This article will give advice on what to do to if you believe or know that you have a pest problem in your property.

There are many reasons why pests may enter your property, this includes; food being left out, open rubbish, lack of cleanliness in the home etc., so to avoid a pest problem, ensure that your property is cleaned regularly, food is put away and rubbish is not left out in the open.

If you do believe there is a pest problem in your property, alert your landlord or hall’s manager immediately.

How do I know if I have rats?

If you believe that you have rats in your property, there will be telltale signs:

  • Visual sighting – rats will be much larger than mice
  • Droppings – normally bullet-shaped and between 8mm and 25mm long
  • Possible footprints or tail marks in dust and dark smears on bottom of walls from the grease and dirt on the rat’s coat
  • Holes or burrows outside, maybe accompanied by earth or debris
  • Gnaw marks on woodwork or damage to property
  • Damage or disappearance of food
  • Scratching noises (although mice, squirrels or birds can also cause such noises)

Why might I have rats?

There are many reasons. Rats are searching for food, water and warmth, and at times may enter properties or pass through gardens to find these resources.

Rubbish bags not contained in bins also offer a food source to rats.

Holes, damaged airbricks, redundant pipes or damaged drainage systems can give access for rodents into your property, particularly where disused drainpipes have been removed.

What should I do?

If you believe you have rats, get professional help immediately and contact your landlord. It is important to control rats, not only because of the damage they may cause and the food they spoil through droppings and urine causing food to become contaminated, but also because they transmit disease (some of which are transferable to humans) as they live and breed in sewers.

You must also use an anti-bacterial cleaning agent on all kitchen/food surfaces before food preparation, and clean up all food and waste when finished. Keep houses clean, and keep food supplies safe and in sealed containers away from possible access points, such as the back of a cupboard.

Call Portsmouth City Council and they will treat the problem.

There is no charge for this service as a tenant as the cost is paid by the landlord, so it is advisable to speak to them before calling the council.

How do I know if I have mice?

You may have found mice in your property or you may think you have them due to signs that indicate that they are in your home:

  • Droppings (very small pellets)
  • Evidence of your food being eaten or damaged food items found in the home
  • Scratching noises or marks may be found around the property

Why might I have mice?

House mice (the most common mouse) come into our homes because it can provide them with all the things they need, such as warmth and easy food opportunities.

Remember that if you leave food easily accessible about your kitchen or home, it can attract mice. They can gain access through the smallest of gaps (pencil width).

What should I do?

Mice do not carry the same diseases as rats and are seen as less threatening, however they are still hazardous. Inform your landlord and take these necessary steps.

General measures to take are:

  • Washing all surfaces with an antibacterial agent before any food preparation
  • Clear away food and do not leave crumbs about to attract the mice
  • Check your cupboards for possible gaps/access and move any accessible foodstuff
  • Food should be placed in sealed containers and the cupboard cleaned

You can buy traps to deal with the mice, but often poison is found to be more successful.

Ensure you read all safety requirements fully concerning poisons. Portsmouth City Council will treat mice problems with poison, which is contained in tamper-resistant boxes and placed out of sight (for example at the back of cookers or fridges or under units) so that children or pets will not be harmed.

There is a charge for mice treatment service. The charge will either be passed to the tenants of the property or the landlord.

Tenants will only be charged for the treatment of mice problems if it states this in the tenancy agreement. The council will ask to see a copy of the agreement.

What should I do after the treatment?

To help prevent re-infestation you should:

  • Ensure any small gaps/holes are blocked throughout the house with wire wool. Also check that any external defects that can cause access (broken pipes, broken airbricks etc) are fixed.
  • Maintain a food free environment, where no foodstuffs are left about the house.
  • Keep kitchens clean and ensure rubbish is disposed of correctly and securely. 

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