How To, Jorge, Mice & Rats, Pest Advice, Pest Control

Rats in the loft are a worrying sign for any homeowner due to their propensity to spread disease, damage property and steal food. Worse, rodents in the loft indicate that they have spread deep into the property, forming a network throughout your walls. To deal with rodents it is can be useful to first identify the type of rodent before addressing structural issues and then dealing with the rodents themselves.

Types of Rodent

In the UK, the most common type of rat is the brown rat, followed by the black rat a distant second. As omnivores, these rats will consume nearly anything and are fond of burrowing; hence, in urban areas they will enter properties for shelter and warmth, which usually occurs at the end of the summer and autumn when the weather starts to turn. Of the two, the black rat is incredibly agile and can often be found inhabiting the upper areas of buildings, while the brown rat is more likely to stick to lower levels.

The two rats can be distinguished by their length, weight, body proportions and facial features with the brown rat significantly larger (40 vs 24cm long) and heavier (500 vs 200g) with small ears and eyes and a slanted snout. By contrast, the black rat possesses large ears and eyes and a pointed snout. Unsurprisingly, its body is slender with its tail longer than the rest of its body, hence the difference in weight. The brown rat is the opposite with a thick body and tail shorter than the rest of its body.

brown vs black rat comparison
Rattus rattus is the scientific name for the black rat, and Rattus norvegicus for the brown rat. Picture credit: Sponk licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Of mice, the most common species found in UK homes is the house mouse followed by the closely related field and yellow-necked field mouse. The house mouse is particularly problematic as it can enter dwellings at any point of the year. Concentrated in rural areas, the field mouse will rarely enter homes, although may pose a problem to farm buildings. The house mouse can easily be distinguished from the field mouse by its colour with the former grey and the latter a sandy-orange.

A visual comparison of the field (L) and house mouse (R). Note the difference in colour. Picture credit: Hans Hillewaert licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Significantly smaller than rats, mice can survive on a mere 3 grams of food a day and even go without water for significant periods. They are all excellent climbers and can multiply quickly. The house mouse, for example, can produce up to 8 litters a year with a gestation period of only 30 days. Hence, we recommend you act quickly to solve any rodent problem.

Safety Precautions

Rodents carry a wide range of diseases, some of which are deadly and others airbourne. Hence, other than wearing gloves and using a facemask, we recommend you air out any space before removing carcasses or excrements.

Detection

Rodents are usually identified by their droppings or the sound of crawling, scratching and gnawing, although can also be identified by chewed wires or pipes. In general, rats are more audible than mice and you are less likely to hear the latter crawling. Brown rat’s droppings are the largest between 1.5-2cm, black rat’s up to 1.5cm and mice less than 0.75cm. If you are having trouble locating your intruders, you can use rodent tracker dust to identify their comings and goings and aid trap placement. 

Addressing Structural Issues

Rodents, along with other pests, can enter your property through small cracks in the brickwork. They can enter your property through climbing shrubs and trees, and black rats may enter your loft directly. Hence, we recommend you seal any cracks with insulation foam and cut back overgrown plants. Rodents will often first take interest in a home due to overgrown gardens and easy access to waste. Hence, it is important to keep your rubbish tidied away.

Solutions

Primrose has over 10 years’ experience developing pest control products and offers a large range of solutions to rodent infestations, divided into clinical and humane solutions. Of all our products, we’d recommend ultrasonic repellents. They work by emitting ultrasound waves, inaudible to humans, but painful for rodents, who use this frequency to listen for predators. Disturbed, they will move out of the vicinity of the sound. We offer both battery and mains powered repellents, of which the former can be useful if you do not have a socket in your loft.

Our battery-powered ultrasonic rodent repeller is perfect for lofts and camouflages as a smoke alarm.

Clinical solutions include mouse and glue traps. In the vast majority of cases a mouse trap will kill a rodent instantly, so they are humane in a sense. Glue traps are extremely effective and work great in tandem with conventional traps. However, the major problem with clinical solutions is that they rarely provide a long term solution as killing existing rodents simply makes room for new ones. Hence, we recommend you start with any ultrasonic repellent, before moving onto these solutions.

If you are using ultrasonic repellents, it is important to first give it time to work and then seal cracks in your property to allow room for the rodents to escape. If you plan to just use just clinical solutions, it is important to first seal your property. Ultimately, it can be useful to use all three solutions in tandem that have proven to be highly effective in dealing with the worst problems, and significantly cheaper than relying on professional pest control solutions.

Jorge at PrimroseJorge works in the Primrose marketing team. He is an avid reader, although struggles to stick to one topic!

His ideal afternoon would involve a long walk, before settling down for scones.

Jorge is a journeyman gardener with experience in growing crops.

See all of Jorge’s posts.

Cats, Geoff, How To, Insects, Mice & Rats, News, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Press Releases, Primrose.co.uk, Spiders

Electronic pest repellers are quickly becoming a must have in many households, keeping pests out at the flick of a switch. Here at Primrose we are always striving to innovate in our products, and we recently took a deeper look into some of our competitors to see what else was on offer across the pest control market. While hoping to find ways to improve our own designs, we discovered many retailers were offering products which didn’t perform as advertised. Here’s a little insight into some of our findings and a look at some products which you should be avoiding.

