With the cold weather sweeping in, it’s a popular time for rats to seek shelter and warmth inside your house. Unfortunately, rats are among the worst houseguests you could have. Beyond the noise and smells, they contaminate your food – spreading germs and serious disease. They are also infamously skilled gnawers, chewing their way through walls, timber, insulation and electrical wiring, which could potentially start a fire.

To avoid the stress of having rats plague your house this winter, we have put together our top 7 recommendations from our rat control experts.

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Why do rats come inside during winter?

The cold weather makes it more difficult for rats to survive outside for many reasons.

Firstly, as warm-blooded mammals, rats favour weather that is between approximately 18-26 degrees Celsius to regulate their body temperature. With the mercury dipping far below that temperature in an Adelaide winter, it’s no wonder a warm home is so appealing for them.

The harsh outdoor conditions also make it much harder for rats to find food and scavenge for meat, fruit and vegetables. 

Since your house provides plenty of warmth, food and shelter, it’s easy to understand their desire to come inside and make themselves right at home.

Problems caused by rats inside homes

With a combination of large, sharp teeth and constant gnawing, a rat infestation has the potential to cause extensive damage to your home if left unchecked.

They can chew through timber and damage your walls, then pull apart the insulation to make nests. This can inadvertently introduce an additional entry point for other pests and further compound the problem.

When scurrying around your air vents, rats may leave behind their waste, resulting in an unpleasant odour and germs circulating around your home. By creating this unhealthy atmosphere, you and your family may become susceptible to allergies and other illnesses. If the problem is particularly severe, you will start to notice their droppings inside your home – contaminating surfaces, kitchen utensils and even your food.

Rats have sharp nails which are useful for burrowing in soil and when they are active underneath the foundations of your home, this can undermine the structural support. They can also cause to damage underground pipes and cables in that same location.

Be aware that rats are known to chew through electrical wiring, in some cases starting a fire.

Worried about rats in your home? Our experts are ready to help you now.


Tip 1. Seal entry points

Rats can squeeze inside surprisingly small openings – as tight as a few millimetres wide. With further assistance from their sharp claws and teeth, they can even penetrate through tough materials such as timber.

That’s why it’s important to regularly inspect your home for potential entry points and keep them well covered, protected and reinforced where necessary.

If you notice any gaps that are large than a quarter of an inch, they can be covered with wire mesh, sheet metal, steel wool, or hardware cloth.

Here are some suggestions for protecting vulnerable access points:

  • Install mesh or screens over vents, chimneys and water tank openings
  • Fit weather-strips at the bottom of each exterior door and around windows where there are gaps
  • Install a metal kickplate on your door if you notice gnaw marks

    Tip 2. Use natural rat deterrents

    Strong smells can sometimes to keep rats away by causing irritation to their sensitive noses and airways. You can try spreading peppermint oil, cloves, black pepper and cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your home and possible entry points.

    Tip 3. Maintain your backyard

    Excess vegetation provides rats with access to your home as well as more potential hiding places. Since they’re good at climbing and balancing, you’ll want to avoid giving them more opportunities to find their way inside. Here’s how:


    • Trim foliage such as tree branches, shrubs, hedges, bushes, climbing vines and creepers so there is a clear perimeter around your home
    • Mow lawns regularly
    • Dispose of fallen fruit and vegetables
    • Remove piles of organic matter
    • Remove backyard clutter such as piles of leaves and fallen tree branches

    Tip 4. Manage waste properly

    The strong smell of decomposing food and waste is an attractant for many pests, so it’s important to remove waste as soon as possible and/or properly store it. To practice good waste management, we recommend that you:


    • Regularly empty all rubbish bins
    • Keep your home and yard clear from rubbish
    • Ensure bins have tight fitting lids
    • Avoid putting animal products in the compost
    • Keep food scraps in a sealed compost bin
    • Keep your compost heap in a sealed container

    Tip 5. Remove clutter inside and outside

    Rats can easily find places to hide, breed and nest in less frequented parts of your property. It’s helpful to check these areas carefully on a regular basis and keep them tidy.

     Some favourite hiding places for rats and other pests include green waste, old furniture, cars, appliances and other hard waste items. Make sure to remove these on a regular basis.

     If you are storing wood piles, firewood or stacks of bricks, ensure that there is at least 30cm clearance above the ground and away from walls.

    Tip 6. Use rat baits, traps and poison with caution

    There are a range of rat traps, baits and poisons that are commercially available and can easily be purchased from your local hardware store.

     We strongly recommend that you use these products with caution as they can be toxic and dangerous if not used or prepared properly. If you are unsure about how to safely use them, contact Allstate and speak to a pest control technician for professional advice.

     For rat prevention inside the home, you can use cage traps that are safe to be around children and pets.

     Baits and poisons are only able to be used safely outdoors, because they can easily be spread and cause danger to people and pets. For this reason, they must be positioned in out of reach areas.

     Remember not to tamper with the bait station to ensure that the rat bait stays secure within.

    Need to get rid of rats? Our expert team are ready to help you now


    Tip 7. Call the rat control professionals

    While there are several ways to deter rats from entering your home, sometimes they are simply not enough.

     You may already have a significant outbreak with many rats involved, or you have been unable to address the root cause of the problem. Many people simply don’t want to go through the hassle of DIY control and have the professionals handle it for them.

     Professional rat control is the safest and most reliable way to keep rats out of your home all winter long.

     At Allstate, our pest control technicians are highly trained to provide safe and permanent solutions to get rid of rats for good.

     Your technician will begin by conducting an inspection of your property to identify entry points, runways and nesting sites. We always look for the source of the outbreak and provide advice on how you can reduce the risk of attracting rats to your home in the first place.

     We’ll then strategically position tamper-proof bait stations and traps around your property to eradicate the rats, with regular monitoring and replenishment as needed.

    Speak to the rat prevention experts

    Since 1986, Allstate has provided rat prevention and elimination services to homes and businesses across Adelaide. Our licensed and experienced technicians know how to get rid of even the worst of rat problems, and keep them from coming back.

    24/7 emergency pest help

    Our emergency pest control means you can count on us for any urgent problems.

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    All of our services come with a 100% money-back guarantee. We also have interest-free payment plans available so that you can get your pest issue treated straight away.

    Speak to a rat elimination expert today