We specialise in rat control and long-term rodent infestation control problems providing permanent solutions to previously long-term problems.
We completely understand the stress and worry of rats in your home or business and recognise that you need as fast a solution as possible.
We cover the whole of Cardiff, most of South Wales and even get asked to resolve rat problems in areas such as Oxfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Cornwall, Bristol and Cheltenham. So you can be assured we know what we are doing and produce good results.
For FAST, Friendly Service, Call 02920 552243
speak to a local professional pest controller NOT a National call centre
Here at Vale Pest Control we can’t really think of too many nice things to say about rats, other than a dead rat is a good rat. But then that is not strictly true if that dead rat is not in a properly secured trap but is in fact dead somewhere under your kitchen, bedroom or living room floor, or worse in a wall cavity. In which case I can’t think of anything worse than a dead rat.
To be fair we have a lot of respect for rats, they are intelligent smart animals that can be difficult foes.
Generally we find that people either know they have a rat very early on, often on the day that it arrives, or they have no idea that there are rats in the house or office until there is a large infestation or problem.
This has nothing to do with the hygiene habits or cleanliness of people but is more probably down to a rats particular experiences and their breeding, some rats are far bolder and therefore more noticeable than others. Additionally properties tend to have far more insulation in roof spaces and between floors so deadening the sound of the rats running on the ceilings. It used to be that we would get late night calls from people that were sure they had cats or small dogs running around above the ceilings, these days thankfully these calls are far less common. A bit like a drum the sound is magnified when a rat runs around scratching and tapping on bare ceiling plasterboard.
Good reasons for Rat Control
Rats have some terrible habits that are highly unhygienic, that’s not to say that they themselves as creatures are unhygienic, they aren’t; they spend a considerable amount of time grooming themselves, but also spend a lot of time in drains and other unhealthy environments.
They can transmit dangerous diseases to humans including Weils disease, murine typhus and salmonella bacteria.
The most infamous disease blamed on the black rat is the bubonic plague.
The plague germ Pasteurella pestis is present in the blood of the black rat and is harmless to us in this location. Unfortunately fleas feeding on the blood of Rattus rattus also feed on humans and during this process pass the germ on to us resulting in the bubonic plague. Once the plague gets a grip of the human body it eventually gets to the lungs and is then further spread as a result of becoming airborne thru the infected persons coughing. In this form it gave those around the affected a condition known as pneumonic plague which would result in death within two days.
Rats feed on decaying meat and other nasty products which are all harbourers of bacteria than can be fatal to humans. More often than not they use sewers as transit ways to get from one point to another, and we all know what else you find in sewers.
So it can be seen there are numerous good reasons to carry out rat control.
Rat Control & Drain Surveys
In the city or towns if you have a rat problem then 90% of the time you or someone close to you has a problem with the drainage system. A professional pest controller providing a rat control service should as well as resolving the immediate problem be looking for the source of the problem which will invariably be a broken drain.
Often this will be a broken cover, an old drain line that has not been capped off correctly, a break in the drain pipe, or vent pipes that have not been properly fitted.
To assist us in finding the source of the rat problem we visually inspect the area where possible, we use a CCTV drain camera to survey the drains, we may use (rarely) smoke bombs to see if we can identify the cause of the rat problem if we haven’t identified it using CCTV. But above all we use the knowledge that we have gained over time, having had considerable experience in solving these sorts of rat control problems.
Rats will range up to half a kilometre or more to locate a good source of food so their exit point from the drain may not be within your property boundary. They also track up and down rivers and railway lines, living in rat holes within the banks.
Dealing with rats phobias during rat control
When dealing with a rat problem it is necessary to understand the natural survival instincts of a rat. Amongst several traits they have a condition referred to as neophobia; a fear of new objects. This combined with several other factors specific to the rat makes them quite a tricky opponent to successfully control especially when there is a large infestation that has been present for some time.
