One of the most common questions our customers ask is, “how are they getting in?”. Unfortunately, while you might think your home is clean and safe from the threat of pests, that’s not always the case! Rodents can squeeze through tiny gaps in places you wouldn’t even think to look at.
So, to help you understand just how they’re getting inside, we’ve written a helpful guide on rodent entry points, including signs to look out for and ways to prevent a rodent infestation.
How Do Rodents Get Into Buildings?
We refer to the places rodents break into your home or building as ‘rodent entry points’. While the Rodentia family includes many different animals, the most common ones in the UK likely to be entering your property are rats, mice, and squirrels.
Rats and mice are capable of squeezing through tiny holes – no bigger than the width of one to two pencils. While this may sound ridiculous, when you think about the actual body of the pests and take their fur away, their actual width is much smaller than you would originally think. Rats are also capable of collapsing their diaphragm to get through smaller holes!
Generally, if rats, mice, and squirrels can fit their head through a hole, then their bodies will also be able to squeeze through.
On top of their ability to squeeze through small gaps, it’s worth noting that rodents are naturally equipped with the tools required to enter almost any building they wish…
Armed with platinum-strength teeth and remarkable jaw power, plus their incessant need to gnaw on solid objects to keep their incisors down to a suitable size, rodents can create their own entry points. They will chew through brick, wood, concrete, and even steel to gain access to your property.
Why do Rodents enter buildings?
Rodents will enter our homes and buildings for a number of reasons. In the summertime, rodents are content living outside thanks to the warm weather and abundance of food. However, as the seasons change, temperatures start to drop, and food sources become limited.
Rodents are generally opportunistic animals, always on the lookout for food, shelter and water to help them survive. If they come across an opening in the exterior of your home, then their innate inquisitive nature will draw them in to take a look.
Upon entering your property, if they find available food and water sources, then they’re likely to stay put. They will find a quiet and often undisturbed area of your home to make their nests, and before you know it, you’ve got a full-blown rodent infestation in your home.
How Do I Find Rodent Entry Points?
To find the route in, thinking like a rodent is required. Rodents want to travel in the shadows and move without being seen. Think about how they have gotten close to the property without being seen. This will help you to identify some possible areas to check in more detail. A thorough inspection of vent covers, pipes, brickwork, and doors should be carried out.
Did you know that most rat problems are caused by rats in 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, most builders don’t understand the capability of a rat, and we have seen some shocking practices that have left properties hugely vulnerable to a rodent infestation; redundant drains blocked off with plastic and waste pipes broken and left unrepaired.
A methodical check of your property is required to discover any potential rodent entry points. We recommend starting at ground level and working your way up. However, we realise that many areas can be difficult to reach without professional help, including rooflines and drains.
If you’re looking for a thorough inspection of your home, we carry out in-depth rodent surveys and drain surveys here at Pest-Tech. Contact us today to book your survey, and we’ll help you uncover all potential rodent entry points on your property in no time.
Common Rodent Entry Points
Let’s take a look at some of the most common rodent entry points we’ve found during our many years of professional rodent control.
Poorly Fitted Pipes
Builders and tradesmen have a lot to answer for when it comes to creating rodent entry points. They often use easy routes for pipes and cables and can be careless when drilling an access point. As well as this, they may not always finish off their work properly and forget to fill old holes that are no longer needed. If the building work is out of sight or tucked away, then some entry points can be left hidden.
Air vents are a common cause of rodent entry, either through damage or old-style vents. Victorian properties have large gaps in air vents, which are more than ample as a rodent entry point. In modern houses, the air vents are plastic, which is no problem for a rodent to gnaw to gain entry. Builders also use them as an easy way to direct pipes and cables into buildings, again leaving gaps that rodents can squeeze through.
If you grow plants or climbers on the house, you offer rodents a route up to the gutter in the form of a stand-in ladder. Once in the gutter, they will find a route into the roof space, often chewing their way through your fascias and soffits to gain access.
Not only does this grant rodents an easy way of entering your home, but it also results in damage to your guttering systems that can be costly to repair. If you have climbing plants like ivy, for example, then we highly recommend regular trimming to keep the plants sitting at least a foot or two below the gutter line.
This is more specific to rats, as they live in drains; however, their access point could still be used by mice and squirrels. Rats take advantage of any damage in drains. They are natural burrowers, so they can easily follow a waste pipe back into your home.
Suppose you’ve recently had any alterations to your drain system, such as moving a bathroom from downstairs to upstairs. In that case, we highly recommend a rat drain survey to check for ingress points that could lead to a rodent infestation.
Small gaps and poorly fitting doors make easy entrance routes for mice, rats, and squirrels. We regularly see gaps in garage doors where the garage is attached to the house. Once inside the garage, the rodents can gain access to the main home via cables, pipes, and wires.
In commercial buildings, shutter doors are commonly used by rodents. Once the seal with the floor has been broken via wear and tear, the gap created produces an easy way in for rodents.
Poor Construction Work
As mentioned previously, poor building works create an easy rodent entry point. Unfortunately, tradespeople do not always consider the consequences of their actions or the problems that their less than adequate work may cause. By not filling holes, blocking off drains or finishing tasks correctly, they leave open plenty of gaps around your home that rodents can use to gain entry.
Many modern buildings, including new build houses and commercial buildings, have breathing holes rather than air vents. All buildings need to breathe, so these holes are placed in the brickwork to allow this to happen. Unfortunately, the problem with this is it allows mice, rats, and squirrels access to the cavity. Once they are in, they can make their way around your building using pipes and cables and go virtually undetected.
How Do I Stop Rodent Entry Points?
There are a number of things you can do to prevent and fix rodent entry points and protect your property from the threat of rodents.
Your first step is to carry out a thorough investigation of the full property, paying particular attention to the following:
- Broken vents and coverings
- Poorly fitting doors and door surrounds
- Cracks in walls or brickwork
- Holes from old pipes
- Recent building work to ensure tradesmen have not left any potential entry points
- Check inside your drain cover for any earth, rubble or signs of digging.
- Ensure your drain covers are fitted properly
If you discover any signs of damage or gaps wide enough to fit a small rodent, then it’s vital that you carry out remedial work to repair the fault as soon as possible. Here at Pest-Tech, we offer a wide range of rodent-proofing techniques designed to suit all types of properties.
If you’ve found any rodent entry points on your property, then it’s also highly likely that you’re suffering from an active rodent infestation. But, there’s no need to panic; we offer effective rat control, mice control, and squirrel control services to homes and businesses across Maidstone and Kent.