
  • Buscuits
  • Bread
No Cheese

Traps or Poison?

So, should you use traps or poison? Well our recommendation is normally poison but you can read our blog to weigh up the pros and cons of each and decide for yourself.
Rat Trap Poison

Using a Bait Box or Station

  • Bait boxes are fitted with a metal skewer which must be used to secure grain and paste bait. This will prevent the poison from being taken out of the bait box and eaten by other animals. In areas of high activity put as much bait in the box as possible.
  • Dirty the bait boxes with soil from the surrounding area. Rats will enter bait boxes quicker if they smell similar to the area around them. 
Open Bait Station

Sewer Rats

  • Rats can also enter into your home via the sewage system. To check for sewer rats it is necessary to bait the drains.
  • Lift the manhole cover and place four blocks of paste bait in a freezer bag (or similar) and tie string around the bag. Place in the manhole and lower the cover making sure you are trapping the string between the cover and the frame. This will stop the bait from being carried away.
  • If you do suspect you have sewer rats entering your home then you should contact us directly for advice on how best to deal with them.