Vermin (rats, mice) & your plumbing
Mice and rats do not chew things out of a malicious spirit. Rodents need to chew all the time to prevent their teeth from getting too long. They will chew wood, electrical cabling & pipes. The damage can be serious – from fires and floods and damaged possessions.
Don’t provide free bed and breakfast: clean up spilled rubbish, store pet food in sealed containers, put rubbish bags in bins with lids, and sweep up bird seed underneath feeders or around bird tables.
Don’t make their nest for them: don’t store unwanted clothes or cuddly toys and cardboard boxes in your ceiling.
‘If you want to look for mice in your home, we recommend you look around the hot water system, under the kitchen sink and stairs.
‘If you can put a pencil in a gap, then a mouse can get through. Seal up holes, particularly those around pipe work: mice travel around your home by following pipes and wiring. Use steel wool, copper mesh or plaster to fill holes and seal up the gaps surrounding hot water pipes to prevent them from entering airing cupboards.
Make your home ‘Fort Knox’: fix cracked or broken doors and windows and make sure that drains and drain covers are in a good state of repair.
Remove hiding places for mice: Declutter your garden by getting rid of leaves, wooden planks or boards, pipes, and scraps of wood. Cut back weeds and mow areas of tall grass.
Be neat and tidy: clean up spills immediately, never leave out dirty dishes and vacuum regularly.
Suspect that you have rats or mice?
You may not actually see any rats or mice, but you will almost certainly see the traces they leave.
Rat holes are about 80mm in diameter while mouse holes are usually about 20mm in diameter and usually found outside in compost heaps, under sheds or in hedges. Inside buildings the rat makes nest in wall cavities or under floor boards.
Runs & Smears
Rats & mice use regular routes when they travel to & from their nesting sites, and so create pathways or runs. Indoors on hard surfaces the runs are less clearly defined, but become marked in places by black greasy smears.
The number of droppings, their position and age may help to identify where rats & mice are abundant, and where they are moving and feeding. Common rat droppings are between 10 – 20mm long & often found in runs. Mice droppings are like very small rat droppings about the size of a grain of rice.
Signs of Damage
Signs of damage include gnaw marks, half eaten food & damaged packing. The more rodents there are, the more damage you will see.
How to get rid of rats & mice?
Rats & mice are adaptable & highly mobile & bread rapidly which produce large infestations very quickly. We recommend you employ the services of a reputable pest control contractor to rid your home or office of vermin.
If you prefer to try to fix the problem yourself, there are 2 options.
Poisons & traps.
Poisons are available for purchase from your supermarket or hardware. Put the poison in a safe and secure place out of reach of children and pets & wash your hands after use. Rodenticide or poison can take between 4 – 12 days to take effect, and may result in a localized foul smell due to the presence of dead carcasses.
Back up traps are advisable & should be placed next to walls where rats tend to travel. The trap should be baited with chocolate, biscuit or cereal.
Most rats are wary of new objects placed in their environment and will avoid them for a period of time. We recommend that you bait the trap first before loading the spring & wait till the bait has been taken, then load the spring the next time.
All baits & traps should be handled with care & always follow the instructions on the manufactures pack.
If after 2 weeks of self-treatment there is still evidence of rodent activity, we recommend that you employ the services of a reputable pest control contractor.
If rats have eaten or chewed on your water pipes, you will need to employ the services of a reputable maintenance plumber to repair the damage. Moyle Plumbing & Gasfitting Services has had many years of experience repairing vermin damaged water pipes. We also recommend that you also have your telephone & electrical cables checked by a licensed electrician for damage caused by vermin.
Insurance & vermin
It is unlikely that your insurance company will cover vermin damage. Repairs caused by vermin can add up & become very costly. We recommend that you contact your insurance company & inquire if & what they cover.