On a recent job in Abingdon near Oxford, we came across the normal signs of rat activity in a loft, so I though I would highlight the sort of issues we find and the danger lurking for the property and the owners.
We got a call from a pensioner who thought she had heard something in the loft and just wanted it checked out as neither her nor her husband could get into the loft anymore. On arrival, our suspicions of something were raised straight away – the distinct and definite smell of rats. You would think that we get used to this smell, but believe me the first tool we use on any inspection is our noses. Nothing smells like a rat.
First job, take a look in the loft. As the hatch was raised, the smell was over powering (on with the mask at this point). The sight that met us was an all to familiar one. Rat faeces everywhere, greasy trails of rat activity across the beams and then we saw the chewed wiring and insulation.
Most house fires are caused by shorting electrical circuits, mainly due to rodent activity. Furthermore, the risk of electric shock is a real possibility, so rather han continue with a detailed inspection, it is prudent to stop and retreat until the wiring is made safe. However most “sparkies” would never go in a loft with rat activity and rat poo everywhere, and I cant say I blame them.
So it is down to us to eliminate the problem, clear up the mess and then leave the electrician to do his job.
First and foremost, we need to determine the entry point of how did the rats get in the loft in the first place. On inspection, it soon became very clear. A house next door was empty and rats had dug under the footings and into the cavity, crossing over into this property via the roof space and sofits. Thankfully the owners of this property were known and we soon gained permission to seal the holes and continue our treatment of the problem.
It turns out that the old couple are partly deaf, and neither of them have a sense of smell, so it was not a surprise they did not know what was going on in the loft. The rest of the house was spotless and the garden was amazing, all planted out nicely etc.
Now the house has been made safe, the rats are all dead and this lovely couple can rest easy once more.
If you get a funny smell in your house, think about the loft and if it may have a rondent problem – then call Rapid Pest Control to get a survey and inspection done – it may save your house getting burnt down!