Two rats in water

Trapping versus rodenticide - which is better? 

My dad used to have lots of sayings like “a picture is worth a thousand words” and he always tried to impress upon me what they meant, and one that he was very fond of using was “if a jobs worth doing, then it’s worth doing well”, and by that he meant always give it your best shot and that’s stuck with me through life. It’s very true, if you’re going to take the time and trouble to do something, then you may as well give it your best go, otherwise, apart from any other people that are involved, you’re only wasting your own time, and who’s got time for that? 
What has any of this got to do with pest control you ask? To be honest, the answer is everything because if you’ve ever had the misfortune to either have or had a problem with rats or mice, then this sentiment should resonate with you. In this situation you need professional pest control with the expected end result being that the rodents are gone, and they’ve gone for good. That’s all well and good but how do you know exactly what professional pest control looks like? 
As with any situation that you know little about, don’t be put off by asking a few questions, in fact the more questions you raise, then the better your understanding of the situation and what you want as a remedy. So, what questions should you think about asking your pest controller? 
rat on a dustbin lid
Two rats in water
rat hiding in rubbish

Its good to ask questions - just make sure you get answers 

Start at the beginning and the first question you should ask is quite simple and that’s “What is it”? By knowing exactly which rodent pest you’ve dealing with, this will go some way to answering the final question that you might want to ask. But between that first question and the last question, there are a few more to ask, and one of these maybe something like “How many of them are up there”? 
Usually, I get asked a lot of questions when I’m on a job but the most important question that I hear is “How are they getting in”? Without a shadow of doubt this is the killer question, and the one which should direct the course of the pest treatment, but its alright asking questions, the problem is the answers coming back. 
Let’s go back to the start of this blog and the saying about doing a job properly and doing it well, this blog explains the difference between a professional pest controller going all out to get you absolutely 100% pest free and the other guy, the one who just aims to do a couple of visits, where all they’ll do is throw some rodenticide down which ultimately ends up wasting everyone’s time. 
As a home or business owner with any rodent problem, you want it properly sorted and you’ll want a solution that’s going to last for good, which is why you’re asking these questions in the first place. As the pest controller who’s just turned up on your doorstep, I can’t answer all of those questions immediately. However, I can answer them given a certain amount of time, because by using traps and the combination of coloured tracking dusts, I can follow the animals through your building and then explain to you how the problem has arisen, how bad I think it is and what we need to do to prevent this from ever occurring again. 
This is about how the approach to the treatment is important, because if it’s being done correctly, then you’ll get all the feedback that allows you to answer all the questions that the customer asked, and this is a case of the use of traps to control the pests versus just the use of rodenticide. 
The first question I’m generally asked is “What pest do I have”? You’ve been kept awake at night by some mysterious scratching sounds from the loft and so you’ve decided enough is enough and its time for a professional pest controller to sort out the problem. However, there are occasions when you’re called out to investigate a rodent problem and you don’t know what animal it is because there’s no droppings or other signs to go on. How would you know what poison to use if you don’t even know the species? A professional approach to this situation would be to set about tracking the animals, which enables you to learn their identity, and through trapping and catching the animals, prove the entrance point so it can be sealed up. 
High strength professional rodenticide is designed to kill the animal within two to three days from eating it and this works extremely well which is why, when you phone around, many companies will offer you a treatment that is based on two or three visits spaced over a couple of weeks. Following this method you’ll probably get the answer to your first question, but you won’t get the answer to that all important last question, which is “How are they getting in”? 
To answer that, you need to fully understand the route to infestation; an example of this is to take our Number 1 pest the rat. Rats will often use the sewers to get inside a building from underneath through a faulty section of the drains, not only that but they will also be found running around outdoors and so can get through defects like faulty air bricks, and then to further compound the problem, they’re great climbers, so they can make their way inside from roof level. It’s exactly the same species of rat but potentially it has three separate routes of entry; the job of the pest controller is in fact, NOT to kill the animal that’s too easy, but discover how it gets in and how to put a stop to it. 
Rat on a bird feeder
Two rats peeking out
Rat on a wooden pallet

Professional pest control throughout the Maidenhead area 

Pest control when done correctly is all about be about answering that final question and you do this by carrying out an in-depth survey of the entire structure, not the ‘property’ where the customer lives but the complete structure. No matter whether it’s a flat or a terraced house, if the property in question is attached to another property then its odds on that the rats inside are finding their way in from the neighbouring part of the structure.  
Looking only at the customers part of a structure is just a waste of time, you need to look at the wider picture and take in all of the physical footprint of the building, you’d be surprised at how many times that I discover my customers property is not the entrance point but next doors is. 
Once you’ve completed the full survey, you will have a degree of understanding of the infestation route and what may be happening and why the rodents are inside, trapping the animals allows you to confirm any suspicions you have and it allows you to work out what remedial action will needed to be taken to fix the problem. 

Rat myth busting 

“Rodenticide makes the animals thirsty, and they always die outside near a source of water” 
Completely untrue, while its true that rodenticide causes dehydration in the animal, this ‘place of death’ idea is pure fiction, rodenticide is not poison, in fact it’s an anticoagulant which causes the animals blood to becomes thin enough that pressure from the heart pushes it through the walls of the capillaries out into the animals tissue. If you think about it logically, this will make the animal will feel unwell, it will become cold and ache, so what do you do when you feel like this? You head off to bed to rest, where do you think the animals going? Up to your nice warm, comfy loft. 
“I’ve put plenty of rodenticide down, so it’ll last you for years” 
There is so much wrong with this attitude, and this is in fact a true statement made by a local guy to one of his customers that I ended up going out to, firstly, rodenticide kills anything with a liver, so that includes me and you, your children, and your pets. You don’t want left over rodenticide sitting around inside your home where you and your children live, in fact we are obliged to collect it and not leave it lying around. Also, why leave it to last for years? Pest control when done correctly should be about establishing an element of control, if they’ve done the job properly then there is no need for a load of rodenticide to be left lying around. Over in America they call themselves exterminators, here in the UK we call ourselves controllers and for me, it’s that control part that shouts out the difference between us. 
Rat next to a pipe
Rat feeding at night
Rat sat on a car tyre
Of course, there’s no denying it, rodenticide has its place in professional pest control but not when it’s the first and only means of dealing with your pests, for us to be successful in resolving any infestation, the use of traps far outweighs the use of rodenticide in bringing about a long term solution to your pest problem.  
The holy trinity of professional pest control is tracking, trapping and proofing. The idea is to track the animals in, finding out any entrance points, getting rid of them if you can by physically removing the dead bodies in traps and then once you’ve got control you seal up the entrance points so that they can never get back in, that, is how you do pest control and its not done in two or three visits. 
If you are using a pest controller who doesn’t do that, and if you’re using a pest controller who relies solely on the use of rodenticide and who comes out with the usual myths then in all honesty, you’re wasting your time and they’re just wasting your money. 
At the end of a treatment ask yourself “Whats to stop them from coming back”? if you didn’t get an answer to that question, then don’t phone that company back next time you hear noises in the loft, because you’re just going around in circles and wasting both time and money. 
Tagged as: rats
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