How to stop rats getting into my house in winter?

November is a busy time for most families, first there is the fireworks to deal with and now you are making plans for Christmas or maybe not this year... However to pest controllers November means its time to dust off the rat traps.

The change in temperature means rodents will start looking for a nice warm place to spend the winter. If you have not done it already now is the time to make sure your home is rodent proof.

Dealing with rats in your garden is relatively straightforward. However once they find a way into your home they are much more difficult to deal with. Rats don't hibernate during winter, in fact they are more active than ever as they need to make more of an effort to find food. Its too early to tell if there will be an increase in rat numbers this year but I have had increase in callouts to deal with rats in gardens. I suspect this is down to more people working from home and noticing rats that they usually wouldn't see as they are at work.

Regardless of how cold it gets this winter, and if we see a increase or decrease in the rat population, it's good idea to spend half an hour checking around your property and blocking up any access points.

Do a thorough inspection walk around your home, looking for and repairing any gaps around pipes, broken air vents etc.. Use wire wool or rodent stop sealant for small gaps around pipes. Larger holes, and broken air vents can be repaired with steel mesh, but ideally repaired by a builder. If you are in a semi detached or terraced property you will need to get your neighbours to do the same.

Eliminate external food sources, clean away spilled bird food, make sure bins are kept tightly closed and secured and try not to put food scraps in the compost bin.

Clear away garden clutter and piles of debris, cut back overgrown areas, patch up the garden shed etc.. the longer rats spend time in your garden the greater the risk that eventually one will find its way into your home. Remember rats indoors are much more than a nuisance pest that eats your cornflakes :) they can chew wires and plastic water pipes as well as spreading a host of germs and disease.

Always check that your pest controller if fully qualified. The BPCA find a pest controller web page is probably the best place to start