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

how to get rid of rats

To get rid of mice & rats, it is important remove attractions such as unsecured rubbish and tidy your garden as to remove shelter. Then there is the decision about whether to use clinical or humane solutions, whether it be traps & poisons or ultrasonic devices. Primrose recommends ultrasonic deterrents as the lasting solution to your rodent problem, which acts as a permanent deterrent and allows you to avoid touching diseased carcesses.

Remove the Attractions

Key to keeping your home and garden pest free is to keep it tidy and free of rubbish. You can exterminate the existing rodents, but more will return if there is a source of food or shelter.

Rubbish should be kept in a secure bin, with the lid closed. Food shouldn’t be left out for other animals. Bird feed should be put up in specialised containers, and never on the ground. Similarly, tidying around the bottom of a fruit tree is worthwhile.

Remove the Habitat

Overgrown gardens provide a source of shelter in which many pests thrive. It is worth checking for holes that rodents will use as a nest.

Secure Your House

Rodents are both adept climbers and extremely nimble, able to enter through small cracks from the foundation to the attic. Hence, it is worth checking your brickwork as well as going into the loft.

Ultrasonic Deterrents

Ultrasonic devices are the most effective method to rid your house of rodents. Unlike traps and poisons, which only make room for new rodents, and at worst can act as a draw for new pests, ultrasonic devices function as a permanent deterrent. They also allow you to forgo learning about the different types of rodents and avoid handling dead, diseased carcasses.

Ultrasonic devices work by emitting ultrasound, which is inaudible to humans, but disconterting to rodents, who use such frequencies to listen for predators. The ultrasound causes them to leave the area, and is henceforth completely humane. Primrose has sold tens of thousands of units, with our best-selling model receiving nearly 2000 reviews, with a return rate of less than 2%. We also stock a battery operated model, perfect for lofts and outbuildings, which has an average rating of 4.2 from over 400 reviews.

Unlike with traps and poisons, it is best to install a device before sealing your house, leaving a space for the rodents to escape.

Rodent Types

If you are to use traps or poisons, learning about the different types of rodents can be useful.

Two species of rat are likely to enter your home, the black rat and brown rat (norwegian, cellar rat). The former is significantly smaller and more agile, and will infest the upper levels of buildings. The latter, by contrast, is much more likely to stick to the lower levels. With mice, the species most likely to enter your house is the adaptly named house mouse, which is even more agile than the brown rat.

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.

The different types can be identified by their droppings with the brown rat’s between 1.5-2cm, the black rat’s up to 1.5cm and mice less than 0.75cm. As mice are significantly lighter than rats, you are unlikely to hear them scurrying.

All rodents can survive on a poxy amount of calories, but mice can survive without water and will multiply quickly, producing up to 8 litters a year with a gestation period of 30 days. It is for these reasons that you can’t afford to wait, but have to act quickly.

Traps & Poisons

Unlike ultrasonic deterrents, it is important to seal your house before using traps and poisons, which can act as an attractant.

There are three types of traps: snap, electric and glue. Snap and electric traps are the most humane and usually kill instantly. Glue traps are extremely effective due to the attractants. Traps have an advantage over poisons in that carcasses can be found in the vicinity of the trap, while poisoned rodents can be hard to find.

Poisons have an advantage in that they can be used in communal areas, provided they are secured in bait stations, safe from pets and children. You should use different active ingredients for different situations. Alphachloralose is a must for mice, while for rats both difenacoum and brodifacoum can be used, although the latter shouldn’t be used in areas with non-target species.

For more information on poisons, please read our blog post here.

Rodents are initially wary of new introductions, so traps and poisons take time to take effect. Rodent tracker dust can be used to identify where rodents are coming from, which helps with the placement of traps.

Be sure to use gloves when handling dead rodents and use rodent carcass disposal bags.

Natural Deterrents

Cats will hunt rodents, and the specially bred terrier, can be set on them.

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.

Jorge, Mice & Rats, Pest Advice, Pest Control

best mouse poison
Mouse poisons are often brightly coloured. Pictured are grains.

The best mouse poison is dependent on whether there is the opportunity for contamination with non-target animals and children and whether you are targeting a mouse or a rat. The active ingredient alphachloralose is always preferred with mice, while if you have rats difenacoum is preferred when non-target species are present, but brodifacoum is preferred when they aren’t. These ingredients are used to produce three types of baits: blocks, grains and paste satchels. The first is preferred in areas with non-target species as it is easily secured.

What are the active ingredients and which should I use?

