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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Here's what you need to do to avoid visits from unwanted rodents this winter

Due to a lack of natural food sources during the winter, rats head towards homes and businesses for an alternative.

Image: Gallinago_media via Shutterstock

COMING INTO THE winter months, food and water sources for rats tend to become scarce, leading to a rise in rodents turning to homes and businesses for alternatives.

Because of this, some Irish pest control experts are warning households and businesses to be vigilant in proofing their homes from rodents.

TheJournal.ie spoke to co-founder of the Irish Pest Control Association (IPCA) Brendan Ryan about what measures everyone should take to avoid any unwanted visitors.

“The most important of all is habitat modification. In other words, you don’t need to be using rodent poisoning but you need to change your habitat to make sure you don’t make it so comfortable and convenient for rats to live near and around your home,” Ryan said.

No excess greens or shrubbery

First for foremost, it’s essential to make sure there are no greens or shrubbery growing against the side of your home or business as they can be used as a route to the roof of the building for the rats, according to Ryan.

“Where you have an ivy-clad wall, which can be aesthetically very pleasing, you need to make sure it doesn’t reach the roof line space because that’s a climbing frame,” he said.

You must remember that rats are great climbers. You want to be thinking like the animal itself – how would you gain access?

Secondly, Ryan said that grass cuttings should not be stored or stacked behind a shed. Instead, they should be bagged and removed.

“Gardens out to be kept in good order – short grass and pinned out shrubs for the winter. What you’re trying to do is avoid creating an area that is camouflage,” he said.

Bird feeders

Bird feeders, which many people might not think of, are another attraction for rats, says Ryan.

“When the bird feeds from the feeder residue like nuts and the likes fall on the ground directly where it hangs. I’d be inclined to ensure that as little as possible bird feed residue rests around the base of the pole of the tree trunk,” he said.

Good bin management is something everyone needs to be aware of, says Ryan, and it’s essential to make sure that they are collected regularly to avoid any overflow issues.

Water management

Lastly, Rats need 60 millilitres of water a day. Because of this. Ryan said that any excess water in gardens must be taken care of.

“If you had a garden where you had a collection of water because of poor drainage… that would be an issue,” he said.

Removing water, food sources and camouflage are steps one two and three.

“In the winter months, external food opportunities become quite limited. That’s what attracts them towards buildings of any kind. They don’t discriminate. That’s where your housekeeping comes in. If there’s nothing there to attract them they’re likely to move on,” he said.

Read: Pest controllers called to deal with large-scale rat infestation in Wheatfield Prison

More: Pest control company called to Leinster House to deal with rats and ants

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