Local professional pest control in Henley
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Here at Henley Pest Control we get asked many questions regarding pests from our customers; this section of our website contains some of these with the answers, effective pest control is often about education as well as control and our aim is to get you pest free but also to keep you pest free.
A local family pest control business in Henley
Why, when and where, the frequently asked questions that we get concerning all aspects of pest control.
FAQ's - examples of actual questions raised by customers on rats and how they get into our homes and businesses in Henley.
Frequently asked questions about rats from our customers.
We have heard noises up in the loft, how do rats get into my loft?
For modern houses that have a cavity wall this is a common question and the answer is very simple = the cavity wall. The walls of the house run down to the footings which can be around six feet down, the function of the cavity is to keep the interior dry if a fault develops in the exterior surface.
Because the walls run down so far the drainage system will cut through the walls below ground level and this is one common place where rats get into the void where there is a defect with the drainage system.
To help keep the interior dry you may have air bricks spread along the circumference of the building, these can be made of different materials.
Some air bricks are made of clay; the same material as the surrounding structure and others are either cast iron or plastic; the iron one's can rust and the plastic one's suffer from accidental damage ... and gnawing by rodents.
These points are exploited by rodents and once a rat or a mouse gets into this void between the two walls it’s just a simple matter of climbing upwards and then they’re in your loft.
In addition the cavity walls have metal ties that bind one wall to another which give the animals a simple climbing frame. Another easy way is to climb up the 'snots'. Sounds gross but the snots are the dried bits of cement that squidged between the bricks when they were being laid.
We've lived here for years so why have we suddenly got rats?
Rats don't suddenly appear, they are always around but not usually noticed. There is a distinctive relationship between the seasons and rat activity; the summer and autumn is when we generally see them living outside. Winter and spring is when many people will encounter them inside their homes - it stands to reason that just because you don't see rats running about that they're not around.
Rats live wherever man lives, that’s a sad fact but they live from what we produce, store and dispose of. These creatures are highly versatile and adaptable and their amazing abilities have seen them spread all over the globe travelling wherever we go.
Where you live will affect the behaviour of the rat – in urban environments where they encounter more people they are less frightened of us and will live very closely to us, even in our homes. Rural areas will have bigger rats that live in and around farms where stored food maybe plentiful, they will also see a more pronounced ‘tidal’ migration of rats following the seasons.
Summer is the boom time for all rats where food is abundant and given warmth and easy access to food they will be breeding right from the end of February to November; urban rats with access to centrally heated buildings will continue to breed all year round.
A single female rat will produce a family tree of 2000 offspring in one year.
We have rats in the loft, are they causing damage up there?
The answer is unfortunately - YES! Rats will gnaw on items either soft or hard to mark their territory and they can do a lot of damage to both the structure and any stored items in the loft.
Rats will also urinate everywhere they go, some people say that they don't have a bladder but that's not true - the urine is their way of marking where they live.
Likewise they will defecate everywhere and together the urine and feaces make a very unpleasant smell - soft items like clothing can be ruined through their toilet habits.
Most lofts will have electrical wiring from lighting circuits running through them and these are highly attractive to rats - the reason for this maybe the fact that lanolin is added to the outer plastic sheathing to help keep the wiring supple?
Rats have constantly growing teeth that are harder than cast iron and a common belief is that they gnaw to file these down; totally wrong. If you have a object harder than iron how does grinding it on wood wear it down?
Rats gnaw to mark their territory or because they either like the texture - who doesn't love bubblewrap?
Having rats in the loft leads to serious damage, horrible smells and ruined insulation which can cost thousands of pounds in repairs and replacing damaged goods.
Is it true that rats live in the drains?
The simple answer to that question is yes, rats live in our sewerage system and use this both as a means of moving from A to B unseen but also as a place where they can find warmth, food and water.
The drains take not just sewerage but grey water which is the term used for our waste bathing water and water from household appliances like washing machines. This liquid is heated and this raises the underline temperature of the drainage system in winter.
Rats can eat our bodily waste if there is no other food source available but they'll feed on small pieces of food that gets washed down the kitchen sink into the drains like rice and sweetcorn.
Generally they will use the drains to move around; down in the drains there are no predators and rats actually like darkness as they use both their whiskers and guard hairs in their flanks to 'feel' around and map out the area where they live.
Can rats get out of the drains into my house?
Rats can have access from the drains into the inside of a property via defects that occur over time; many drainage systems are built out of a substance called vitrified clay. These are extremely hard and long lasting but fairly brittle; any settlement within the ground may lead to cracks and even collapse of the pipework.
Rats will discover the smallest of holes (think of a hole the size of your thumb) and then start to dig into the soil around the site of the defect.
Rats are incredibly curious so after a while a tunnel will develop leading out of the drains, the waste material drops down into the drain and gets washed away whenever you empty your bath or flush the toilet.
Defects from poor quality building work often gives a rat the way out of the drains and as all the pipework connects with the internal system, its only a short space of time before the rats can access the interior of a building.
How can I stop rats getting into the house?
Here at Henley Pest Control we will carryout an initial drain survey as part of our standard treatment for rats inside a property. We don't charge for this as its how we operate - we want to find the access point so you can get rat free.
There are two ways to stop rats getting into your property from the drains, the first is a long term but temporary measure and that is achieved by installing a one way valve in the drains. This is basically a metal cat flap that is inserted into the run of the drains: it works in one direction and allows things to leave the system but not to get back in.
The second way and the permanent solution is to have a proper drain survey carried out to measure and map out the internal branches of the system then have the drain re-lined.
This is done by specialist contractors and consists of a multi-layer sleeve being inserted into the system which cures off and forms a permanent rat proof liner to the existing system.