Difenacoum

Key Points

  • Multi-feed bait
  • Anti-coagulant
  • Recommended in areas where non-target domestic or farm animals are present*

*Although Difenacoum is recommended where non-target animals are present, it is still a potent poison to mammal species.  Therefore, it is vital that baits are protected from ingestion by non-target species. If you find a non-target animal has ingested the poison, seek medical advice from a vet immediately.

Racan (the poison experts) Say:

When compared to other multi-feed anticoagulant rodenticides, difenacoum has a good level of activity against the brown rat, and excellent levels of activity against mice.  In comparison bromadiolone has a good level of activity against the brown rat, but only moderate levels of activity against mice. For this reason difenacoum was chosen as the active within the RACAN ‘HOME FRIENDLY’ range.  This range will bring both rat and mice infestations under control, but due to the strength of the active this will take time, as the rodents will need to feed on several occasions to build up the level of active within their bloodstream to a lethal dose.  Many customers will feel happier using this active as it is considered less of a danger to non-target species. It is also the best active for use in block baits as single feed baits in this formulation would offer a high risk to non-targets.

Brodifacoum

Key Points

  • Single feed bait
  • Anti-coagulant
  • Stronger than difenacoum
  • Excellent against the brown rat and mice
  • Extremely toxic to all mammals and therefore is essential that it is kept locked away from non-target animals.  Bait boxes are strongly advised.

Racan Say:

With the restrictive changes brought in on active concentration, we thought it was sensible to give amateurs the opportunity to use single feed baits if they wish.  Brodifacoum offers an excellent level of activity against the brown rat, being a significantly stronger anticoagulant active than difenacoum. This therefore is the active of choice in our single-feed anticoagulant RACAN ‘FORCE’ range.  A rat will reach a lethal dose from one standard feed of this poison and so the results are seen very quickly. It is essential that all baits are well protected from non-target animals and the best way to achieve this is by placing the baits in an approved bait box.

Alphachloralose

Key Points

  • Mouse only
  • Part of Narcotic Family
  • Not affected by new legislation; proven to kill mice within minutes after one bite
  • Minimal secondary toxicity issues

Racan Say:

Within the RACAN ‘Rapid’ range we use alphachloralose which is part of the narcotic family and the most powerful mouse poison on the market.  It is not affected by the new legislations as this only applies to anticoagulants. It is proven to kill mice within minutes with one bite of the product.  It works by decreasing the mouse’s body temperature and sending it into a coma which it does not awake from. The active dissolves in the bloodstream and so (unlike anticoagulants) it has minimal secondary toxicity issues to non-target species.  It is the speed of the onset of the active that makes it unsuitable for rats, as they feel the effect before they reach a lethal dose and therefore stop feeding. RACAN RAPID is a mouse only poison.

Unfortunately, other chemical controls such as zinc phosphide, calciferol and bromethalin are banned in the UK under EU law.

Should I use multi feed or single feed baits?

Multi feed baits cause the target species to gradually become sick over time.  This can lead to the rat or mouse becoming disoriented and often will lead to them dying in an unreachable area such as under floorboards; this has obvious implications for hygiene.  

Multi feed baits will by their nature take longer to work due to the requirement of the target species to return and feed numerous times before reaching a lethal dose.  

Difenacoum a multi feed bait does have advantages however (as mentioned above) with non-target species.  This is safer to use in areas where domestic pets or farm animals have access, but again should still be handled carefully and kept strictly contained and away from where non-target animals might ingest.

How do I know if I have rats or mice? 

Mice and rats are best distinguished by the size of their droppings. Mice droppings are less than 0.75cm, while rats are significantly larger.

You’re are much more likely to hear rats than you are mice and are very unlikely to hear mice crawling.

Which active ingredient is best?

If you have mice only, alphachloralose is a no brainer. Brodifacoum is preferred in areas without non-target species, while difenacoum is preferred in areas with non-target species.

It is worth noting that both mice and rats have developed resistance to brodifacoum and difenacoum, although the latter remains effective against mice. As such uses of such ingredients is likely to exert a selectionary pressure, with larger and larger proportions of the rodent population possessing resistance to poisons. This is why we recommend ultrasonic repellers – the only lasting solution to your rat problem.

What type of bait should I use; grain, blocks or paste?


Grain Bait

Grain is the most common on the market and is easy to use by putting down around infested areas.  Rodents will hold the bait in their cheeks and carry it back to the nest to feed others. Grain is generally effective due to being a part of a rodent’s natural diet.  

The difficulty with grain is preventing non-target species from ingesting the poison.

