Malum Pest Control Services

How to Get Rid of a Rats Nest

how to get rid of a rats nest
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    Finding a stray rat running inside of your home or business is bad enough, but there is a greater threat to consider if you have a rat infestation to deal with. Rats typically live in large groups subject to the conditions inside of a dwelling that has easy hiding spots for a rat’s nest. A rat infestation can cause significant damage to a home or business as well as the threat of diseases and the health risks associated with an infestation.

    So, how do you get rid of a rat’s nest? It is important to remove the rats in the dwelling before you attempt to get rid of a nest. Professional pest control is the best solution for rat nest removal since traps can take a long time to remove all present rodents. The nest should be removed and the area thoroughly cleaned to prevent the spread of viruses.

    This article will address if you have found rat nests in your home or business and the steps you can take to eliminate nests with professional pest control services. Additionally, this guide will cover the steps you can take to prevent unsightly and dangerous rat infestations in your home in the future.

    What to Do if You Find a Rat Nest?

    If you find a nest, more often than not, this means that rats are likely living inside of your home. There are a few options you can utilise when discovering a nest, with pest control being the optimal choice, but if you decide to try DIY efforts, the first step is to remove the rats.

    Traps are the best way to do this and make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure the rodents can access the food on the traps. Once the rodents have been removed, you can take the necessary steps to remove the nest and thoroughly sanitise the area.

    How Do You Know if You Have a Rats Nest?

    First thing first, you want to make sure you’re dealing with rats. If you have rats, you may notice things being chewed, such as electrical cords, wooden furniture, insulation, and food packaging. You might see a big ball of fluffy up material that the rats are using as a nest. You may see rat droppings, especially near areas you believe the rats frequent; rat droppings are larger than those of mice and about the size of raisins.

    If you have a dog or cat, you might see them behaving strangely near certain places: barking, meowing, or pawing, trying to get to where the rats may be hiding. You also might hear the rats moving around your home at night, it will sound like light skittering or scratching. If you notice any of these signs, you should take action immediately to prevent the rats from becoming an even larger problem and causing potential damage or illness.

    A nest will sometimes look like a bird’s nest, but instead of leaves and twigs, a black rat or Norway rat nest will typically incorporate any soft material that can be found around the home, such as paper products, cardboard, and even shredded cloth. A roof rat nest can commonly be mistaken for birds, therefore, it’s important to inspect the nest to make sure it is made from products that are available around your home.

    Check any sheds or outside buildings for possible rat hiding spots, and clear them of any clutter. Check around the outside of your home for possible access points that rats could enter by, remembering that a rat can fit through a gap as small as one inch, so be sure to check for gaps under doors, and chinks in bricks. You can buy flexible seals to put under doorways to help prevent rats from entering.

    Rat burrows or holes are also clear indicators of rats in the area and these burrows can sometimes be found in overgrown areas around the home or garden. A rodent nest may also have a strong, pungent odour that fills the surrounding area.

    Do Rats Return to the Same Nest?

    Rats will return to the same nest as long as the nest has not been disturbed; however, most rats will continue to return to the same nest even if it has been disturbed. This is because rats are both territorial and stubborn in equal measure; rodents take many careful steps to set up residence inside a home or business so they will not just immediately leave a nest in areas that are providing what they need to survive.

    How Far Do Rats Travel From Their Nest?

    Depending on where the nest is located, rats and rodents, in general, can travel upwards of 300 to 500 feet to search for food. Rats can travel much further if they are food insecure and not finding food as easily as they may have been previously. This can be a common occurrence for homeowners who have begun the process of rodent treatment that flushes the rats out further to find food.

    Typically, rats will prefer not to travel too far from the nest and may decide to make their nest behind kitchen walls or other areas with easy access to food and water.

    Where Do Rats Nest?

    Understanding where rats typically nest is important as this can provide crucial prevention measures in the future when inspecting for nests. Rats can nest both indoors or outside in garden areas, so let’s explore both.

