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What happens if you disturb a rat’s nest?

“You are never more than 6 feet away from a rat” may be an urban legend. Still, it is estimated that approximately 3.5 million rats live in the UK, according to environmental and wildlife experts. So, what happens if you disturb a rat’s nest?

It is bad enough if you spot a single rat scurrying along but realising you have an infestation is a significant threat to any home or business. Rats live in large groups with their nests hidden away.

Unfortunately, a rat infestation will increase the risks of spreading diseases, health issues and property damage.

This article explores what to do if you discover and disturb a rat’s nest. It will show why calling out professional pest controllers is sensible to remove the problem and look at ways to prevent future rat infestations.

What to do if you disturb a rat nest?

If you come across a nest, you can be fairly sure that rats will live there. Whether inside your home, garden or business premises, you have a problem.

The problem with a nest is that the population of rats living there will be significant, and there may be more than one nest.

Removing a rat’s nest is not something that can easily be carried out yourself. It will take more than setting a few traps to eliminate the issue. It is far better to call a professional pest control firm for help.

Why is a rat’s nest such a big problem?

What happens if you disturb a rat’s nest? Discovering a rats’ nest is a problem because it signifies that you have rats living there. If the nest is in your home, garden or premises, you will have a rat infestation.

A rat infestation is a serious pest control issue with implications for your health, employee health and public health.

Here are some reasons why a rats’ nest is a major issue.

  • The size of the rat population

The population size will depend on the type of rat. The Brown rat has 5 to 15 rodents per nest. There have been as many as 100 in a single nest in some cases.

Indoor nests are usually restricted to between 5 and 10 rats; however, you may find a colony with multiple nests made up of mature and young rats.

  • Rats Breed quickly

Each female rat can produce up to 40 babies per year. Their short reproductive cycle means they can conceive within 48 hours of giving birth.

A small infestation can grow into a large colony quickly if not adequately dealt with.

  • Rats are loyal to their home

Once rats have established a nest, they will often return even if it has been disturbed. They choose their homes wisely, and once they have taken the trouble to set them up, they will usually stay put.

  • Danger to Health and Property

Rats are destructive and cause lots of damage by chewing and burrowing. They carry many diseases that can affect human health, and they leave faeces and urine in the environment.

How do you recognise a rat’s nest?

A rat’s nest may look like a bird’s nest at first glance. Some will even be found in roofs.

Unlike a bird’s nest, they are not made of twigs and leaves. Instead, they are usually made from soft materials such as paper, card or cloth that the rats have found.

You are also likely to see visible burrows or holes in any overgrowth alongside the nest. You may notice a strong unpleasant smell.

If you are unsure whether the nest belongs to rats, you can hunt for other signs that you have an infestation. Rats like to chew, and you may see electric cables, furniture legs, insulation or food packs that have visible chewed areas.

Rat droppings are quite distinct from mouse droppings as they are noticeable larger, about the size of a raisin.

Pets are often the first to be aware of rats. They may try to get to a nest or scratch around dark areas in the garden at night.

If you suspect you have a rat’s nest, it is worth clearing out any clutter and looking for gaps where they could enter your property. It is vital to seek help from a professional early to prevent the problem from getting bigger.

Where will you find a rat’s nest?

Rats nest both inside and outdoors. They like to be near a food source as they generally only travel between 300-500 feet from their nest.

Rats will build a nest at any time of year. In the summer, they prefer to forage for food outside, but they are drawn inside in winter. They may build a burrow between the inside and outside of a property.

  • Outdoors

The two things rats prefer are shelter and food. They find areas where they will not be easily found or disturbed.

Rats often make their nests near buildings or sheds with plenty of overgrown vegetation to hide them. They often seek out rubbish bins or vegetable patches where they can find a plentiful supply of food.

You may spot holes near a rat’s nest about 2-5 inches deep.

  • Indoors

Indoors, rats may make a nest in a loft or inside cavity walls. Warehouses are another place with plenty of dark corners and containers to hide in.

Rats will often choose to be close to food and water, so near kitchens or staff rooms is a common location.

You may notice holes gnawed out as an entrance in a wall. As they only come out after dark, you may be unaware of their presence until long after they have grown in population.

What should I do if I disturb a rat’s nest?

Rats are aggressive rodents that can bite or attack if provoked. As they carry diseases it is best to leave them alone and seek professional help. If you come across a suspected rat’s nest, it is crucial not to disturb it.

Rats are unlikely to leave the nest without treatment and control provided by a pest controller.

How can I remove a rat’s nest?

You cannot remove a nest until you have eliminated all the rats. Depending on the situation, this can be done by using traps or poison.

Once you are confident that all the rats are gone, you begin to remove the nest. Indoors it is essential to ventilate the room adequately to ensure you are not exposed to pathogens that can cause disease.

First, you must use bleach to clean and sanitise the nest. Protective gear must be worn during this process.

The surrounding areas should also be treated with bleach to remove any bacteria or pathogens that have contaminated the space. The nest can be placed into a thick contractor bag and put in an outdoor bin.

Thoroughly clean the area with disinfectant to ensure it is left thoroughly sanitised. Dispose of protective and cleaning materials in the outdoor bin.

It isn’t easy to eliminate all the rat population and remove the nest safely, especially if it is in an awkward area. Professional pest controllers have training and experience to ensure they do the job correctly.

It is best to put in place prevention measures to ensure you do not get another infestation by clearing clutter, sealing waste bins, and blocking up holes and gaps where rats have entered the property.

At EWS Group, prevention and pest control is our core business. Our trained specialists will take care of your rodent infestation and implement recommendations to ensure your property remains rat free.