Bait Blocks

Bait blocks are advantageous due to their ability to be secured in bait stations or to surfaced using wire.  Activity is easily monitored due to bite marks in the grain. They can be easily stored and transported with minimal risk of leaks or spillage.   An ideal form of treatment in areas where keeping treatment away from non-target species is a concern. Their wax content makes them ideal for use in damp conditions.

The one drawback of block bait is that they may not be as palatable as other alternatives and therefore could take a little longer to be effective.

Paste Sachets

Paste Sachets are highly attractive to rodents; made from ingredients such as cereals, oils, flour or fat and usually added flavouring. The packaging tends to be edible (like sugar paper).  The sachet can be secured to a surface if required.

Usually more powerful than traditional baits, they are mixed with liquid poisons to ensure every bite contains the active ingredient.  They are particularly useful where rodents have refused to take other bait due to their attractive nature.

The type of bait is of secondary importance to the active ingredient. Grain bait is preferred in areas without non-target animals, while bait blocks are preferred in areas with non-target animals as they are easily secured in bait stations. Paste sachets are best used as a last resort, as their strong attractants can attract non-target species.

Where should I put the bait?

Rats:

For rats it’s important to identify areas of activity; faeces are usually a good indicator.  Grain or Paste can be placed down burrows. Bait stations can be located along the runs between burrows and likely feeding points.

Mice:

Bait should be placed in areas of high activity, again faeces is usually a good indicator.  If you are struggling to locate the areas, see our tracker dust and UV torch which can be used to track footprints.

Why are the rats or mice refusing to take the bait?

Rats:

Rats can be wary of new objects in their surrounding, so it may just be that they’re not yet used to the bait station or bait being in their environment.  Allow up to 2 weeks with the poison in place, after which you will need to move the bait to an area of higher activity.

Mice:

Unlike rats, mice are inquisitive and will explore any new objects in their surroundings.  They will have no problem exploring a bait station or tray however if you find they aren’t attracted to the bait, you may find a more attractive type of bait could be used such as paste sachets.  It is also good practice to move the station or tray each time you top it up, due to the inquisitive nature of mice this will actually entice them to explore.

How do anticoagulant poisons work?

Anticoagulant poisons work by preventing the liver from recycling Vitamin K.  Vitamin K is essential to make the blood clotting agents which protect from too much bleeding.  With enough exposure to anticoagulant internal bleeding occurs which kills the target species.

What does the law state about mouse poison?

Using brodifacoum is legal providing it’s put in a bait station. This helps protect both children and non-target animals. If you are to place stations in living areas, it is best to exclude pets to other parts of the house. Similarly, if a bait station is disturbed it is important to first search for a dead rodent, before letting children/pets in. With other poisons the greatest possible care should be taken to ensure non-target animals do not consume them. Unsecured poisons will leave you in trouble with the law.

How have changes in the law affected mouse poison products?

As of February 2018, EU law has slashed the maximum level of active ingredient from 0.005% to 0.003% for public use. Pack sizes have changed reducing bait blocks to a maximum 300g for rats and 150g for mice, with grain, pasta or pellet baits falling to 150g for rats and 100g for mice. This has originated from assessments showing that higher concentrations pose a risk to human health and the environment.

Is there a more humane or non-lethal way to get rats and mice out of your home?

We sell a range of electronic repellers which use ultrasonic and electromagnetic signals to deter rodents.  Our best selling repeller comes with a money back guarantee and has 1800+ reviews.

Important:  Always read the label.  Always wear gloves when handling bait.  If any rodenticide is ingested or you have any concerns, seek medical advice immediately and follow the first aid instruction on the product label.

Jorge, Pest Advice, Pest Control

how to get rid of foxes

The population of foxes is rising with many now present in urban areas, feeding off our endless supply of rubbish. While it may seem impossible to get rid of this most canny of creatures, Primrose recommends ultrasonic repellers as a lasting solution to your fox problem.

Fox Profile

Intelligent and adaptable, foxes are among the species best suited to the anthropocene era, thriving in both rural and urban environments. Unafraid to colonise new areas, foxes will roam across huge areas in search of food and country foxes will move into urban areas and vice-versa.

Foxes breed between december and february, and in autumn cubs will move into new territories. This is the period where many inexperienced foxes will be hit by cars.

Despite commonly held beliefs, foxes are omnivores and will eat nearly anything.

Remove the Attractions

Key to avoiding pests is to put your rubbish in a secure bin and close the lid. This will deprive them of a source of food, removing the main pull factor.

