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How to spot signs of mice and rats and what to do if you find them

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Stroud District Council Pest Control Officers are advising people to check their homes and business for the tell-tale signs of pests.

The council offers a professional and competitively priced pest control service for people who would rather not deal with pests themselves.  

Spring is often the time when people find evidence of rats and mice in their homes and businesses. Spring cleaning can uncover signs of rodents which can be drawn to homes and gardens as their natural food sources such as seeds, nuts and berries are scarce. Rodents can cause extensive damage to properties and possessions, contaminate food and surfaces, and spread disease, so it’s important to act quickly if you spot the signs they leave behind.

Evidence of rodents include droppings, chewed or shredded items, greasy marks around skirting boards, a musty odour, and holes.

Where to look for signs of rodents

•           Lofts & attic spaces – look for shredded loft insulation, chewed items and droppings in corners and inside items like cardboard boxes.

•           Kitchens – look behind appliances including ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, as rodents are drawn to the heat they produce.

•           Out of sight – check crawlspaces, suspended ceilings, and even cavity walls.

•           Decking – check the edges of decked areas for signs of damage from gnawing and burrowing.

•           Sheds – look for rat holes (entrances to burrows) around the edges of sheds.

•           Garages – check for gaps around door frames or holes gnawed at the bottom of wooden doors. Also check around the internal door and any vents that could give entry into other internal areas.

•           Rubbish/recycling bins – rubbish bins attract rodents because they are warm and sometimes contain food. Check the lid and base of the bins for holes and gnaw marks and ensure all food waste is put in your food waste caddy.

•           Vegetation – look for rat holes among tree and shrub roots in overgrown vegetation or nearby wasteland.

•           Drains – check if drain covers are damaged or if there are holes dug next to the drain covers.

If you do see a rat or mouse in your property or find any of the above signs, there are a number of practical steps you can take to control the level of infestation and reduce the health risks:

•           Block up potential points of entry around drainage pipes, doors and windows and the eaves of the roof.

•           Bird feeding is a major attraction to rats so try to use bird feeders with trays that prevent bird food falling to the ground and regularly clear up any spilled food. If you store bird or pet food in a shed keep it in a tin with a close-fitting lid.

•           Compost heaps and bins are also attractive to rats especially if food waste is composted. Only compost raw vegetable matter and use the council’s food waste collection scheme for all other food waste.

Stroud District Council’s team of experienced and professional pest controllers can help you deal with pests quickly, discreetly, and at low cost.

As well as rats and mice, the team offers pest control for wasps, fleas, cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, cluster flies and other insects including moths and carpet beetles.

Businesses including factories, caterers, retailers, schools, and farms can request a free-of-charge quotation for an annual contract to prevent and control pests.

For more information see our website: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/environment/environmental-health/pest-control

To book an appointment with a pest control officer please email environmental.health@stroud.gov.uk or telephone 01453 766321.

Sign up for Stroud District Council email alerts: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/apps/email-alerts

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