Product 1

The first product is a Solar Garden Ultra Sonic Pest Repeller, bought from eBay. As the product is advertised as a twin speaker product – clearly displaying two speakers on the front of the casing – you would expect it to utilise both of these, right? Wrong. When opened up you can clearly see it is not wired to the second speaker, which is just a fake covering and not a speaker at all. We believe this to be a way to cut costs during the manufacturing process but this is clear false advertising and the pest repeller would not perform how you would expect.

Twin speaker pest repellerNo wiring to second speakerFully disassembled product

Product 2

Next we tested one of the most popular pest repellers on eBay, the Whole House Ultrasonic Plug In Pest Repeller. This is available through lots of resellers on eBay and is typically sold in multiple deals. The product suggests on the front of the casing that it uses electromagnetic technology to rid your home of pests. However, when you take a look at the inner workings, the product is completely void of an electromagnetic component altogether. This would render the product pretty useless over larger areas and definitely would limit its use within an entire household.

Popular electromagnetic pest repellerDisassembled productNo electromagnetic component

Product 3

Finally, we looked at another product which claimed to be an electromagnetic pest product, suitable for the whole house. This time we opted to compare it to a Primrose product, the Budget Rat and Mouse Repeller which is near identical. However upon further inspection the product also has false claims of electromagnetic technology. The pest repeller also just generally lacks many features of other whole house devices, such as amplification circuitry and power management circuits.

Comparison to Primrose product

We were genuinely shocked at just how many products on the market are misleading consumers into buying products using deception and manufacturing shortcuts. Here at Primrose we don’t rely on false claims, and you can trust us if we say something is in a product, it’s in the product.

 

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Animals, Geoff, How To, Infographics, Insects, Mice & Rats, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Slugs & Snails, Spiders, Wildlife

Having trouble with keeping pests at bay? Ever wondered what sort of creepy crawlies could be lurking in your home? If you would like to minimize the chance of ever meeting them, our simple infographic guide can help you understand where to look, and how to prevent these pests from infesting your home.

How to Deal With Household Pests Infographic

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GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Animals, Cats, Harriet, Mice & Rats, Pest Control, Spiders

Could these pest products have worked on prehistoric creatures?

Tyrannosaurus on the terrace? Velociraptors on the veranda? Bactrosaurus in the bushes? What if we really were Walking with Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs have been notoriously tricky to keep in the enclosures created for them in the movies, but how good would your garden be at keeping them out? We’ve investigated a few of our pest control products to see which would be best to keep the dinos from trampling your tulips. Here’s what we found out…

PestBye™ Advanced Cat Scarer1. PestBye™ Advanced Cat Scarer

Bad luck, although the hearing of mammals like cats extends to ultrasonic frequencies, making a sonic repeller like this the perfect deterrent for them, research suggests that large dinosaurs could probably only hear low frequency sounds meaning that this would be as silent to them as it is to humans. Perfect for keeping away the kitties, less so the big dinos.

Anti Bird Spikes2. Anti Bird Spikes

Did you know that birds are basically modern dinosaurs? This xkcd comic shows that T-Rex is actually more closely related to the sparrow than it was to triceratops! These spikes are great for protecting your sills and ledges from becoming roosting sites for pesky birds so we bet that they’d make a pterodactyl think twice before making your garden her home.

PestBye™ Get Rid of Spiders Spray3. PestBye™ Get Rid of Spiders Spray

Ok, so a huge iguanodon is probably not going to be that fussed if you spray this at him. But spiders have been around on Earth for a terrifying 240 million years, meaning that they’re a menace even older than our Jurassic pests. This spray is perfect for harmlessly keeping them from building cobwebs and preventing them from infesting your home and garden (and we can think of plenty of people who find the sight of a spider just as terrifying as that of a velociraptor!)

Deer Repeller4. Deer Repeller 

“Don’t move! He can’t see us if we don’t move!” That’s what Jurassic Park tells us about the vision of the T-Rex on the hunt, but evidence actually suggests that this dino had great eyesight. Perhaps then the super bright LED of a deer repeller would be just the thing to startle them into keeping off of your lawn. Measuring about 40 ft long these giants could cause a great deal of damage if allowed to run round the garden.

PestBye™ Rat Cage Trap5. PestBye™ Rat Cage Trap

Not all dinosaurs are the huge creatures which are the stars of the movies. Anichiornis is the smallest known non-avian dinosaur and, at approximately 34cm in length, it would be stumped if it wandered into this cage trap! However, you may not actually want to keep these tiny beasts out of your garden – it’s likely that they were insectivores so may have provided some pest protection themselves!

Dinosaur Silhouette

Whether you your garden is infested with dinosaurs or something a bit more native to this millennium, check out the Primrose website for our extensive range of pest control products.

Harriet works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

She’s a big fan of reading, TV quiz shows, and is a highly experienced user of gardens (especially when it involves lounging outside on a sunny afternoon).

As a trivia lover whose favourite book when growing up was an illustrated factopedia (true story), she likes to write for the blog about interesting things she has found out whilst wandering the internet.

See all of Harriet’s posts.

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