Human habitations attract many wild creatures in the UK. Generally, they seek shelter, food and warmth. We tend to put up with many of them, as they’re harmless. But, the brown rat and their smaller cousins, the mouse, carry disease, are unhygienic, and damage our properties. Therefore, we should eradicate them from our homes immediately. Typically, the average cost of rat removal is £90-£250 for a two-visit treatment, with additional visits charged at £25-£35/hr, depending on various factors.
This guide discusses domestic rodent removal, the associated costs and the factors affecting the removal.
How Much Does Rat Removal Cost?*
If you allow them to breed, unchecked rat infestations are expensive to eradicate and subsequent property repair. Therefore, hire a rodent controller immediately if you find indications of their presence. The table shows the cost of two visits which usually clears most infestations. However, if you need more treatments, there is an hourly and daily rate.
|Item||Unit||Price Range||Average Cost||Duration|
|Rodent Eradication||Two Visits||£90-£250||£170||2-4 hours|
|Pest Controller||Per Hour||£25-£35||£30||1 hour|
|Per Day||£200-£280||£240||1 day|
*Disclaimer: We compiled the figures for this cost calculator from various primary and secondary sources, which were correct at the time of writing (September 2022). However, these are average and estimated amounts, which vary depending on several factors. For accurate rat removal prices, contact a local pest controller who provides quotes based on a property survey. Usually, their quotations include an initial charge for two visits. But, for additional treatments, expect fees of £25-£35/hr.
11 Signs Of A Rat Infestation
Just because you haven’t seen rats scurrying around your home doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Rats are nocturnal and tend to come out when you’re asleep (there are exceptions, of course). However, specific signs help identify whether you have a rat infestation.
Rats like to spray their urine to mark their territory. Therefore, if you smell an increasing urine odour and don’t own an elderly dog, you probably have these annoying rodents.
Rats aren’t house-trained and leave behind small brown droppings about the size and shape of rice grains. The number you find will indicate how many rats live in your home.
3. Holes In Packaging
Watch out for gnawing and bite marks in food packages and containers where they’ve tried to get at food.
You might find accumulations of shredded paper or fabric in out-of-the-way places. These are nests and indicate a breeding colony.
Like all rodents, rats’ teeth continually grow. So, to wear them down, they gnaw on electrical wires, insulation, wood, and pipes. Therefore, if you find lots of biting damage, there are rats around.
Being mainly nocturnal, rats are most active at night. Therefore, listen for scurrying or squeaking in the loft, under floorboards, or within walls.
7. Check The Garden
Rats eat slugs and snails. So, if you usually have a garden mollusc problem, which suddenly disappears, you might have a rat infestation.
It’s unusual to see scurrying rats in your home. But, it indicates a severe infestation. Eradicate them immediately.
9. How Many?
If you suspect you have rats, the best way to be sure and ascertain the scale of the problem is to call a professional to survey your property. They know what to look for. Select a professional from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). Then, you’ll get someone who knows their trade and charges industry-accepted rates.
10. Rats In Lofts
Lofts are safe for rodents to sleep during the day. It’s a place humans don’t often visit. And there’s plenty of material to gnaw and make nests.
Many people hear scurrying in the loft at night, probably from resident rats. But, you can’t be sure unless you see other signs.
These might be:
- Gnawed boxes, pipes or electrical wires
- Brown rice-grain-sized droppings
- Footprints in the dust
- Holes give access to other parts of the house via walls and ceilings
- Shredded insulation, cardboard and fabric for nesting
11. Rats Beneath Decking
Decking around your home provides excellent sheltered sleeping and nesting places for rats during the day. Furthermore, as it’s attached to your home, there are often gaps where rats enter your property.
Signs around decking include:
- Brown rice-grain-sized droppings
- Scurrying and scratching noises
- Gnawed deck boards
- Shredded paper, fabric or insulation for nests
What Happens When Leaving Rats For Too Long?
Rats carry infectious diseases, which are serious when transmitted to humans. Typically, rats carry salmonella, listeria, hantavirus and leptospirosis via urine, faeces, scratches, bites and fleas. For an adult human with a sound immune system, some of these might present with flu-like symptoms. However, those more at risk, such as children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, might have severe reactions and need medical treatment. Also, there are more serious infections, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis and hepatitis C. However, a rat infestation isn’t just a health problem. When rats scurry in your walls, ceilings and lofts, they gnaw on electrical wiring, causing electrical faults and fires.
To summarise the short to medium-term effects:
- Rats carry infectious diseases;
- Often bite or scratch humans and pets; and
- Transmit fleas to pets and humans.
In the long term, rats breed prolifically, and one breeding pair can produce 15,000 young in one year. Thus, increasing the chance of severe disease and damage to electrical wiring and insulation, pipes, wooden flooring and beams.
At best, rats are a nuisance. But, at worst, they cause:
- Severe diseases, resulting in potentially acute and chronic illnesses and death
- Domestic electrical fires and structural damage
Therefore, at the first sign of rats in your home, hire an exterminator to eradicate all traces of this dangerous rodent. The money you spend will be worth every penny. Furthermore, choose a rat control company belonging to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). Then, you’ll be sure they have the latest training, hold appropriate insurance and are reputable. The Citizens Advice website has a page dealing with vermin and pest infestations and who is responsible. It’s worth a read if the problem stems from your neighbours.
