Public warned as rats and mice invade homes as temperatures plummet

Irish homeowners are being warned that rats and mice are moving indoors as temperatures plunge.

Pest control company Rentokil has said there's been an increase in rodent activity in Ireland - with a 50 per cent jump in the number of callouts during the months leading up to winter.

As a result, the company is warning home and business owners to be aware of the potential issues posed by rodents, as rats and mice are looking to move indoors in the search for food and shelter from the cold.

Meath accounted for (9%) of total callouts so far this year.

Dublin is the county that has accounted for the most callouts accounting for 16% of all callouts this year. Cork (11%), Meath (9%), Galway (6%) and Wexford (5%) are the next counties most affected by these pests.

Rodents can be a serious issue for home and business owners, as they can spread disease, damage property with their constant need to gnaw, contaminate food, and even create a fire risk by chewing on electrical cables. Signs of a rodent infestation can include droppings which tend to be found in concentrated locations and scratching noises as rats and mice are agile climbers and experts at scurrying into small spaces. Rodents also leave running tracks and rub marks as they leave trails in dust with their feet and tails as well as dark smudges on both objects and surfaces.

Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant with Rentokil comments, “As temperatures drop over the winter period, many rodents will look to move indoors in search of food and shelter. We would advise home and business owners to practice some simple steps which could help to protect their premises from rodent activity, such as carefully storing food, keeping their property tidy as well as sealing any cracks or holes in external walls.”

Here are some ways to help prevent rodents from entering your home

● Doors – Fitting bristle (or brush) strips to the bottom of doors can help to prevent entry, especially in older properties where the door fit may not be snug.

● Pipework and Hole – Seal gaps around existing or new pipes with a coarse grade stainless steel wire wool and caulking (pliable sealant), and check that old pipework holes are sealed too.

● Air Bricks and Vents – Cover these with fine galvanised wire mesh, especially if they are damaged.

● Eaves – Fix damaged roofing and use wire mesh to seal gaps.

● Vegetation – Trim tree branches back and where possible avoid plants growing up the sides of your property. Vines, shrubs or overhanging branches can be used by mice to get onto roofs. Overgrown vegetation close to the walls will also provide rodents with shelter and potential nesting sites.

● Lawns – Keep grass mown short to reduce shelter and seeds for food. Ideally, leave a gap between the building foundations and the garden.