Rats, Mice and other pests


Rats carry diseases which are harmful to humans and pets.  They can also cause considerable damage to woodwork, water pipes and electric cables which can create a fire hazard and are expensive to repair. If you have rats in your home or business it is very serious. 

Signs of a rat problem

Rats are nocturnal and usually hide from humans, so the typical signs to look for in the home are listed below.

  • Scratching noises. Rats will make scratching noises that can easily be heard from within walls, under the floor, under decking and in attics. Listen for their scratching and rustling noises after dusk when rats are most active.

  • Droppings. You can usually find droppings around food sources like pet dishes. The droppings will be small, capsule shaped, black and glossy.

  • Grease marks. You may find these along beams and rafters (they are caused by a rat’s greasy fur) and gnawing marks on boxes and wiring. If you notice any of these signs, you probably have a rat problem and should contact a professional exterminator.

  • Distinctive smell. Rats leave an ammonia-like smell that will be particularly strong in enclosed areas (for example, under cupboards or in loft spaces).

  • Damage. Rats have teeth that grow continuously and gnaw on wood and plastic to keep them trim. Rats can even cause fires by chewing through cables.

  • Ripped food packaging. Rats will tear open all types of packaging to find food.

  • Nests. Rats build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper, plastic and fabrics.

  • Burrows. In gardens, rats will dig burrows, especially in compost heaps or under sheds. They will also build nests under garden decking.

Prevention tips

The best way to prevent rats is to deny them food, water and shelter. Unlike mice, rats need to drink water daily and they’ll eat just about anything.

There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting rats:

  • keep food in sealed containers

  • put rubbish bags in bins with fitted lids

  • keep the house and garden tidy – less clutter means fewer places to hide

  • put your pet’s food and water away at night – rats are most active at this time

  • seal any holes in the property such as gaps under external doors or around pipes


Mice can pose a risk to health and spread diseases. They can contaminate food with urine, droppings and fur and do significant damage to your home and furniture. Mice can be difficult to control because of the rate at which they breed. If you think you have a mouse problem, please contact us for professional help.

How to spot mice

The most common mouse found in the UK is the house mouse, which is brown or grey in colour.

Mice normally stay hidden during the day and go searching for food at night. They have flexible bodies which allow them to squeeze through tiny gaps.

Signs of mice include:

  • small, dark, cigarette shaped droppings

  • small mounds of urine (up to 4cm high) where body grease, dirt and wee has built up

  • a strong ammonia-like smell caused by their wee

  • dirty marks and footprints on walls or objects

  • scratching noises

  • gnawing on furniture

  • nests of shredded materials such as loft insulation and cardboard.

Prevention tips

There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting mice:

  • keep food in sealed containers

  • seal any holes in the property such as gaps under external doors or around pipes

  • cover air vents with wire mesh – this allows air to circulate but stops mice getting in

  • avoid plants growing up the side of your property – mice can use these to get onto roofs and as nesting sites

  • keep grass cut short to reduce their shelter and seeds for food


How to spot wasps and wasp nests

Wasps have black and yellow striped bodies and two sets of wings. They are small in size and can leave humans with a painful sting.

Wasp nests are normally difficult to spot. They are often hidden away in areas such as lofts and trees.

Signs of wasp nests include:

  • a stream of wasps entering and leaving one area
  • nests that look like they are made from paper – wasps use chewed wood pulp and saliva
  • nests built in sheltered spots with easy access to the outside

Difference between wasps and bees

The treatments available for wasps and bees are different.

Bees are an endangered species and a nest may only be removed if it poses a threat to people nearby. We do not offer a pest control service for bees, you should contact your local bee keeper from the Kent Beekeepers Association.

There a few ways you can tell the difference between wasps and bees:

  • wasps have much less hair on their bodies
  • wasps have three main body parts – the head, thorax and abdomen
  • only female wasps sting and can do so repeatedly
  • wasps do not usually fly around in a swarm – if you think you're seeing this, it's likely to be honey bees

Prevention tips

It’s almost impossible to try to prevent wasps from building nests.

There are some things you can do to reduce the chances of wasps being attracted to your property:

  • keep food in sealed containers
  • put rubbish bags in bins with fitted lids
  • clean up spillages as soon as they happen


If you have a bee swarm, or honey-bee nest, you may want to contact the Kent Bee Keeping Association they can put you in contact with a local beekeeper/swarm collector..

We are unable to help you with problems of foxes.

If you are having a problem with foxes in your garden or you have found a sick or injured fox, you can contact a charity specifically dedicated to foxes.

The Fox Project operates in Kent, Surrey, East Sussex and South East London. They operate a specialist fox deterrence and advice service which is effective and humane. They also provide care for sick and injured foxes.


Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • bites – often on skin exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)

Bedbug infestations can be very difficult to treat due to their ability to hide in inaccessible locations and emerge after treatment to re-infest an area. It is therefore recommended that you employ a professional pest contractor to treat an infestation. You can search for a Kent County Council Trading Standards approved contractor here. It is recommended you get several quotes for treatment as prices can vary. 

Further advice on bedbugs and other common pests can be found on the British Pest Control Association website here