What is the best way to get rid of rats?

What is the best way to get rid of rats?

Of course it is possible to obtain materials to try and tackle rats yourself, however, this isn’t recommended for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there’s no substitute for experience and expertise, for example, knowing to fix down bait stations so they’re not a danger to children, pets or wildlife. Most laypeople won’t know what to look for when trying to get rid of rats, such as burrows, potential building entry points, smear marks, rat hair, imprints in the ground, droppings etc. To be able to identify these signs and know what kind of pest they relate to takes a good base knowledge of pest control.

If using bait to get rid of rats it’s worth noting this contains potentially dangerous chemicals which can be harmful not only to yourself but also children, pets and local wildlife. While you can purchase bait from high street stores the bait which is readily available to the general public will not be as effective as materials pest control companies use which are specially made for professional use.

Rats carry lots of diseases and trying to treat them yourself is not advisable from a health and safety perspective for you or your family. In order for a rat treatment to have maximum effect, preventative measures, such as sealing up entry and exit points, need to be put in place to stop the rats returning – just addressing the current infestation will not provide a long term solution.

The reasons behind rat infestations can be multiple, things such as disturbance due to building works can create new nesting opportunities for rat families, a nearby infestation can spill over into your property or damage to the drainage system can allow rats access to previously unavailable areas. Rats also need a water source (e.g. a pond), a food source (e.g. bird seed) and shelter (for example, a shed, or house).



Here’s how some well-known companies would go about getting rid of rats…


Covering most of the UK through their franchise network, Pestforce are the most reviewed pest control company. Pestforce recommend a three to four visit programme to get rid of rats. This includes placing bait boxes in and around the area where the rats have been spotted. The timing of these three to four visits will depend on how much bait has been eaten from each visit but they will usually be one to two weeks apart.

Pestforce do not offer any advice on how to proceed when there are children/pets at the property, but do have a blog on their website regarding rat facts, identifying a rat problem and how to deal with it:



Also a nationwide firm, operating for 90 years and with 40 branches, Rentokil go straight in with an annual contract proposal following an initial, weekly knock down program. The contract consists of four routine visits a year for inspections of rat activity and an un-capped amount of return visits are included if rodent activity is found. Ad-hoc call outs are also included between the hours of 8am – 11pm any day if rat activity is suspected.

Rentokil will install fixed-down external bait stations which will keep the bait safe away from non-target species.

As an alternative to the annual contract, Rentokil offer a four week knock down programme which is one visit per week. On the first visit they set up and secure bait stations around the garden, then the other visits will be to top up the bait. If the indoor area needed to be treated too, this would constitute a different treatment programme.

However, they strongly advise customers to go for the annual contract because that’s the best way of getting the rat problem under control due to the fact that they can return at any point. The Rentokil website mentions the risks of poison to children/pets/wildlife and has a section on how to prevent rats (including secure storage of food sources etc.):



A company focussing on overall risk reduction, Contego offer a call out inspection as an initial assessment of the rat issue. This would involve a technician coming out to the property, surveying the area, seeing where they think the rats are coming from (any entry points). After which the technician may recommend a “riddance programme” which is one visit per week, for three weeks using a combination of traps and/or rodenticide.

This treatment would only address the current infestation but proofing is mentioned. They cannot guarantee that the infestation won’t come back however, strongly recommended removing any food sources to protect against this. One of the FAQs on their website relates to the effects of pest control treatment on children/pets:


Able Group

Founded in 1993 as an emergency maintenance service, they cover locksmiths, plumbing, drainage, electrics, gas and heating work and pest control. Able suggest a two stage treatment to get rid of rats. The first visit would involve laying of cereal bait (rather than traps) and the second would be to clear up the bait and remove any dead bodies.

They explain that the cereal bait wouldn’t affect any wildlife or pets but do not mention proofing. There is mention of children and guidance on the treatment/post-treatment on their website:



Pestokil consider themselves the UK’s largest independent pest controller and have been trading since 1985. They offer an initial assessment of the issue to see if there’s evidence of rat activity. If activity is seen they will lay bait or snap traps. Whether they choose to use bait or snap traps will depend on their assessment of the situation.

After the initial visit, they will return two to three more times, between four and seven days apart. If any rats are seen inside the property they may treat them at the same time (if only a couple), however, if there are a lot of animals inside there would be additional charges to address the issue.

They claim that these three or four visits will get rid of the problem although the website does mention proofing and other control methods:


JG Pest Control

A family-run pest control business covering London, the Midlands, North West and the South. JG  recommend three visits, spread over three weeks, to get rid of rats. Over the course of these visits they would check the outside area to assess where the access points are and put down bait stations.

They advise that they wouldn’t put traps down in a garden as they wouldn’t be effective and you don’t know what’s going to come into contact with them. They also advised that pets/children should be kept an eye on and that all potential food sources for the rats should be removed.

If there is still activity, JG suggest getting back in touch after three weeks and they’ll undertake another treatment cycle. This approach is only to treat the current infestation – although they do mention proofing on their website, this is not offered initially.


PGH Pest Prevention

Surrey-based, but with franchises across the UK, PGH Pest Prevention would recommend a three stage treatment then proofing of any access points to get rid of rats for good. On the three visits the following would take place:

Visit 1: Technician Survey:-

Over 30 checkpoints are investigated both inside and outside of the property and a detailed report  will be produced with the findings and recommendations (taking into account whether there are children/pets at the property).

Any treatments for smells associated with rodents or inaccessible decaying bodies would be advised at this point but would constitute an additional call out and therefore cost. Details on what rodent proofing works could be put in place to protect the property will be given, proofing works are charged as extra but are guaranteed. Based on findings of the survey the treatment will then be started, this will use bait and/or traps depending on the situation.

Visit 2:

The technician will return 7-10 days after the initial visit. Any proofing works that have been accepted from the survey will be undertaken, the bait stations will be topped up and traps inspected and reset if necessary. Any accessible deceased rats will also be removed.

Visit 3:

The situation will be assessed to check the infestation is now controlled. If so, any accessible deceased rats will be removed as well as all bait stations and traps.

Although a common pest issue, rats pose a serious problem to both your property and your health; they can chew through furnishings and electrical cables, contaminate food sources and 50% of them carry the fatal Weils Disease plus other rodent-borne illnesses. They are also unhygienic, can create bad smells within your property and multiply at an alarming rate so it’s important to get rid of rats as quickly and effectively as possible. 


Choose a topic below for a range of articles, images and videos on all things relating to pest control and prevention and of course PGH Pest Prevention.

How much does it cost to get rid of rats?

How much does it cost to get rid of rats?

rat control & removal

Although a common pest issue, rats pose a serious problem to both your property and your health; they can chew through furnishings and electrical cables, contaminate food sources and 50% of them carry the fatal Weils Disease plus other rodent-borne illnesses. They are also unhygienic, can create bad smells within your property and multiply at an alarming rate so it’s important to get rid of rats as quickly and effectively as possible. 

The cost of getting rid of a rat colony can depend on many factors;

  1. The size of your property – larger properties with lots of outside space are likely to cost more to treat than smaller properties due to the increased time to survey them and put the traps/bait down, plus the greater amount of materials required during the course of the programme. The way this sliding cost scale is managed will vary from company to company – some may increase their price per bedroom whereas others will only charge more past a certain property size (usually determined by amount of bedrooms). Commercial properties and those with extensive grounds will also be priced differently – these costs will be bespoke. For simplicity, this article will focus on residential property rat treatment costs.

  2. The location of your property – this relates to the travel time to get to the appointment. Some companies will charge mileage if a customer’s property is over a certain distance away from their head office. It’s worth asking about this potential charge when booking a rat treatment programme.

  3. The size of your infestation – a serious infestation is likely to require more than the standard number of visits to get rid of the rats. Visits over and above what’s included in the original package booked will be charged extra, these extra charges will vary by pest controller so this is also something worth checking out.

  4. Location of the infestation within your property – most pest control companies will charge different prices for outside vs inside treatments, these prices will be company-specific but they should be able to explain to you what the prices are and the reasons for this. If the rats are inhabiting a hard to reach area, specialist equipment may be required to get to these places in order to treat the rats which can add cost.

  5. Time of the visit – some companies will offer an out of hours service for customer convenience. However, it’s important to note that if your visit is out of core business hours, it’s likely to be more expensive. Some providers will also charge a same-day call out premium.

  6. The pricing structure of the pest controller – some pest control companies will charge extra for materials, it’s advisable to ask whether materials are included when you receive a quote.

  7. If it’s a one off job or contract – generally ongoing pest control contracts will work out cheaper, per visit, than an ad-hoc treatment programme. For the sake of comparison, we will focus on ad-hoc treatments in this article. As a starter, most companies will offer a multiple stage treatment programme – these usually consist of two or three visits to your property. A contract is usually offered as an option if you are experiencing an ongoing rat problem.

  8. Whether proofing work is included – there are two elements to consider when getting rid of rats: 1. Treating the current issue and 2. Putting preventative measures in place to ensure the problem doesn’t return through proofing of the rat entry/exit points. Some pest controllers will include proofing in their treatment programmes, others won’t, but proofing is critical to ensure a long term solution to the problem.

We researched the cost to get rid of rats through some local, best-known and large pest control companies and the findings are below:


Covering most of the UK through their franchise network, Pestforce are one of the biggest pest control companies. They don’t have a price list online, however, we’re led to believe it costs £250 + VAT for a three visit external treatment including a survey of the area and baiting. This does not include any internal investigation and was for a programme which took place during working hours.



Also a nationwide firm, operating for 90 years and with 40 branches, Rentokil do not advertise prices online but research suggests it costs £400 + VAT for a “four week knock down program” to get rid of rats. This cost covers outside only and is related to a 3-bedroom semi-detached property although it’s not clear whether it includes proofing work.

There is no information about call out charges or out of hours works.


Fantastic Pest Control

A pest control franchise operating since 2012, Fantastic Pest Control offer various pricing options depending on property size and the intensity of the treatment. Prices start from £195 + VAT for a one bedroom property which includes “one major visit and one follow-up”. They also run a loyalty scheme called ‘Fantastic Club’ which entitles the customer to reduced prices. The highest price on website is for a three stage treatment in a three bedroom property at £290 + VAT.

The web page doesn’t detail if that treatment is outside, inside or both. However they do charge £50 extra for night jobs and minimum call out charges. Costs for properties larger than three bedrooms are individually tailored.


Catch-it Pest Control

London-based Catch-it Pest Control charge £310 + VAT for a two stage treatment within standard operating hours. This includes an internal and external assessment of the area, placing, checking and replenishment of bait stations and the blocking/sealing of potential entry points up to five inches wide (i.e. proofing). There’s no mention of how the size of the property might affect this price.



A company focussing on overall risk reduction, Contego charge between £180 – £300 + VAT for a three-part rodent riddance visit call out. They have a comprehensive cost piece on their website although it’s not clear how the size of the property or the call out time affects the price, also whether proofing work is included in that cost or not.


Countrywide Pest Control

A Surrey-based pest control firm, covering Guildford, Woking, Dorking, Weybridge, and Kingston. They charge £200 + VAT for a three-visit treatment including an area survey and putting bait down. It’s not specified whether the survey covers both inside and out and proofing work is not included. The property size is also not specified, and it’s unclear if there would be any extra charges for out of hours appointments.


PGH Pest Prevention

Also Surrey-based but with franchise units across the UK, PGH Pest Prevention offers a range of different treatment options, aiming to suit most budgets. An outside-only three visit treatment programme costs £225 + VAT. If it’s necessary to get rid of rats from both inside and outside a three-stage treatment costs £345 + VAT – this comes with a full survey and baiting of the drains. Any additional visits required after the first three will be at a cost of £86 + VAT per visit.

While a three stage treatment is recommended for maximum effect, if a pay-as-you-go option is preferred it costs £86 + VAT per visit, with a minimum of two visits covering both inside and out. However, this doesn’t include a survey or drain baiting which can make it likely that more follow-up treatments are required. This pay-as-you go option is aimed at those with smaller properties or those who don’t have an active infestation/aren’t sure if they have an active infestation.

If, for any reason, the visit takes more time than expected extra time is charged at £65 + VAT per hour. Overtime could be due to various reasons such as a larger infestation than is expected or a wider area to investigate and treat.

Charges are the same for all property sizes and types up to the four bedroom+ point – for a building of that size a free initial survey would be conducted and recommendations made prior to any treatment being carried out. If a property is outside of the business’ radius there may be an extra charge for mileage, this is assessed on a case by case basis.

There is a full price list on the website, all prices include materials and call out fees. A call out fee would only be charged in an instance where there is no work to be undertaken during the treatment visit, for example, if no activity is found by the technician the first time they go to site. There is a bank holiday/Sunday surcharge of £40 + VAT.

PGH Pest Prevention states that they specialise in preventative measures to ensure the problem does not come back and to reduce overall pesticide use and will therefore always offer customers a quote for additional proofing work. This quote will be bespoke to that specific client.

If your rat problem is in the sewers surrounding the property a CCTV survey costs £690 + VAT, and drain valves (which may be required as a result of the CCTV survey) cost £290 or £390 + VAT, depending on what size valve is necessary.   


Local councils

Most councils will offer pest control services to their residents, however these services will vary from council to council. Some provide a free control service for pests, other councils will simply provide advice or control for a fee.

Costs for a council rodent treatment vary quite widely across councils – some could be as cheap as £45 for two treatments (just baiting, no proofing work) and can go up to £134 for two treatments in central London.


The following pest control companies do not have any pricing on their website but ask visitors to either fill in a form or call to request a quote:

JG Pest Control



Although a common pest issue, rats pose a serious problem to both your property and your health; they can chew through furnishings and electrical cables, contaminate food sources and 50% of them carry the fatal Weils Disease plus other rodent-borne illnesses. They are also unhygienic, can create bad smells within your property and multiply at an alarming rate so it’s important to get rid of rats as quickly and effectively as possible. 


Choose a topic below for a range of articles, images and videos on all things relating to pest control and prevention and of course PGH Pest Prevention.



Super rats up to 20 inches long are invading British homes via toilets and drainpipes – is YOUR house at risk?

THEY say you’re never more than six feet away from a rat — but if you have plastic drainpipes in your home, you’re probably even closer.

Pest controllers are warning that millions of super-size disease-ridden rodents are scurrying into houses after gnawing through plastic drainpipes as temperatures plummet.

While traditionally drainpipes were made from cast iron, most modern drainpipes are plastic and pest control experts are warning that rats with razor sharp teeth can chew through them.

Although they normally live underground, rats go in search of food and warmth at this time of year – and houses across the UK are at risk of invasion as we face the coldest winter in 30 years.

Massive increase in rats this year

Peter Higgs, who runs PGH Pest Control in Surrey, says he’s seen a massive increases in the numbers of rats he’s found inside UK homes over the past few weeks – and says they can get into houses via holes as small as half an inch.

Horrifyingly, they can also get in through toilets via the sewage system – though this is rare.

“British homes are the perfect hunting ground for rats and we’ve noticed a massive, massive increase in the amount of them,” he tells us.

“Most carry Weil’s disease – which can be deadly to humans, so it’s very important to protect your home by cramming holes with filler and wire brushes where possible.

How to protect yourself against rats

  • Don’t leave any food out in your home

  • Ensure all outdoor bins are secured

  • Don’t leave bird food on the floor in the garden

  • Fill in all holes into and out of house with wire wool and cement

  • Keep pet food in sealed containters and remove all remnants from pet-feeding area

  • Don’t put any organic food waste on your compost heap

  • Fit strips to the bottom of doors that have more than half an inch gap

  • Keep toilet lids closed

  • Use rat deterrents like isotronic repellers which emits different frequencies of ultrasonic wave to irritate nervous system of insects and rats

  • Keep peppermint oil out – they hate the smell

“It’s absolutely going to get worse over the next few weeks and months – especially with so much rain.

“Rats need to drink a lot of water every day so they thrive in wet conditions like we’re seeing at present.

“Not only are there increased numbers of rats – the beasts are also much, much bigger this year due to phenomenal amounts of food waste and less frequent bin collections.

“Fortnightly collections mean rubbish is left out in the street which provides a ready food supply for rats.

“These super rats can be over 20 inches long from head to tail – that’s about the same size as the average domestic cat.

100 rats in the ceiling

These giant rats enter our homes through underground sewer systems when the weather turns colder.

Here, they eat human faeces and the flesh of other dead rats – but there’s not enough to go round, forcing the beasts to invade homes.

Pest controller Peter explains: “You’ve only got to have a small gap in your sewer system and they then crawl up through the toilet. So it’s a big, big problem.

“Just last week we were called to a house in London which had 100 rats living in the ceiling.

“The couple living there have had to leave with their three young kids while we take the ceiling down. It’s awful.”

Peter explains that anyone with plastic drains is at risk – as rats can chew threw them in minutes.

Because they spend so much time in filth, rats pose a threat to human health.

Chris Davis, Technical Manager of Cleankill Pest Control in London, said: “Usually they come from the sewers, so obviously there’s a potential to carry disease – Weil’s disease is the big one.

“It is a very nasty illness that causes jaundice and sickness. We have to be very careful and protect against it when we work in drains and things like that.

“Potentially it can be fatal, and it’s a very debilitating jaundice.”

What is Weil’s Disease?

Weil’s disease, also called Leptospirosis, is an infection spread in the urine of infected animals – most commonly rats, but also in pigs, cattle, and dogs.

  • Symptoms include a high fever, chills, sudden headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle pain – particularly in the calves and lower back, conjunctivitis, a cough and a short-lived rash.

  • It attacks the kidney and liver, before eating its way through your other organs.

  • People most at risk are those who work with or near animals, or near water. So farmers, vets, and butchers are at risk, along with pest controllers, sewer workers and people who take part in water sports.

If you develop a flu-like illness seven to 12 days after contact with fresh surface water or with rats, visit your GP and explain you may have been exposed to the disease.

And disease isn’t the only way that the vermin pests pose a threat.

They use their razor-sharp teeth to chew through wiring, which can lead to fire risks in buildings.

In one case, Peter was called to deal with a rat that’d chewed wiring under a car’s bonnet, immobilising the vehicle, before getting stuck.

And last year, computer salesman Robert Scriven was stunned to find a rat he’d caught escaped by chewing through the steel wiring of a trap.

But they’ll also chew through anything in your home to get to somewhere warm to nest or to find food to eat.

Rats’ teeth never stop growing and the rodents have to constantly gnaw strong materials to keep their gnashers sharp.

Incredibly, their teeth are harder than iron, meaning they can chew through copper pipes and even bricks.

Which comes in handy when they’re looking to find their way into houses.

Peter said: “A rat can get through anything bigger than half an inch.

“If the hole isn’t quite big enough, the rats will just chew it to make it bigger.”

