With the winter season coming in, you may breath a sigh of relief knowing that to some degree you will get a break from the daily exercise of swatting flies or from refining your contortionist skills that come from evading mosquitoes. One problem you may have overlooked is the prevalence of rat invasion during this time of the year. We will look at how to get rid of rats naturally before they form a squatter camp in your home.
Proper Food Storage
You’d be surprised with how effective simply sealing your food properly deters rats from entering your home. Rats like any other living creature need food and water to survive. Therefore, denying them access to those should send them packing. Top tip: keep your food in airtight plastic containers and out of reach. Properly manage your refuge and keep it away from your house.Furthermore, ensure that all leaking taps are closed and fixed.
Rats and mice can’t invade your home if they aren’t any entry points. The furry James Bond can fit through even the smallest holes. Furthermore, they have the patience to gnaw at infrastructural weaknesses that may grant them access in. Seal holes in interior and exterior walls. Should you find holes that have already been used by rats, they will almost always have feces near them. Ensure that you clean the area to eliminate their scent. Like Hansel and Gretel’s Breadcrumbs, they use their feces to mark as a safe waypoint that it and others may use. Clean the area and seal it up.
Mr Cinnamon: The Rat Hunter
Having a natural predator around is the most effective and natural way of getting rid of rats. The more common option would be to get yourself a cat. The introduction of Mr Cinnamon into your home would serve as an eviction notice. Getting rid of the rats in no time. Only problem with that solution is that having a cat is work that requires commitment. Getting a cat for the sole purpose of rat hunting, without any care for the pet, is something I’d strongly advise against.
Terror from above
The second option would be to attract barn owls to your premises. They are rat’s natural predators, instilling great fear into the furry invader. Barn owls are known to catch a whopping two thousand rodents per year. One family of the owl can feed on 15 mice/rats a night.
To attract them to your premises I’d suggest you build or buy a nest box and place it in your yard. They should be mounted about 4.5 metres from the ground. Soon you’ll start hearing hooting signalling the end of the rat’s reign.
If you aren’t a fan of having cats or owls living with you I’d recommend pranking the rats. Using cat litter, rubber snakes or owl feathers works well. Therefore, tricking the rat into thinking that a cat or owl lives on your premises will scare the rat into making a quick exit. Additionally, farmers and homeowners suggest placing tubs of used cat litter near entry points in your home. The smell will deter the rat.
Be Wary of Pesticides
Although pesticides have proven effective in getting rid of rats and mice they also contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, as well as to your pets and family. It is therefore crucial to be wary of making use of DIY pesticides as not only can they pose dangers when not applied correctly, but a lot of these chemicals are known as “second generation” pesticides that contain punitive compounds that work in killing rats and mice rapidly. Unfortunately, this also affects the non-target animal that eats the rodent, which can be owls – or your pets.
As advised, not only by the experts at Rentokil, but also by the Poison Working Group, that if you utilise rodenticides to get rid of rats, you must use a rat control product that contains the lowest risk of secondary poisoning i.e. a first generation rodenticide. This is also referred to as a “multiple feed” rodenticide, because rodents feed on the rat bait in different helpings. It takes 3 successive feeds for the rat control product to work its magic and kill rats effectively
So, if an owl or pet does catch and eat the rodent, they will not be harmed. When using a rodenticide to get rid of rats and mice that invade your home, it is always best to rely on the professional rodent control experts. This ensures that the first generation rat poison is applied correctly and in the safest manner possible. The rat bait used by Rentokil is available in a wax block form and is inserted in a closed of rat trap, also referred to as a rodent bait station in which owls and pets do not have access to.
See more tips on getting rid of rats and mice.
Updated by: Bakang Kganyago