Rodents & Cumulative Damage
The Real Cost of Rats and MiceIgnoring the damage inflicted by rats and mice on and within your home or business leads to significant costs and risks over time.
Quantifying how severe the outcomes could be is difficult, but proactive interventions and inspections are always preferable to sudden loss of power, electrocution and more.
Consider for a moment that a mouse or rat wants to enter your property to nest or develop a colony.
Imagine one rodent gnawing persistently on electrical, fibre optic, and alarm cables. Imagine plastic water pipes in loft conversions, attics, kitchens and underfloor heating systems. Imagine the lethal consequences of this kind of damage or the economic implications of a catastrophic failure in these services within your building.
You cannot pretend like so many others do, that this damage will somehow evade you without a proactive survey from a professional pest controller.
Where Do Rats Get Into Properties?Most rats enter property via drain faults, but faults in the structure of the building are also common. Any animal can enter a property if given the opportunity and time.
Sometimes the appearance of burrows or rat holes appearing around a property reveal drains to be the problem.
The image above shows how builders had neglected to seal an old rear-inlet gulley in a kitchen floor. We used sophisticated cameras to trace the entry point to within inches, before cutting through the concrete to reveal and seal the problem forever!
Exclusion is always the most effective form of control and the most humane.
What Damage Will Rats Cause?Rats come into properties for different reasons. Some enter to nest, while others use your home as a toilet! Rats can deposit kilos of faeces and litres of urine over just a few months. We once removed 25Kg of rat faeces from the shallow floor void beneath a kitchen!
The worst scenario is where rats are breeding within your property. The young rats can travel through a building, similar to mice, which they are commonly mistaken for.
Rats constant need to gnaw or chew on everything in sight they like the texture of is legendary. Rats chew through cables, plastic pipes, security alarm cables, fire alarm cables, lighting cables, ring-main cables, solar panel and heating cables, shower and bath traps, washing machine and dishwasher hoses, etc.
Water from bath traps can fill a ceiling void and cause the ceiling below to burst open on those beneath it. This is not hypervally, this happens all the time!
The list of problems and damage caused by persistent infestations of rats in properties of all kinds goes on and on and on!
But it's not just damage to your property; it's also damage to you and your loved ones. Rats cause the deaths of humans every year by carrying and spreading disease. Although extremely rare in the UK, rodents are attributed to lethal infections.
Fire is the final and most frightening of all the damage caused. Between 10% and 40% of all house fires with no apparent cause are attributed to rodents including rats and grey squirrels.
Most people will not be insured, so it's vital that infestations are eliminated as quickly as possible.
Where Do Mice Enter Properties?Most mouse control problems come from mice entering a given house or building via holes in its external structure, and not drains.
Gaps under doors and holes in masonry are probably the most common and cheap to fix. The next image shows a hole in a wall which initially contained a heating pipe.
The hole bridged the wall cavity. Mice and rats entering wall voids and cavities will climb to access holes into our food rich kitchens and occupied areas.
So we used a single rodent as an example, but imagine a dozen rodents doing damage daily?
What Damage Do Mice Cause?Like rats, mice can deposit large amounts of urine and faecal matter. Unlike rats, mice are incontinent. What this means, is mice urinate and defecate as they wander around your property foraging for food.
Mice get onto food preparation surfaces, and into toasters, bread bins, cereal packets, storage containers, and waste bins. The mice deposit pathogens in their urine and faeces as they go, and guess who can end up eating these deposits?
Over time mice also gnaw through the smaller cables in our homes. Alarm and doorbell cables are favourites along with waste pipes from washing machines, dishwashers and many other small appliances.
How To Get Rid Of Rats And MiceSo now you know a little bit about the kind of damage that rats and mice can cause and it is sobering food for thought that makes professional rodent control a very real investment.
Don't wait for rodent damage to destroy your home, because the solutions to these problems are far cheaper than the consequences of ignoring a rodent problem.
One final piece of advice. Always look to solve the entry point and not just the rodents.
Where bait needs to be used, try and leave it a week after bait is first taken before sealing up any holes in the structure of the building or remediating drains. Rodents trapped within a property are a terrible, stinky curse! We have another post on the subject of "where poisoned rodents go" that might be useful to you.