This rat had chewed its way through a car’s wires, disabling the vehicle, before getting itself stuck
Credit: Peter Higgs

Keep them in the sewers

There are things you can do to deter rats from invading your house this winter.

One is to make sure no food is left lying around, particularly in bin stores, and that dustbins have lids that tightly close.

You should also check the outside of your home for holes around pipework and gaps in doors.

If there are gaps, you can plug them with wire wool or cement to keep the rodents at bay.

And you should also be wary of what’s going on in your garden too.

Chris said: “Be careful with what you put on your compost heap. Things like meat, bits of old bacon, that’s not a good idea as that’ll attract rats to the area.

“And be careful what you put out for the birds. Make sure it’s not too much food and it’s the birds that are eating it and not the rats.”

Pest controllers say now is the time when Brits should be most on-guard against rat infestation.


Choose a topic below for a range of articles, images and videos on all things relating to pest control and prevention and of course PGH Pest Prevention.

Protect your car from rodents

Rat Mat

Protect your car from rats

A revolutionary way to protect your car from rodents

The RatMat rodent deterrent is an innovative, humane and cost effective solution to protect property.

Engine wires are particularly susceptible to rodents as they chew through wires and take shelter under the hood of your motor vehicle. The RatMat tiles can be used as a long term solution to prevent rats and mice causing expensive damage to property such as motor vehicles and motorcycles. The RatMat is safe, scalable and transportable and doubles as a hard-wearing floor surface.

Using a similar method to an electric fence, the main safety feature of the RatMat is the low energy pulse it uses. This is dramatically less powerful than a standard electric fence.

Benefits and features:

  • Humane rodent deterrent

  • Safe, scaleable, transportable

  • Doubles as a hard-wearing floor surface

  • No tools needed – easy to fit together

  • Only one power source needed, regardless of the size

Buy rat mat online
Rat mat for your car

Tiles fit together to any size required

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A4 size warning sign

Rodent treatment from



Subject to site survey

Rodent Control Solutions

Rodents can cause:

  • Damage to buildings
  • Loss of customers for commercial premises
  • Risk of fines or imprisonment if you run a food business
  • Diseases and viruses which affect humans

Diseases rodents carry:

    • Arenavirus
    • Bartonellosis (Trench fever)
    • Capillariasis
    • Echinococcosis
    • Hantavirus
    • Leptospirosis
    • Rat bite fever
    • Salmonellosis
    • The Plague
    • Toxoplasmosis
    • Trichinellosis
    • Tularemia
    • Weil’s disease

Our process


Survey your premises and identify species, extent of your problem and issue you are facing with rodents.

Report and bespoke solution for commercial and large residential properties

A proposal with a bespoke solution and pictures .

Carry out the work

Deal with rodents humanely. Supply and install superior fixings or services to achieve your required results.

Service Report

Provide detailed report of service carried out.

PEST BEHAVIOUR Why your home is about to be invaded

PEST BEHAVIOUR Why your home is about to be invaded

The Sun Oct 2018

PEST BEHAVIOUR Why your home is about to be invaded by twice as many mice, maggots dropping from the ceiling and bedbugs you’ve brought back from your summer holiday

This year promises a bumper infestation of rodents thanks to the warm summer.

BRITISH homeowners should brace themselves for an invasion of deadly and disgusting critters as the cold weather sets in, pest controllers are warning.

This time of year is when swarms of rodents and insects look to escape the seasonal chill by seeking refuge inside warm homes… and this autumn is set to be one of the worst yet for rats, maggots and other skin-crawling creatures.

Last week, four London schools were shut for a month after becoming infested with false widow spiders – and only today we reported that a dad of two had been left with a 50p-sized hole in his leg after being bitten as he slept.

But it could be your home which is ripe for the next invasion, and it’s not just spiders who come looking for a warm refuge at this time of year.

Read the rest of the article here


Choose a topic below for a range of articles, images and videos on all things relating to pest control and prevention and of course PGH Pest Prevention.

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