Rats follow waste pipes

Rat Entry Points

How Do Rats Get Into a Building?

Rat entry points are the places in which rats break into your home or building. We have lived alongside rats for centuries and this goes back beyond the times of the Romans. They have always carried disease. They are responsible for the outbreak of many plagues as history has shown us. Rats are still living with us even in this day and age and their numbers seem to be increasing. It goes without saying you don’t want them in your home. Therefore, this blog talks about rat entry points in your home or building.

Rats can get through holes the size of two pencils. Rats are naturally equipped to get into any house or building they wish. Armed with platinum strength teeth and remarkable jaw power. This enables them to gnaw through brick wood, concrete and even steel. This is not helped by the fact that rats must constantly gnaw. This is to keep their teeth filed down to a suitable size. With all these characteristics, it is not difficult to see how a rat can gain entry into your home.

Rat entry into the house.
An easy rodent entry point into this building. It should be either filled in or fit a vent cover over it if it is a temporary hole.

How Do I Find Rat Entry Points?

Once it is established that a rat is in the property, the entry point needs to be found. This is key to stopping future infestations. To find the route in, thinking like a rat is required. Rats want to travel in the shadows and move without being seen. Think about how the rat has got close to the property without being seen. This will identify some possible areas to check in more detail. An inspection should be carried out of vent covers, old pipe holes and old brickwork. Rats are opportunists and will take advantage of possible chances to get in. Another place they may be getting in from is the drains.

90% of rat issues come from the drains. It can be rats breaking out of the drains before they reach your property. Alternatively, if you have had work on your property and the drains have been altered in any way they could escape inside your building. Unfortunately, builders don’t understand the capability of a rat and we have seen some shocking practices that can leave properties very vulnerable. I have seen redundant drains blocked off with plastic, waste pipes broken and left unrepaired, these are all areas of concern.

To find how a rat is getting into a building, a methodical check of the property is required. Start at ground level and have a thorough look for signs of activity and work your way up. The rat will use minimal effort to get in and out, remembering it will need to get in and out for food and water potentially. If this is good, then seriously consider your drains. This may be beyond your ability in which case a good pest controller can help with this..

How Do I Stop Rat Entry Into a Building?

Depending on what is found when the property is inspected will highlight areas for improvement. This may be holes and gaps, in which case sand and cement is the best solution. We strongly advise against filling gaps with expanding foam as rats can gnaw straight through it. As a minimum wire wool should be used to pack out the gap and secured mesh will also proof a hole. If it is a drain issue then it can be a bit more tricky. This will no doubt need further investigation by a drain survey.

Proofing to stop rats getting into the building | Rat Control | Rat entry points blocked off
Rat entry point blocked off.

When employing a contractor to engage in a drain survey it is important that you get a comprehensive report. This should detail all drain runs, exposé any redundant drains and show any damage that may allow a rat to leave the drain system. An easy solution for a drain issue may be fitting a drain gate which is a blog subject by itself.

Drain Survey for rat entry points to a building
Drain Survey for rat entry.

Where Are the Most Common Rat Entry Points?

Whenever a pest control technician is carrying out a survey for a rat issue the drain system should always be considered. The drain cover should be lifted if available and unobstructed. Questions about alterations in the property should also be asked. An example of this could be the moving of a bathroom from downstairs to upstairs. This may be the cause of a drain system being altered which could be considered as weakened.

Spoil in a redundant drain.
The spoil in the redundant drain indicates the rats have broken out of the system.

There are of course other entry points that could be the issue. Alterations to the exterior of a building may offer a route in? It’s not that builders purposely leave holes or gaps, but just that they don’t realise how vulnerable they leave you. Simple alterations such as moving a sink waste could leave a 2″ hole in the wall straight into the cavity. This could be an easy route to the loft with lots of nesting places in the insulation.

An entry point for rodentss
Disused waste pipe hole offering an entry point for rodents

Another common entry point is a plastic air vent. Rats enjoy gnawing them out to give them an easy route into the cavity. They can then travel throughout the building. They use cables pipes and wires to navigate around a property. Fitting vent covers over the plastic vents will reduce the chances of rats taking advantage of the easy route in. If vent covers aren’t available then even a 6mm mesh will give a good barrier from rats entering your property.

Rodents have gnawed the air vent creating a rat entry point.
Air vent gnawed by a rodent.

What Next?

You may be experiencing rats getting into your property and if so hopefully some of the information has helped you in some way. You may feel confident enough to tackle it yourself. However, if you feel it is too much to take on further investigation then Pest-Tech Ltd can help. As part of our pest control service, we carry out a survey as part of or rat treatment. If you need any further advice or have any questions on anything we have discussed then you can call or email and we can answer them.

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