Real Estate Blog

Dealing With the Surge in Rodent Population in the UK

The recent increase in rat and mouse populations caused major devastation nationwide. This boom isn't surprising to scientists - outbreaks like this one occurred regularly over the past century. The surge in rodent populations is largely due to heavy rainfalls that regularly cover the island.

With rat season at large, the UK is no stranger to increased rat and mouse sightings in people’s homes. According to data analysis by Fantastic Services, a trusted UK rat control service provider, rodents commonly enter people's homes during the winter months.

What caused rodents to show up more recently?

Two years ago, the COVID-19 lockdown forced urban rodents to seek food indoors. While they typically fed on restaurant garbage in larger cities, their primary food source suddenly disappeared following the lockdown, which is why many of these pests sought food in households.

With less human activity, rodents had better breeding grounds, which resulted in larger offspring and a spike in the rodent population. Fantastic Services' analysis shows an increased number of calls for mice and rats during the winter months of 2021 and 2022.

Should you try to control rodents yourself?

Getting rid of rodents is no easy task.

According to Neel Patel, one of Fantastic Services' top pest exterminators on the Australian market, baits that people can buy don't work 90% of the time. Customers who try to deal with pests on their own usually end up wasting time and money.

Disease spreading

Rats and mice carry dangerous diseases such as Salmonella, Hantavirus, LCMV, Tularemia, Plague, and Rat Bite Fever. While none of these diseases is fatal, it's best to avoid them whenever possible. To do so, avoid touching or eating anything that comes into contact with the rodents.

If you find a dead rat or mouse in your home, call professional help immediately. Although the pest may have died for a different reason, not taking chances is a good practice during these times.

If you need to get rid of it yourself, put on gloves, an FFP1 mask, goggles or glasses, and cover your hair in case, there are flies. Place the creature in a container and send the body to a lab to find out if there are diseases.

It's best not to try and dispose of the body yourself, even if you can burn it. If you get bit, go to the hospital immediately. Do not disregard the severity of the situation - knowing early can be the difference between life and death.

Keeping rats away

To keep rats away from your property, one of the most important things you can do is to keep it clean:

  • Trash should be enclosed and kept away from your home.
  • Do not leave food outside your refrigerator or in the open.
  • Don't leave food to cool down overnight.
  • Check your home regularly for cracks and holes, which are perfect places for rodents to find shelter and build nests.
  • Keep your yard and garden well maintained - there shouldn’t be any clutter.
  • Try not to give rats and mice hiding places - this will discourage them from entering.

Having a cat might work in some cases, but cats today are not mainly well known for their hunting instincts, especially when their survival needs are met daily.

Keep in mind that having rat infestations nearby can make it harder to sell your property fast until the issue has been solved.

How to get rid of rodents

If rodents have gained a foothold in your home, it's time to take out the big guns.

You can find many DIY mouse traps on the internet, but the biggest problem isn’t catching or killing them - it’s the proper disposal of their bodies. Simply throwing it away will only make the problem larger. Unlike squirrels, rats are notoriously difficult to deal with.

Whether you use dry ice, traps, poison or any other method (note that all of them are extremely dangerous for you, your family and especially your pets), you need to have an action plan.

Burning dead rodents is dangerous for both you and your neighbours, and if authorities catch a drift, you will receive a hefty fine at best. Calling a professional rat controller is among the best things you can do. They will give you directions about disposing of the body.

Getting rid of the residual smell

Unsurprisingly, dead bodies leave foul smells, so cleaning the area where you killed or found the dead rodent is a must. With rats and mice, the problem is double, as the location should be considered contaminated.

So before you do anything, you must cover as much of your skin as possible and always wear gloves.

Also, be sure there is a lot of fresh air, so open as many windows and doors as possible.

  1. The first course of action is to remove the leftovers from the rat. Get a cloth or paper towels and clean the juices, fur and blood.
  2. After you're done, generously cover the area with an enzyme cleaner and leave it to work for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the enzymes to disintegrate all biological matter left in the body.
  3. Next, wipe the area and disinfect it. If the animal has died on any kind of fabric, either wash it at a very high temperature or burn it if you don't need it.

When you're in doubt

If you're not confident in what you're doing, it's best to call a professional. They will not only dispose of and clean after but will ensure no more rodents are in your home.

"It's better to spend money and get results in the first go rather than wasting money on different domestic baits that won't work," says Neel Patel, one of Fantastic Services' top pest exterminators in the UK.


  • The COVID-19 lockdown, combined with rainy weather, forced rodents indoors.
  • This resulted in higher breeding and offspring.
  • Rats and mice help spread dangerous diseases.
  • Exercise caution and avoid contact with their bodies.
  • Keep rodents away by adopting several hygienic and decluttering habits.

And remember, if you're not confident in what you're doing, it never hurts to seek advice from a professional pest expert.

More to Read: