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Information and Advice about Rat Control


Fact Sheet: Common Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)

Common rat, Rattus Norvegicus (Norway, sewer or brown rat)

The common rat has only been recorded in Britain since early in the 18th Century. It is thought to have been introduced in shipping from Russia. It is now by far the more abundant of the two rat species and is widely distributed in both urban and rural areas. It occurs both indoors, and outdoors away from human habitation, and is the species often associated with sewer systems.

Ship rat, Rattus rattus (roof or black rat)

The ship rat probably originated in south-east Asia and was thought not to have reached western Europe until the Middle Ages. Although once the dominant rat species in this country, the ship rat is now rare and confined mainly to port areas. It may, however, occasionally be found in some inland towns, especially those linked to ports by canals, and its range probably continues to contract. In Britain it lives
only indoors.

General information

Rats are a major hazard to health. They spread many forms of disease, some of which, such as Weil's Disease, can be fatal to humans. Rats may eat food that is intended for human consumption, and they often cause damage to much more, which must then be discarded. They also cause considerable structural damage to woodwork, water pipes, electric cables, etc., through gnawing. 
Rats can be found anywhere that offers shelter and food - including sewers. They are efficient burrowers and favour compost heaps and the ground underneath hedges and sheds where they will dig shallow burrows and form nests with dry grass and leaves. In houses they will nest in wall cavities and beneath floorboards. Both species of rats are active mainly at night, but may be seen in search of food and water during the day. 
The life expectancy of the rat is around one year, during which time a female rat will typically breed five times, producing a litter averaging between seven and eight each time. Breeding usually occurs throughout the year but especially in the spring and autumn. 

Signs of rat activity 


  • Chewing or gnawing of fallen fruit or other food sources
  • Burrowing or displacement of loose soil
  • Gnawing on timber at the base of doors, sheds and outbuildings


  • Droppings (approximately 1-2cm in length)
  • Chewed food, food packaging or soap
  • Displaced fruit and vegetables
  • Chewed carpets or floor coverings at the base of doors

Control methods

The ability of rats to burrow, climb and jump make them difficult to control, and you may need professional help to deal with an established colony. 
Early or lighter infestation, however, can be addressed in various ways:

1. Baiting

The PCP UK range includes poisons identical to the ones used by professional pest controllers. These products are designed to be highly attractive to rodents specifically, but care should always be taken to place baits where they cannot be accessed by pets or children. The result of many years of research and development, rat baits do not result in an instant kill, but their effects ensure that the rat is as dehydrated as possible, to minimise any smell caused by the cadaver. 

An all-natural alternative rodent bait is Eradirat, which contains absolutely no toxic ingredients, and as such eliminates the risk of poisoning predators which may feed on rats, such as birds of prey. This method also causes extreme dehydration to the rodents, leading them to retreat to their burrows, where they lapse into a coma and die. 
Rodent baiting guidelines

For most effective control, the baits must be the primary food source available to the rodent. 

  • Clear away all other food sources from the area to be treated. 
  • Foodstuffs should ideally be contained in metal, glass, ceramic or hard plastic.
  • Bait all areas where rodent activity is seen - particularly along runs and around holes
  • Keep bait dry, as wetting may reduce effectiveness
  • Continue to bait until rodent activity has completely ceased
  • Always carefully read the label and any other information materials supplied with the baits

2. Traps

Large, robust rodent traps, such as the Power Cat, can make short work of most rats, and also make it easy to locate and dispose of cadavers.

For a humane, non-lethal alternative, the rat cage trap allows rodents to be caught without harming them, for later release.

3. Repellers

Electromagnetic repellers are a completely humane alternative, which can be effective in deterring rats from taking up residence within a home or premises. The range available from pestcontrolproducts is especially selected for high standards of effectiveness. In order to harness the power of electromagnetism against rodents, it is essential to carefully read and follow the instructions supplied.