Find practical advice about how to tell if you have rats or mice in your home, what you can do, and how to reduce the risk of getting them.
The council's pest control officer can visit to provide treatment if your home is affected by rats or mice.
All treatments at domestic premises for rats are free of charge. A charge of £29.50 is made for domestic mice treatments.
How You Can Tell if You Have Rats or Mice
Mice are normally active at night, and you may not see them during the day. You may find nests, which are made of materials such as paper and look like a ball of material loosely woven together. You may find partially nibbled food and small droppings.
Rats are also nocturnal. Droppings near food sources are the most common sign of rats along with evidence of gnawing, tracks, burrows and nests.
Most people realise that they have a rodent problem when they start finding droppings. These are often the main way of telling rats and mice apart.
Rats droppings have been likened to black (although the colour may vary) baked beans, raisins or jelly babies. They can be scattered, but are usually found in groups.
Mouse droppings are very much like grains of rice in size and shape, but will generally be black. They can be found in quite large numbers and generally scattered.
Safety and Health Risks from Rats and Mice
Rats and mice contaminate the environments in which they live through their urine, droppings and hairs. They can carry a wide range of diseases that can be passed on to humans, either by directly contaminating food with droppings and urine, or by contaminating surfaces.
Rats in particular can pass on Weil’s disease, which can be fatal to humans.
Rats can also cause extensive structural damage to property. They are capable of gnawing a range of materials including electric cables and wiring, which could cause fire or electrocution.
Reduce the Risk of Rats and Mice in Your Home
Rats and mice may be discouraged and infestations prevented by improving hygiene and by blocking access points to your home:
make sure that air bricks are in place and intact (do not block them)
look for access points around gas, electricity and water pipes
check that doors fit tightly
fit cone guards around the bottom of drainpipes to prevent rats from climbing up – you’ll be able to get these from your local hardware or DIY store
fit metal balloon guards to the bottom of drainpipes to prevent them climbing up the inside – again, you can get these from your local hardware store
Improved hygiene will restrict the availability of food for rats and mice, reducing the chances that they will remain and breed successfully. Examples of how hygiene can be improved are:
store food carefully so that they do not have access to food sources
sweep up any spills as soon as they happen
clean up under work units and other areas where food debris can build up