bristol rat control

Killing Rats Is Never The Goal – Exclusion is The Goal!

Simon Berenyi

Exclusion is always the primary end goal of rat control because exclusion avoids the destructive, wasteful and inhumane system of BAIT-STINK-FLIES-REPEAT.

Joining The Pest Control Industry

Hi, my name is Simon, a pest controller. I started my professional life in the Ambulance service and spent almost 15 years in health care before training as a teacher.

In fact, I’ve spent most of my professional life helping people.

My challenge? I hated being indoors all the time, so decided to go in search of a career that would help me indulge in my passion for science and nature.

After much searching, I started a new career in pest control.

The pest control industry trains people to find the rats, kill them as quickly as possible and monitor for further activity and eliminate as required.

Unfortunately, treatments miss the point. Exclusion is the game!

Exclusion avoids the need to kill any more pests. A win-win!

Exclusion Is The Most Humane Form Of Control.

Simon Berenyi

The Problem With Rat Control

Exclusion is often technically challenging and expensive – Control with poison is easy!

I was so excited to get started, but over the following three years I would get call after call from disgruntled, desperate customers that I had failed.

I felt like garbage. Then one day I had the courage to tell a customer what I really thought.

A £7000.00 insurance claim later and my customer was thrilled.

rats in kitchens
A Common Rat Entry Point In Kitchens

But it gets better. I also had a groundworks expert who helped me map out the ultimate rat control system.

It was at this point I coined the term that has come to define the failing system the industry makes its money on. It is the industries dirty little secret. They call it best practice.

I Call Traditional Control – BAIT-STINK-FLIES-REPEAT!

Simon Berenyi

What Do Customers Love About This System?

  1. This System Is More Humane Compared to Traditional Control
    • Professional pest control is sometimes considered a never-ending cycle of Bait-Stink-Flies-Repeat! If you exclude the rats, surely you should no longer need to kill them? Exclusion or removal and control of a preferred food supply ensure control should only ever be required once.
  2. This System Helps Avoid The Stink & Flies Of Dead Rodents
    • Baiting for a short period prior to proofing ensures rodents have the chance to leave your property before they die or are affected by lethal control measures.
  3. This System Reduces Pesticide Use
    • Bait should be a last resort and a one time option. Indiscriminate use of pesticides is dangerous and harmful to the environment. If you need to keep baiting then you have not identified or do not have control of the source.
  4. This System Saves You Money
    • Many customers we visit have often had rat problems in a property for many years. Customers will go through many different pest control providers and make zero progress. Reasons that pest controllers repeatedly come up with routinely reflect a poor understanding of drainage and building construction pertinent to rat control. This lack of understanding costs homeowners thousands in redundant pest control treatments, repairs, remediation and sadly – house sales.
  5. This System Saves You Time
    • The average rat problem never gets solved! Our average customer is rat free forever in less than 14 days.
  6. This System Protects Your Health
    • Every time a rodent comes into your home the result is cumulative damage from gnawing, droppings, urine and even insect parasites that could easily feed on you, especially rat fleas. As droppings dry, particles can become airborne with a risk to respiratory health. Urine left on floors and kitchen countertops is another common sense risk people often overlook.
  7. This System Maintains Your Faith In Ethical Pest Control
    • The industry is slowly changing and some highly experienced pest control operators are entering the field with advanced diagnostic solutions for drains and more. This rebirth of the industry is extremely encouraging but still represents a tiny fraction of pest control businesses. For this reason, you need to shop around for a specialist that clearly understands structural rat ingress routes and how to solve them.
  8. This System Helps Avoid Rats Being Trapped Inside Your Home
    • One massive mistake made, again and again, is the kneejerk reaction of filling holes too soon. Entry points are also exit points. If you seal before you bait or trap, the rodents have only one place to pass away – in your home. The stench of a dead rodent can be so unbearable it often causes homeowners to vacate their homes for a few weeks while the smell dissipates.
  9. This System Helps Avoid A Plague Of Flies
    • Dead rodents equal dead flies. The mass emergence of flies is very common and although distressing, should not be discounted. Flies are natures cleaners and they are the reason the smell subsides. Blooms of flies often last about a week, with the bulk of flies appearing over just a few days. The best way to get rid o the flies is with a vacuum. a) Clean out your vacuum cylinder. b) Suck up as many flies as you can see. c) Empty the cylinder in the garden. Simple! It’s always tempting to grab the fly spray, but breathing in fly spray can’t be good for anyone.
  10. This System Protects and Lasts
    • Identifying the true source of a rat infestation and remediating it, is one of the most self-cleansing investments a person will make in a property. The relief of knowing that rats from that source will never again trouble you, your property or be the cause of unexpected bills is a super feeling.
  11. This System Is A Common Sense Investment
    • With 80% of our customers reporting that a rat problem has been present from the day they moved into their home, it is clear to see how many people give up on these issues and move home. The average cost of moving house in 2019 based on selling a house for £350K and buying for 350K within a 10-mile radius is over £15000.00! The average cost of our services to solve the problem is just a tenth of that cost.
  12. This System Raises The Bar On Acceptable Practice
    • Once you understand this process fully, you can never go back to the old ways of controlling rats. It will never again be acceptable or palatable. Here in lies the problem. Because the industry has no reason to change. Consumers are the very best leverage and encouraging more pest control operators to get involved in technical rat control will make a huge difference. Knowing you have helped a customer solve issues like this is fantastic because you know you’ve made a lasting difference to the quality of another person’s life. The ultimate WIN-WIN.

