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Roof Rat in rafters

Rats in the Roof? How to Rodent Proof your Home

Rats and mice are everywhere – you just don’t want them in your home or business! They damage buildings, spoil food and spread disease and parasites. So how can you keep them out of your home?

There are two things to bear in mind if you want to keep rodents out of your home. Firstly, they can squeeze through very small gaps – rats can squeeze through a hole as small as the end of your thumb, whereas mice can squeeze through holes as small as the end of your little finger! Secondly, they come inside buildings to look for shelter and food.

Rats in the Roof

The most common problem for homeowners is to have rats in the roof. More often than not, the rat of concern is the black rat or roof rat. It is an excellent climber and prefers to nest above ground, so trees and roofs are ideal places to set up home.

To prevent rats nesting in your roof you need to prevent them climbing onto the roof. Any overhanging branches should be trimmed back and vertical structural supports (such as veranda posts and drainpipes) need to be protected to prevent the rats climbing up to the roof. The use of metal cones around pipes (at least 30cm in diameter and at least a metre off the ground) are required. Placing them above head height and painting them the same colour as the building will make them less obvious to the human eye.

Mice in the Pantry

Mice normally find their way inside looking for food and shelter, particularly in the cooler months. They will nest in any small protected area – the back of cupboards or drawers, and inside wall voids and furniture. The important aspect of their behaviour is that they generally only travel 3-5 m from their nest to feeding sites. So if you think you have mice in the kitchen, they are probably nesting inside rather than coming in from outside. As such, you will need to get rid of the mice first before carrying out rodent proofing to prevent new mice moving in.

Rodent burrows

Normally rats and mice live outside, digging burrows in sheltered areas. If the areas immediately around the building are kept clear of vegetation (and the garden generally neat and tidy), rodents won’t dig burrows and are less likely to run across open areas to get to the building.

Rat in burrow

General tips on rodent proofing your home

There are two main activities homeowners and business owners can carry out to minimise the chances of rodents or possums taking up residence inside buildings;

1) Rodent / possum proof the building

  • Seal any holes / cracks in the floors, walls and roofing.
    • Rodents have strong teeth are very good at gnawing – and fillers need to be hard and stainless steel metal wire needs to be at least 2mm thick to prevent rats biting through and the gaps no more than 6mm to prevent mice getting through.
  • Remove vegetation from the immediate perimeter of the building
  • Prune any branches over-hanging the building

2) Improve sanitation / Remove food sources

  • Place garbage in sealed, rodent proof bins
  • All stored food to be place in sealed, rodent proof containers
  • Do not leave pet food outside
  • For chickens, rabbits and any other animal that is provided with grain foods, implement a feeding regime that minimises waste food that would be available to rodents

Professional Rodent Treatments

If you need to get of rats or mice quickly and safely, a professional rodent treatment from Go Pest is the way to go. We will carry out an inspection before any treatments, so we can identify potential rodent entry points and provide guidance on how you can rodent proof your home.

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