When dealing with a new rat on your premises it is possible to take advantage of the fact that the rat is exploring and everything is new to it, but in a situation where the rats have been present for a time then this neophobia can cause a delay in starting an effective treatment plan, although there are some methods that can sometimes be used to get round this.
Damage preventable thru rat control
Just like mice and all other rodents, rats need to gnaw to keep their teeth sharp and trimmed because they constantly grow. This gnawing can lead to extensive damage in a property. If they are trapped in a room they can gnaw thru wooden panels and doors to make their own exit point. Unlike mice rats need a water supply, in fact water is more important to them than food similar to us. If they are short on water rats can gnaw thru lead and copper pipework, and will decimate plastic water pipe, somehow sensing that there is a source of water inside. They can gnaw thru concrete, fibreglass, in fact pretty much anything as long as they can get a purchase on it. They have often been found to be the source of electrical fires as a result of their ability to gnaw thru electric cables, even underground cables.
For FAST, Friendly Service, Call 02920 552243
speak to a local professional pest controller NOT a National call centre
Rat Problem and Rat Infestation Control
Standard Rat Control
So what can we do for you?
Like most pest controllers we can come out, have a look around for the obvious, place some bait and traps, return in a few days replace the bait look for some dead rats, come back check to see if more bait is required, pick up any dead rats and decide if another visit is needed.
GREAT some may say, but really what was the point of that.
Where one rat runs another will follow shortly. This is something you should be in no doubt about. The process above was a short-term fix not a complete solution to a rat problem.
How often do you want to pay someone to do that?
Every couple of months, twice a year, annually? Personally I would not want to have to think about it ever again.
How often do you want to take the risk of a rat dying in an inaccessible place beneath a floor or in a wall cavity?
For those that have experienced the smell I can assure you the answer is never again.
Yes we use rodenticides (rat poison), breakback traps and various other forms of trapping where necessary for resolving infestations of rats. But we don’t usually use rat poison (rodenticide) in buildings occupied by people. Not because of the danger of using the poison but because of the effect on the living and working environment that the dead rat has.
We also have some good ratting terriers that we use on farms and the like which along with a couple of pneumatic 10 shot air rifles to help knock back numbers quickly.
Rat Control using Rat Exclusion
We prefer to carry out a process that we call “exclusion“. Generally we find that our customers also prefer this as a solution when given the option.
A lot of pest controllers do as we do but to a much lesser extent. This is partially down to a combination of things
- the fact that a lot of the products and equipment that allows for the process to take place is only recently reasonably accessible to all at a reasonable price
- because the process requires experience and planning to work properly
- because peoples expectations are so much higher than they ever used to be.
Most pest controllers called out to carry out rat control will do a first visit which will include some form of investigatory survey (hopefully) looking for obvious entry points. A lot will stop here and place rat poison in bait trays in various parts of the property.
But some will pick up the drains to see if there is anything obviously going on in them – so they are probably relying on seeing rat droppings or some obvious defects in the manhole or inspection chamber.
Some will then confirm whether there is or isn’t rat activity in the chamber.
Fewer still will have CCTV drain survey equipment that they can use to survey the drains with (at additional cost obviously – yes, there are those that think it should be included at no additional cost).
Even fewer of these will be trained in drain CCTV work with 15 or more years of drain surveying and 10 plus years of specifically looking at drains for defects that allow rats to infest properties. Which does make us unique.
But even having found the drain defect what is the best course of action?
Its a lot more complicated than most would think.
It is not to carry out the repair immediately. Instead you need to carry out an exclusion process, this exclusion process may include some very minor forms of proofing.
The exclusion progress can take several weeks dependent upon the type of infestation you have, but its well worth it as many customers will confirm. Once the exclusion has been carried out and has been proved successful the drain repairs need to be carried out. All exclusion work is temporary.
Despite carrying out numerous exclusions we still find that we learn something new on pretty much every exclusion we carry out.