Why Doesn’t The Pest Control Industry Want You To Know This?

  • 1 – Big pest control companies thrive on contract pest control.
  • 2 – Treatments make money forever – solutions pay out just once.
  • 3 – Suppliers to the industry want treatments and not solutions.

The industry is slowly changing but only because pest control companies are becoming or being swallowed up by facilities management companies.

Facilities management companies have the ability to fix everything in one go, hugely increasing the lifetime value of each customer.

Another reason is because of books and articles like the one you are now reading that are able to bypass the normal financial hurdles of information dissemination through the blessing of social media.

We can now tell a public hungry for answers that there are better ways to get rid of rats than BAIT-STINK-FLIES-REPEAT.

Water Authorities & Rat Control

The sewers are the reservoirs of rat activity in our towns and cities, giving rats a network for safe, convenient movement.

Water authorities are also clamping down on people surveying or carrying out repairs on any “shared drainage”.

Regulation is making it harder for anyone wanting to solve drain related problems from operating effectively or profitably.

Water authorities are also beginning to sell insurance that “claims” to cover the type of remedial work we recommend.

Every year we diagnose problems that cost the water authority tens of thousands to investigate and remediate, problems that would have likely gone undiagnosed for decades.

We also discover new branches of the sewer, unmapped by the authorities, increasing the costs for them yet again.

30-40% of rat ingress routes we find are missed or ignored by other service providers because this is such a neglected niche area of pest control.

Worse still, because we always check insurance contractor repairs for efficacy, we discovered to our horror that many repairs were carried out incorrectly or were never started. Who would ever check? WE DID!

STEP 1 – Identify The Route or Routes of Entry

Rats enter your property because there is an open door – sometimes literally!

Let’s be completely clear – Everyone knows rats don’t have parachutes.

Most people also know that rats have not jumped the curve on evolution and started to use teleportation to pass through walls.

SIMPLE – Rats always have an entry point that can be sealed, or modified, stopping any new entry INSTANTLY!

Pest controllers know that BAIT-STINK-FLIES-REPEAT makes money forever. There are ZERO reasons for them to find the entry point.

Do you want the problem treated, controlled or solved????

Is It Really Rats Making Those Noises?

Always make sure you are dealing with rats.

Squirrels, birds, mice, wasps and even bees have taken the blame for noises in attics, lofts, ceiling voids, wall cavities and chimneys.