    In Gardens

    For rats that live outdoors, nests will typically be near buildings or sheds around the property and overgrown areas. It is also no uncommon to find nests near rubbish bins or in places throughout a garden that features edible foliage. You can usually find outdoor nests in the garden by looking for holes in the ground between 2-5 inches deep.

    If there are areas outdoors that harbor food waste, such as rubbish bins, the holes will typically be not too far away from the food source. Buildings like sheds or outdoor storage bins provide shelter for outdoor rats to safely build their nests without too much interference.

    Inside Homes

    Inside the home, rodents will usually make their bedding in the loft or inside of the cavity walls which can usually be found by discovering a hole in the wall. Rats are often found around the dark or cluttered areas of the loft and can sometimes grow in large numbers since homeowners do not frequent the loft as much as other areas inside the home.

    How Many Rats are in a Nest?

    The number of rodents inside a nest is based on a few different factors: the type of rat and how large and spread out the infestation is. The Norway rat, also known as brown rats, usually have the largest numbers with between 5-15 rodents to upwards of possibly 100 rodents subject to the conditions of the surrounding area and its size.

    A nest inside a home will usually feature roughly 5-10 rats but it needs to be understood that there can be multiple nests with multiple colonies of both young rats and adults.

    How to Remove a Rat’s Nest

    As mentioned, the rodents should all be removed before you start the process of removing the nest. Once this is done, the first step to take is to open all windows and doors inside of the home or building to get the toxins from the nest flowing out of the home. This is important since the moving around of the nesting materials will stir up the rodent pathogens into the air.

    You will then want to thoroughly clean and sanitise the nest directly. This can be done by pouring bleach directly onto the nest and allowing it to set into the materials left behind by the rodents. It is important to ventilate the room and to wear thick gloves and a ventilator mask due to the bleach and the pathogens in the nest.

    Mop the entire area with bleach to sanitise the walls and any passageways to destroy any diseases or viruses. If there are droppings present, soak the waste with the bleach for at least ten minutes before you attempt to remove the waste. The nest itself can be thrown away inside of a thick contractor bag that is tied down before being placed into an outdoor waste bin.

    Finally, go back over the entire area and even the outer walls or other common areas around the house or building with bleach and a powerful cleaner to sanitise the area one last time. Throw all cleaning supplies and gloves in the garbage outdoors.

    What time of year do rats nest?

    Rodents can nest inside of a house any time of the year, however, rats will typically move indoors during the colder months and then go outdoors during the warm summer months in search of easily available food. If your garden is filled with edible plants, indoor rodents may also create a burrow to move outside and inside with ease.

    What happens if you disturb a rat’s nest?

    If you find a nest, it is important not to disturb it. Rats can be aggressive when provoked and the pathogens that they carry can easily be transmitted to you through the air even if you do not touch the nest. The best course of action is to immediately contact a pest service provider to come out and look at the nest and assess the situation and the treatment plan necessary.

    How do you find a rat’s nest?

    Finding a nest can be difficult if the rodents have decided to build their nest behind walls throughout the house. You may have to rely on hearing the rodents to know if a nest is behind the walls; additionally, looking for rat holes around the walls is another way to assess if a rat nest may be present.


    If these nest removal methods are not working, or you simply do not want to deal with the hassle of trapping and disposing of rats, or of having poison on your property, contact Malum today to discuss your options for dealing with this potentially hazardous issue.

    Our pest control specialists will be able to get your rat problem under control with little effort on your part. We can also give you advice on how to control rats in the future. In fact, this is often the best course of action, because you can be assured of a solution, without risking the rat infestation getting out of control and the health hazards of a rodent nest making you sick.

    Picture of Dave Shilling
    Dave Shilling
    Dave is an expert pest control specialist and has been providing pest control services for over 10 years. His company Malum Southern Pest & Bird Control can deal with a wide range of pest problems and is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

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    We are experts in private and commercial pest control in Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex. If you think you have a problem with pests call us for a quote.

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