If you keep horses, you will be aware that rodents can pose a problem at horse stables all the year round, but especially in the winter. When temperatures drop, rats and mice decide to move into the warm, with stables presenting a particular attraction because of the combination of shelter, food and water.
This means many horse owners will need to call in mice and rat control experts during the coldest months of the year. At Essex & Suffolk Pest Solutions we are highly experienced in dealing with rodents, covering a wide area including Newmarket, Colchester, Chelmsford, Witham, Harwich, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Felixstowe. Here we look at what can be done to deal with an infestation successfully and how to prevent it recurring.
Problems Caused by Rodent Infestations
There are tens of millions of rats and mice in the UK, and there have been warnings that numbers are likely to rise even higher than usual this winter because of unusually mild weather during recent months. After crops are harvested from the fields each year, rodents have to seek new sources of food, and they are likely to make for outbuildings where livestock is kept, including stables.
So what are the tell-tale signs of an infestation in your stables? If you notice one or two rats or mice running around, this is a warning sign that there may be many more nearby. Other signs include droppings, which in the case of rats will often be near water sources such as taps in the yard or water troughs for your horses.
You may also spot holes or burrow marks where rodents have been digging, “runs” or tracks where they regularly travel, and damage caused by chewing, as well as hearing scratching noises. If you become aware of any of these signs, you should act sooner rather than later, because the problem will only get worse. Both rats and mice breed prolifically, so an infestation can quickly become a major problem.
Rodents are very destructive pests and can cost a horse owner a great deal of money. They not only eat feed intended for your horses, but also contaminate far more than they actually consume. As well as destroying food, they will chew their way through equipment and accessories, from expensive saddles, bridles and blankets to power cables, and cause damage to buildings. Rats often shred insulation and other material to make their nests, causing further damage.
There are also serious health risks associated with both rats and mice. Rats carry Weil’s disease, also known as Leptospirosis, which is dangerous to both humans and horses, as well as food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli and numerous other diseases. Mice also transmit Salmonella and other bacteria, while both types of rodent can spread Hantavirus, a group of viruses which have the potential to cause serious infections in people.
How to Deal with the Issue
If your stables have a rodent infestation, it needs to be tackled urgently. However, it is difficult to do this effectively yourself. If you are not an expert in rat or mice control, it can be difficult to work out exactly where vermin are getting into your buildings and what the extent of the problem is. It is also hard to know what method of dealing with the rodents is best to use and where to lay bait so that it will be effective.
The answer is to call in experts, such as Essex & Suffolk Pest Solutions, who will examine the stables thoroughly and give you full support in getting rid of a mice or rat problem. We normally visit at least three times to ensure that the infestation has been thoroughly dealt with. Our service includes tracking down how the rodents are getting into the stables and deciding on the most effective method of dealing with them. Usually the answer is to put down anti-coagulant baits, but in some cases traps may be used.
During visits for mice and rat control, we use the most environmentally-friendly products which are appropriate. We also advise you on while how to make sure that your horses and any other animals using the area, such as dogs and cats, are safeguarded.
Rodent-Proofing Your Stables
Our pest control experts not only deal with your current problem, but also give you advice to avoid it recurring. This involves looking at how to make your premises less attractive to rodents, for instance by getting rid of any gaps or holes they might use to get in and storing tack and equipment securely.
Keeping feed in containers which are resistant to chewing, clearing up any food spills quickly and ensuring waste is disposed of safely are all important preventive measures, as is keeping undergrowth close to the stables cut back.
If you are worried about rats or mice in your stables, click here to contact Essex & Suffolk Pest Solutions and get help and advice fast.