10 Rat Removal Price Factors
Rat removal prices vary with specific factors, which you should consider when researching quotations, as it’s possible for an extensive infestation to require multiple visits and take a considerable time to remove. The following are some of the factors to consider.
1. Rat Proofing
Rats can squeeze through openings much smaller than you’d expect, even holes as small as 15mm. So, any larger gap will need plugging. Professionals generally include basic rat-proofing in their initial quotation. But, you’ll be charged extra for further protection and rat-proofing on subsequent visits.
Professionals use several gap-plugging materials. Typically, these include:
- Coarse steel wool
- Metal wire mesh
- Sheet metal
- Cement grout
2. Number Of Visits
Eradication doesn’t happen on one visit. Initially, the pest controller visits for a survey to decide on the level of infestation. They decide on an eradication plan and give a quotation. The second stage involves the treatment, which lasts from 1-4 hours depending on the number of rats, property size and amount of rat-proofing needed. Next, the contractor visits to remove dead rats and reset the poison traps. Typically, extra visits cost £50-£70 each or £25-£35/hr.
3. Property Size
Your property size significantly affects the initial quotation. For example, extermination in a smaller property costs less than in a large home. Usually, the reasons are fewer rats, and it’s easier to access the infestation and eradicate it. In contrast, larger homes have areas that are difficult to reach, especially in old buildings with more hiding places.
4. Infestation’s Location
Is the rat infestation in the house, outbuilding, or garden? Generally, rats are easier to clear if they’re outside or in an outbuilding. Then, a contractor can use specialist equipment to attract the rats, and they can set traps.
Treating the rats inside the house can be tricky because they hide under flooring, in ceilings, lofts and walls. Therefore, needing more labour-intensive treatment. Any operation not included in the original quotation will increase the rat removal prices.
5. Infestation’s Severity
An extensive rat infestation takes more time and materials to treat, resulting in a higher initial cost and more subsequent visits.
6. Eradication Method
All rodent control specialists use various methods on your infestation; some cost more than others. For example, humane traps and deterrents won’t kill the rats but will scare them away. In contrast, exterminating the entire colony using poison costs more because of the increased labour and chemical purchase. Therefore, expect the eradication method to affect the cost.
7. Additional Pest Problems
Unfortunately, the conditions that attract one pest often attract other types, such as cockroaches. Therefore, expect other problems in your home besides rats and mice. Rodenticide won’t affect cockroaches or ants, and the contractor must use different methods to clear your entire house. Usually, it’s necessary to treat other pests simultaneously, which will significantly increase the cost.
8. Your Location
Labour costs in rural areas can be £4-£8/hr cheaper than equivalent occupations in urban areas. Furthermore, labour in London and the Southeast is significantly higher than elsewhere in the country, often by about 15-20%.
9. DIY vs Professionals
For a small infestation, use a DIY method. However, because rats multiply so quickly, most rat infestations are extensive. Therefore, choose a professional rat controller. The British Pest Control Association’s website has information on suitable contractors. Alternatively, use the form on this page.
10. Council Assistance
Some local councils provide pest control services or have a list of approved companies. Use the government’s pest control page for more information.
9 Residential Rat Control Methods
There are several methods of rat control that work. But by far, prevention is the best way to remove the rat population. That is, don’t encourage them in the first place. Sometimes, however, rats come onto your property for other reasons.
Let’s look at the two most popular ways to control rats, followed by prevention methods.
The most popular method of rat control is to use spring-activated traps. The commonest are humane traps where the rodents are trapped inside a cage and released into the wild, away from human habitation. Alternatively, other traps kill the rat upon entering. However, traps are ineffective if you have a large infestation.
2. Poisoned Bait
For an extensive infestation, use a rodenticide. This is bait laced with poison. The rat eats the bait and dies after a specific time. This time delay also allows the rat to carry the bait back to the nest for its young to eat the poisoned food. Usually, a box or pipe with a rat-sized hole safely contains the poisoned bait. But, keep children and pets away from it, in case they touch a poisoned rat.
3. Fill Cracks And Holes
Rats can squeeze through holes as small as 12-15mm. Therefore, filling all potential entry points in walls or roofs is essential.
4. Trim Vegetation
In the wild, rats often live in trees and vegetation out of sight of predators. Or, they use them to climb into your home. Therefore, trim trees that touch your property and cut back ivy that grows on walls.
5. Keep Bins Closed
Rats are scavengers and eat almost anything. Therefore, don’t allow bin bags with domestic waste to pile up unprotected. Also, keep the lid on your outside bin at all times.
6. Remove Garden Clutter
All wild animals search for nesting sites. Therefore, remove all outside clutter and tidy up your garden, so there are fewer rat nesting places.
7. Seal Doors And Windows
Install weather strips to external doors and windows to block gaps where rats might enter the house.
8. Put Food Away
Human and pet food attracts scavenging rats into your home. Therefore, don’t leave unprotected food on the worktops. Also, lift and dispose of uneaten pet food after your pet has finished with it.
9. Use Airtight Containers
If you aren’t careful, rats will smell food from many metres away. So, store edibles in airtight containers made of metal or plastic.
Rat infestations are a significant hygiene risk. Also, they carry diseases and can cause electrical fires when gnawing through insulated wires. This guide covered the various signs that suggest a rat infestation. Now it’s up to you to call a professional to deal with the problem. The easiest way is to complete the form on this page, and you’ll receive up to four local rat removal quotes to compare.