This is because rats are truly amazing adaptable opponents, whose main aim in life appears to be to prove us wrong.
Typical rat control visit based on the ‘exclusion’ method
In a typical domestic house call-out for a rat problem we usually charge based on a 3 visit cycle.
The 1st visit is often the longest visit. On this visit we thoroughly survey the property so that we can fully understand the most likely route a rat is taking to get into the property. We will likely lift drain covers if they are easily accessible, we will check the exterior wall, your roof space, your kitchen, the bathrooms, the cellar if you have one. We will discuss your options and the best way forward for gaining complete control. We will advise on how easily we think we can exclude the rat(s) from the property, whether rat traps or rat poison is appropriate and the risks associated with using rat poison and rat traps.
We don’t tend to use rat poison at this time but this will be discussed with you so that you understand the possible outcomes.
It maybe that there is a glaringly obvious solution (obvious to us because of our experience) and that we can start the rat exclusion process immediately.
On the other hand it maybe that we can’t identify properly whats happening at the property on the first visit, and that we might need to carry out additional investigation before we can recommend a best course of action. As part of this investigation we might ask for your assistance so as to keep costs down, we might request that you observe things for us over a couple of days reporting back to us.
On the second visit we will check any bait points. We will inspect any tracking points. We will talk to yourselves so that we can better understand the rats movements and activities. If we didn’t establish the rats entry point in the first visit its likely we will do on this visit.
It maybe that we recommended on the first visit having a drain survey carried out to try to identify any problems within the drains that the rats maybe using, or it maybe that this is recommended on this visit based on some of our findings.
We like to confirm that there is going to be a definite benefit to you from having the drains surveyed before advising it because CCTV drain surveys are not cheap (though they offer great value for their price). We recommend GoEnviro (www.goenviro.co.uk) a sister company that has been carrying out drain repairs for nearly 20 years, and has specialised in surveying drains for problems with rats for the last 10 years.
Even if no problems are found it will have been useful as it will have ruled out the most common cause of rat infestations in towns and cities. I would say that about 90% of the rat call-outs we have in towns and cities are associated with problem drains.
Another benefit of using GoEnviro for the drain survey work is that they may also be able to carry out the next step in the process of eliminating the rats, at the time of surveying rather than having to wait for our next visit.
We would not recommend carrying out any of the recommended drain repairs (which GoEnviro can do for you) until the rats have been properly excluded. Rats can be very determined and can cause further damage to property if trapped within, or if the offspring are trapped within a property.
Usually the CCTV rat survey will have identified one or more problems or possible problems with the drains. Having identified these problems we can plan best how to now exclude the rats from the property. Sometimes this can be straightforward and carried out quickly, other times it can be a highly complex lengthy process.
Once excluded we recommend carrying out any drain repairs recommended so as to prevent a repeat of the problem in the future.
Standard Rat Control visit
Alternatively we can do as any other pest controller does. On the 1st visit we can place traps and rat poison. The 2nd visit (approx. 3 or 4 days later), we can top-up the rat poison and check for any dead rats and then on the 3rd visit (approximately a week later) we will pick up the remaining poison and traps, and check for dead bodies in the area.
If there are indications that the infestation is still there then we will carry out a further 3 visit cycle at an additional cost.
Of course if a rat dies in some inaccessible spot within your property its going to create the most unpleasant stink that you are likely to ever encounter, which will hang around for weeks if not months.
Preventative Control Measures and Proofing
A rat that enters a building and establishes a ‘run’ will become wary of freshly laid rodent baits, possibly ignoring them for a few days, and continuing to cause damage to stock. A rat gaining entry to a premises that has preventative pest control measures will consider the existing control stations as being ‘normal’ and will be quickly eliminated during its investigations of the control station.
As well as establishing rat control stations we will also advise on any proofing required and should you require it carry out any proofing work.
For information on the Brown rat Rattus norvegicus
For information on the Black rat Rattus rattus
For information on pest control pricing