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DIY Pest Control – Harder Than You Think

DIY Pest Control – Harder Than You Think

Pest control experts are warning members of the public against taking a DIY-approach to rodent control. Widespread council cost-cutting means many local authorities are now charging for services which were previously free. With the credit crunch continuing to bite, the UK’s biggest trade association for pest controllers, the NPTA, has reported an increased number of cases where homeowners or tenants attempt to eradicate their rat or mice problems themselves rather than calling a professional. However, the public are being warned against DIY pest control for various reasons.

For example:

  • Many rats and mice are already resistant to commonly-used poison baits, so people buying them would be wasting their money.
  • Rats and mice are clever creatures and naturally suspicious, so tend to quickly avoid many traps.
  • Poisons will sometimes kill more birds and general wildlife than pests due to members of the public failing to follow product instructions.
  • Professionals are often not as expensive as people think and will get the job done professionally, safely and efficiently.

DIY Pest Control Advice

The NPTA have produced the following advice for members of the public that are thinking of DIY pest control:

With austerity cuts in Local Authorities really starting to bite, one of the services that most have offered, that of rodent control, is being hit badly. Some have started to charge for what has traditionally been a free service, whilst others are opting out altogether simply advising the Public to get in a private company. Not surprisingly, when faced with this unexpected cost, many people turn to DIY. After all, whacking down a few baits or traps can’t be that hard….can it?

In fact, as anyone training to become a professional pest controller quickly finds out, there’s a great deal more to controlling rats and mice than this.

“They won’t eat the bait or go near my traps!”

Warning against DIY Rodent Pest Control

Rats are notoriously suspicious about any new objects placed in their environment, even new food sources. The technical term is ‘neophobia’ and it may take days, even weeks before a rat will try out your bait or fall into your trap. In the meantime, they could be gnawing through your electric wiring, water pipes or simply contaminating your stored food. And do you really want to share your property with these animals?

Mice are less suspicious, but can be incredibly fussy about what they will eat. You may have to go through several types of bait before you find one they’ll take. The correct placement of traps also takes some skill and experience to get results and you are unlikely to get all of them using traps alone. They too can cause considerable physical damage to your property in the meantime and carry more diseases transmissible to humans than most people realise. They may look cute, but the reality is different.

And don’t get me started about all the electronic repellers that are about. Professional pest controllers don’t use them for very good reasons….let’s leave it at that.

“I just seem to be feeding them with this bait!”


In some cases, that may very well be the case. Rats and mice are becoming increasingly resistant to the poisons that are available. There are parts of the country, particularly in central-southern England, where rats can no longer be controlled using the poisons you can buy off the shelves of DIY stores. You will simply be feeding these so-called ‘Super Rats’.

Mice too are increasingly difficult to control with certain poisons. But recognising that you have a problem and knowing what to do about it takes skill and experience.

“I don’t seem to be getting so many birds in the garden now – have the rats chased them off?”


No – more likely you’ve poisoned them. Pest controllers regularly report instances where people have not bothered to read the instructions on the bait they use and simply scatter it around where they last saw the rodents, often in areas which can be accessed by all sorts of ‘non-target animals’, such as cats, dogs, hedgehogs, birds – even small children.

The reality is that rat and mouse poisons can cause serious harm, even death, to all warm-blooded creatures that eat them. Fortunately there is a very effective antidote that can be administered by vets or doctors for most of these products. But what about those wild birds that simply disappear?

Deal with the problem quickly, safely and effectively – call out a professional.

Professional pest controllers spend a lot of time, effort and money in becoming properly trained to deal with all these problems to give their customers safe and effective pest control services.

This training is checked by the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) before allowing companies or individuals to join. The NPTA also check that their Members are properly insured for the work they carry out. Remember that an uninsured tradesman that is injured on your property could end up suing you.

The elite members of the Association, their ‘Accredited Members’, are also audited regularly to make sure they are operating to the highest industry standards.

With over 900 Members throughout the UK, the NPTA can help you find a professional pest controller near you to ensure a solution to your rodent problems.

They could also save you time and money in the long run compared to DIY pest control.

The National Pest Technicians Association can be contacted at 01773 717716 or by email

Contact our experienced team at Essex & Suffolk Pest Solutions for rodent control in homes or commercial buildings.