Rats are a nightmare, there are no two ways of putting it. Sure, they’re cute enough to watch on television with the dulcet tones of David Attenborough, and a bouncy little jingle to accompany them; or in an animated kitchen whipping up a delicious Ratatouille dinner. However, when you see them in the flesh, scuttling around your own home, it’s a different story entirely.
That’s when reality strikes and you realise just how horrible these little blighters are. Of course, they’re just trying to survive like the rest of us, but despite their seemingly innocent intentions, rats are disease-ridden and can cause some serious health complications for you, your family, and your beloved pets.
But what is it that attracts rats to your house in the first place?
In this article, we’re going to take you through a number of things that do so, some of which might surprise you! Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be able to optimise your property and “clean your act up” in order to prevent any future infestation.
1 – Warmth & Comfort
This one may or may not surprise you as to when we think of rats, the first image that springs to mind is a muggy, dank, and smelly sewer filled to the brim with the furry little monsters and that is an image that rarely breathes “warmth & comfort”.
However, they’re warm-blooded creatures just like us and they seek remarkably similar comforts. They want shelter, they want food, they want safety. All reasonable things to ask for as a living creature but when it means breaking and entering your home and chewing through your wiring, then it gets personal.
But what can you do about this? It’s not as though you can knock the windows through and take the roof off your house to make it less attractive to rats, so what is your alternative?
Honestly, there is little that you can do besides ensuring that you keep your home as tidy as possible. De-clutter your home and throw away anything that might be used for nesting materials. In any case, rats will gnaw through wood and chew up wires in order to gather nesting materials, which means that you’ll have to look at other means of keeping them out to prevent this from happening.
2 – Food of All Types
Unlike many humans, rats are not especially fussy eaters. In fact, rats will eat pretty much anything! Milk, meat, vegetables, soap, leather, fur—it’s all good! Thus, the biggest attractant to a house is garbage bins, especially when they’re not covered properly with sealable lids.
So, your first port of call is to invest in a decent bin with a sealed lid. If you go through a fair amount of trash in your home because you have a big family with growing children who frequently eat you out of house and home, then you’ll need to invest in a bigger bin.
It is also advised that you take the trash out regularly, and keep your outdoor bins as far from your home as you can (i.e., at the end of the driveway and near the road—which subsequently happens to be easier for the binmen to collect so it’s a win-win).
You must also never leave any food unsecured in your home, for example, bags of pet food or birdseed. Rats will sniff it out a mile off and come running for the freebie and can you blame them?
3 – Dripping / Leaking Pipes
Not only do rats love to eat, but they need to stay hydrated as well. If your home has a leaking pipe or dripping faucets, then rats are going to hang around for an easy drink. The trick is to make this difficult for them and ensure that your plumbing is on point. Keeping your house dry is also another great way of keeping cockroaches from invading as well, so there’s another bonus for you (that, and you’ll save money on your utility bills).
4 – Indoor Fruit and Vegetable Plants
If you have fruit and nut trees in your home, then you must know that these are incredibly attractive to rats—especially roof rats who love seeking out fruit. Rats will also take full advantage of large potted plants as they make great hiding spots and are especially comfortable to snuggle up in out of sight.
It’s not to say that you should get rid of your plants entirely, but you must make them “rat proof”. If you love having plants around, then perhaps swap your fruit and nut trees out for regular plants that don’t bear fruit which is ripe for the taking.
5 – Pet Waste & Compost
When we say that rats love all types of food, we’re also referring to digested food as well. So, make a point of keeping your lawn area free of dog poop as rats will almost certainly come along and feast on it if you don’t.
In addition to that, food waste kept in composters is especially attractive, so it is paramount that when composting, you invest in a decent sealed composter. You can even get composters that are odourless which will be even better for keeping the pests away.
6 – Easy Access
This is the big one! Most rats make it into a house because it is simply too easy to gain access. Things like having tree branches lumbering too close to open windows, and old fascia’s and guttering which have rotten and split.
Bear in mind that a rat will be able to fit through a ½” hole, so you must scour your home for any possible entry points and seal them up.
Vents are also pretty handy points, so look at getting wire mesh to add further security to your home.
Summary – How to Prevent Rats from Breaking In
- Look for and fix leaks
- Keep your house clutter-free (especially from nesting materials)
- Store all spare food in plastic containers (including pet food)
- Cover trash with a tight lid (consider odourless)
- Seal holes larger than a quarter of an inch
- Use steel wool/mesh screens to seal vents and soffits
- Keep your yard clean (and poop free)
- Think like a rat!
We hope you now have a better insight into what attracts rats to your house and can better prepare yourselves to prevent it from happening in the future.
If you can follow these steps and take the necessary precautions, then you should be able to easily prevent a rat from moving into your home uninvited!
If, however, you’re reading this and you suspect that you may already have a rat problem, then the simple solution is to hire professional rat control services, so, do be sure to contact us today. We will send someone out to assess the situation, and subsequently, remove the pests from your property.