20 Ludicrously Simple Ways Rats WALK or GET CARRIED Into A Property.

mice cavity walls bristol
Mice & Building Faults
  1. Broken Drains
    • The most common point for a break or breach to occur is the rest bend. The rest bend is the “L” shaped section of pipe at the bottom of your vertical waste pipe (soil and vent or soil stack) and sends it to the sewer along horizontal pipes. Pressure on this section of pipe over many years can crack and displace it, providing an easy entry point out of the sewer and into surrounding sub-soil and cavities.
  2. Open Drains
    • Drains and gullies without tight-fitting covers are easy for rats to escape from, especially older clay versions. This is rarely an issue with plastic varieties. Unfortunately, kitchen waste pipes are not modified to fit through gully covers properly, leading to food waste building up on top of the covers, which encouraged and nourishes foraging rats in the surrounding gardens
  3. Broken Sewers
    • Broken sewers are a big issue, especially where they have been built over or joined onto. End of terrace properties are at extra risk because the sewers often run down the side of them.
  4. Defective Benching
    • Benching is the name given to the smooth, sloping cement that funnels from the walls of inspection chambers to rims of the pipes that run through them. Defective benching and mortar provide rats with an easy way out of inspection chambers and into the surrounding subsoil and voids.
  5. Defective Chambers
    • Defective chambers is a term we use to cover a multitude of problems from collapses, to benching issues and much more.
  6. Open Utility Bridges
    • Utility bridges is a term we use to describe the point at which internal services (water, gas, power and wastewater, etc.) enter and leave a building through the foundations. Utility bridges should be located 300mm under the ground but we see an increasing number of new build properties where these are 100mm above ground with huge gaps directly into the foundations of blocks of flats where rats and mice quickly infest the occupied residential units within.
  7. Disused Cat Flaps
    • More common when someone moves into a property without checking that the flap is locked or secured properly.
  8. Unprotected Wall Vents
    • Super common, especially with older cast iron varieties that crack and break easily.
  9. Holes Around, Under and From Pipes
    • Any pipes, cables or conduit passing through a wall is a problem where the gaps around it don’t get sealed effectively. Worse, is where pipes and cables are removed leaving huge, low-level gaps in walls that offer easy access into wall cavities and kitchens.
  10. Open Doors & Windows
    • Not often a cause of infestation but a common cause of single rodents becoming stuck inside a property when foraging. People often think the rodent concerned has decided to live in the house, and this might be the case. More common is a closed door trapping a rodent that is desperate to get back to young or a reliable source of water. A common reason you might find a rat stuck in your toilet!
  11. Gaps Under Door & Window Frames
    • Rats, but more usually mice, will access properties in surprisingly large numbers through low-level gaps under door and window sills.
  12. Gutters via Climbing Plants
    • Rats, mice and squirrels love climbing plants that help them reach the gutter line of your roof or conceal other entry points at low-level. Cutting back climbing plants so they are at least 300mm from the gutter line of your roof can help prevent easy ingress.
  13. Gutters via Overhanging Branches
    • Most rodents are excellent climbers and jumpers! Cutting overhanging vegetations like trees and large shrubs to create a 1-meter gap will make it very hard for rodents to access your roof safely.
  14. Gutters Via Propped up Stored Timber
    • ridiculously common. Propping anything up against your house creates a natural ladder for animals to walk straight into your roof and property. Always store items so they don’t rest vertically against walls that lead up to your roof or up to your gutters.
  15. Gutters Via Trellis and Fencing
    • This is another common route of entry into peoples homes. Customers often report seeing rats, mice and squirrels running along the top of fences close too, or adjoining their properties.
  16. Via Beds & Sofas Brought In
    • Over the years we’ve had numerous instances of stored or second-hand furniture bringing rodents into homes. Hollow bed bases and sofas are the worst culprits. Always thoroughly check large items of furniture before bringing them into a property.
  17. Gaps Under Garage Doors
    • Garages are often a treasure trove of pet food, bird food, human food and food recycling! Is it any wonder that garage doors with gaps beneath them are such a popular source of rodent ingress?
  18. From Properties Attached To Yours
    • If your neighbour has rats, and they don’t care or are scared of being sued or accused they will not be truthful about the scale of a problem they may be the source of or have been unable to solve, especially if they are planning on selling or actually like the rats!
  19. Defective Unmapped Drains
    • Many of the cities were badly damaged during WW II and many of the building were demolished and built on. The sewers connecting them was not removed or disconnected creating a network of unmapped and redundant sewers. We see this all the time and it is one of the most costly and confusing issues to identify and remedy.
  20. Gaps Under Basement Doors
    • Basement doors a real issue, because they offer rats a chance to get into the guts of your building where they can breed hidden and unhindered. reinstating, repairing or sealing these doors is a quick and common sense way to solve these problems.