For foxes specifically, it is important to secure your livestock and pets. Chickens should be enclosed in coop and guinea pigs/rabbits in a hutch.

Don’t leave food out for other animals, especially cats or dog food. Bird feed should always be put up high in specialised containers, inaccessible to rats.

Animal derived fertilisers, such as bone meal, can attract foxes.

Remove the Habitat

You can make you garden less appealing to foxes through keeping your garden tidy, removing garbage and sources of shelter. Foxes’ curiosity will be piqued by discarded rubbish such as old gardening gloves. Overgrown gardens provide excellent shelter and holes in the ground can be used as dens, which foxes will return to again and again.

Dens are common in urban areas under sheds and garages. Any holes you do find we recommend you fill in. This is best done late autumn, when there are no cubs. You can lure a fox out of a hole by using ammonia or human urine. New garages should always be built with a concrete base.

Restrict Entry

Securing your property is always worthwhile. A partially buried fence will make it difficult for a fox to dig under. A fence 6ft above ground level will be difficult for a fox to scale. Fence spikes can secure your property from both pests and intruders.

Deterrents

While all the above methods can help secure your property, you can’t control your neighbours, of which, some will inevitably attract foxes. This is why it is useful to first try ultrasonic devices, before resorting to more expensive solutions.

Ultrasonic Repellers

Ultrasonic repellers work by emitting ultrasound, which is inaudible to humans, but painful to foxes, causing them to leave the area. Ultrasound is preferred as it functions as a permanent deterrent to foxes, and causes no inconvenience to humans.

Our latest model is fitted with a sensor and will only activate in the presence of a fox. This ensures that a fox will associate its presence with the noise. Our device also emits at random-timing intervals in a wide range of frequencies, which ensures the noise is as disconcerting as possible, making it impossible for a fox to get used to the noise. We are so confident of its effectiveness, we are willing to offer a money back guarantee.

Jet Spray Repeller

Similar to ultrasonic devices, our jet spray repeller is fitted with a sensor and will spray any warm body within 10m in a 120 degree arc.

Sprays

As previously mentioned, human urine and ammonia can be used to deter foxes in the short term. This is what the product Scoot, a popular deterrent, is based off (aluminium ammonium sulphate).

Dogs

Foxes will not mess with large dogs, which can be great if your dog roams the garden.

Ineffective Methods

Killing or trapping a fox does nothing, except make room for another fox. Placing unsecured traps or poisons will get you into trouble with the law.

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.

How To, Jorge, Pest Advice, Pest Control, Spiders

Every autumn homes around the country gets flooded with spiders, moving in from the garden in search for a mate. Primrose recommends ultrasonic repellers as the most effective device to keep your house spider free, which work by upsetting a spider’s sense of “hearing”, forcing them to move to new areas.

Ultrasonic Repellers

Although spiders have no formal hearing, they have tiny hairs, called trichobothria, which respond to vibrations (sound). These hairs play an important role in hunting as they allow spiders to detect an object’s direction of travel and size, alerting it to prey. It is likely ultrasound disturbs this important function, causing spiders to seek different hunting grounds.

At Primrose, we have developed an especially devious device to rid your house of spiders – our Whole House Advanced Spider Repeller, which can be adjusted to emit variable frequencies at random intervals to cause maximum confusion. It also emits electromagnetic waves, which is believed to upset spiders’ magnetoreception, affecting their ability to navigate.

We also stock a battery powered model which is perfect for outbuildings.

Why ultrasound?

Ultrasound is perfect as by definition, the frequencies are higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing, so there is no inconvenience. It is also detectable by a large range of pests and will help keep rats out of your house. Importantly, unlike other solutions, ultrasonic devices are a permanent solution to your spider problem. You can spray and catch as many spiders as you wish, but providing there is no deterrent, they will return.

Why Primrose?

Primrose sells thousands of units each year with less than 2% returned as ineffective. Our top selling model has over 900 independently verified reviews with an average rating of 4/5 and has a money back guarantee.

Spider Catchers

Primrose stocks three types of spider catchers powered by different mechanisms. One is powered by a lever that closes bristles around a spider, another sucks a spider in a vacuum and the last traps a spider in a compartment. All are humane, allowing you to release the captured spider in a suitable location. If you are decided on a spider catcher, the first two models are the best. The latter is only suitable for flat surfaces. Of the first two models, the vacuum allows you to capture multiple spiders, the downfall is that it requires batteries.

Spider Sprays

Our spider spray is designed to stop spiders building cobwebs for up to 4 weeks. Simply spray on affected areas.

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.

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