Landlords warned to keep watch for rats as cold weather sets in

With the clocks having been turned back and those cold, dark evenings creeping in, we will all soon be cranking up the central heating.

However as we create a cosy haven at home, pest control experts at Specialised Cleaning Services are warning that landlords may find themselves with unwanted tenants, in the form of rats and mice.

Pest control manager at Specialised Cleaning Services, Nathan Brennan said: “It’s around this time of year that we see a sharp spike in calls about rat and mice infestations and this is all down to them being driven into homes by the drop in temperature. They particularly love loft spaces as insulation is ideal for them to nest in.”

As harmless as these critters may seem, they can cause a wide range of problems including spreading Weil’s Disease, which is spread via their urine which they use to mark their territory. On top of this rats and mice ‘gnaw’ in order to keep their teeth short and will gnaw on almost anything including wiring, woodwork, brick and pipes which can cause floods, leading to additional damage. If left over time, an infestation of rats will ruin loft insulation, which they shred for nesting.

In order to keep your property safe from rats, home owners are recommended to do a general maintenance inspection of their property, looking for any obvious entry points that rats or mice could take. These could include things such as broken air vents, open dryer holes or damaged brick work where piping enters a property. If unsure, a good rule of thumb to follow is that a rat can fit through a hole as wide as two fingers and a mouse, just the thickness of a biro pen. Therefore householders should act quickly if they spot a problem. Nathan added: “A telltale sign of a rat or mouse infestation is the sound of rustling or scratching, so if you are concerned call a professional immediately before the situation gets out of hand. Left unchecked, rats can reproduce at a rate of 2000 pups per year.”