Finding out you have rats or mice in your home can be a shock, but they’re among the most common
type of rodents around. Some home insurance policies will offer help in finding an exterminator if
you discover you have unwanted guests, but you can also do a lot to prevent it from happening in the first
Mice and rats can fit through surprisingly small gaps, so make sure you don’t leave them any entry
points. Check around gas, electricity and water pipes and make sure all doors and windows fit securely.
If you do find any odd holes that could provide a way in for vermin, fill them with wire wool and
expanding foam, which you’ll find at a DIY shop. Also ask about guards for your drainpipes to stop rats
Don’t feed rodents
Store food in airtight containers and never leave crumbs or scraps out as they make tempting bait.
Surprisingly, chocolate is popular with mice, so don’t leave anything sweet out.
Watch your hygiene
Remove rubbish at the end of each day, and take it out to a bin well away from the house. Don’t leave
food debris around the garden, and avoid composting fish, meat or bread as they attract vermin. Wipe
up any spills, clean under your worktops and don’t leave crumbs on the floor.
Keep an eye out for signs that rodents are present
No-one wants to think about rats and mice wandering around your house, but it’s important that you
watch out for signs that they’ve visited. Any new holes should be investigated, along with damage
to skirting boards and carpets that may be caused by gnawing. You might also hear footprints, find
droppings or even see the vermin themselves, particularly late at night.
If you suspect you have vermin, block nearby holes with newspaper and then check 24 hours later to
see if it’s been disturbed. Use traps or poison – which should be kept out of the reach of children or
family pets – to control the problem.
Call in the professionals
Contact your local council’s environmental health department, or call out an exterminator who can
assess the problem and then lay traps. If left untreated, rats and mice can spread disease and cause
damage to your property, so it’s important that you act quickly.