In the past few months, we have seen a surge in the level of rat activity we usually see at this time of year. With rats across Britain seemingly growing in both size and numbers, many of us are constantly looking for ways to combat these menaces. We thought we’d produce a short and simple guide to which control methods may be best for you.
Before a problem even occurs or while implementing other control methods, there are steps you can take to prevent rats deciding to set-up shop on your land. Keep feed inaccessible to rats by storing it in feed bins and by not scattering it for your birds. Using a treadle feeder instead of more conventional feeding methods ensures that only the birds are being fed and, as such,denies rats what attracts them in the first place. Also, try to avoid leaving unused equipment, piles of rock or wood and unnecessary overgrowth lying around. This will reduce the number of places where rats could shelter or hide.
For a small rat problem, spring traps may be ideal for keeping their numbers down and under control. Spring traps are a cost-effective, reusable and a simple way to control an area’s rat population. Use in a tunnel for the best results and where other animals may be harmed by the trap’s use. Be sure to place traps where you are aware of rat activity and along walls which rats will usually stick to as they move from place to place. If you are using tunnels for your traps then you won’t have to bait them as rats will often pick covered movement over being out in the open. Otherwise bait appropriately; any feed they have been eat, soft wax bait or peanut butter make good baits.
For medium sized outbreaks, cage traps have the capacity for catching multiple rats quickly becoming even more effective with every rat it catches. As any animal caught in it is not instantly killed, this can also keep your rat control from affecting other, non-pest, wildlife such as hedgehogs and birds. Bait your trap as you would a spring trap (see above) but in a greater quantity to keep attracting rats to the trap. Be sure there is plenty of water in there too so that any animals caught in the cage do not suffer. Leave it baited but deactivated for a couple of days for the rats to become accustomed to it. Once set, be sure to check the trap daily and dispatch any caught rats quickly and humanely.
For large infestations, rodenticides (poisons) can decimate a large population of rats quickly and effectively. Before laying out poison for rats, be sure to have an appropriate delivery method in place. The best delivery method for rats would be to use a bait station. This dramatically reduces the chances of non-target animals from getting poisoned instead of the rat and is deployed in a similar way to a tunnel trap.