HELP Rats Leave Your Property

Most people buy multi-feed poison that kills a rat over successive feeds. As the poison takes effect, the rodent becomes disoriented and finally dies.

These safer baits are also baits that offer the greatest resistance or bait tolerance in rat populations.

Bait resistance is a growing problem, increasing the cost of amateur control and the cost to non-target species in the wider environment because ever greater quantities might be needed to get the same results.

Single feed poisons used by professionals (you must request this bait to avoid them considering less suitable or cheaper alternatives) are faster acting. This is VITAL!

Be patient though because it is the down to professional pest control operator to risk assess the suitability of such control measures in any given situation. If they do not feel it is safe or prudent then you must accept their decision or be prepared to pay another pest controller for a second opinion.

Recent changes in the pest control industry have placed rodenticide use under a much clearer lens and every pest control operator will be aware of the need to diligently risk assess each and every rodenticide application.

FREE Services To Try First

Free Drain Inspections & Repairs

Most water authorities in the UK provide a free drain survey where their sewers are suspected of being defective and responsible for the rat ingress under and into your home.

Many of the authorities will avoid responding, claiming the drains are not their responsibility. They ARE responsible for any shared drainage.

These are drains that carry water from more than one property.

In the case of flats, the system is often quite different and they view the flats as one property.

Insurance Companies & Rat Control

Insurance companies will often provide free inspections and remediation of drain faults, suspected or proven.

Getting drains inspected is a challenge because most contractors have no idea what they are looking for when it comes to rat ingress issues.

Two unusual but key features you need to look out for on your insurance documentation are: Escape of Water and Subsidence.

You might not be covered for faulty drains but faulty drains will almost certainly result in Escape of Water and ultimately result in Subsidence.

Insurers will also jump ship by saying you are not covered for rat related issues. Remember: Rat ingress is a natural consequence of faulty drainage and not a cause of it.

Increasingly insurers are beginning to offer a small amount of pest control within policies. This is limited to three treatment visits.

To save money, let the insurers treat prior and during repairs so you can easily and cheaply switch to traps yourself if you are on a tight budget.

Baiting after proofing offers the rats just one place to pass away – within your home!

Complications Limiting Control

We offer customers a second opinion based on CCTV footage provided by their chosen drain contractor, carrying out the CCTV survey.

Most drain companies now provide online access to CCTV drain inspection footage.

If they don’t have the footage then a second survey will be required.

Neighbours may also need to be contacted to access their drains.

Sometimes it becomes almost impossible to get this done because people build over inspection chambers or lay patios and build ponds over chambers! We see it all.

Common Rat Control Methods

There are four simple ways to control rats; Exclusion, Poisons, Trapping and Environmental Modification.


Exclusion requires that rats are preventing from entering an area or premises by means of exclusion measures. Exclusion measures include blocking holes and gaps that offer rats access. This is the most humane form of control and the very easiest.

If you are serious about protecting the environment then exclusion is where you begin your rat control journey.


Poisons or rodenticides are the easiest way to quickly kill but not eliminate rats in your property. The biggest disadvantage with this poison is that it often solves nothing.

Poison ensures your home will likely stink of death for a number of weeks while the carcass decomposes.

Poison likely ensures that you will need to have a plan for the control of a plague of flies two to four weeks after the rodent has died.

Rat Traps

Snap Traps

Traps carry the advantage of identification. You will clearly see what has been caught, but be prepared for it to still be alive and be prepared to kill the rat by hand. Traps often catch the rat by a tail, snout, or leg.

Because traps are not guaranteed to provide an instant kill, it is essential to tether traps with wire to a wooden beam or structure.

Tethering ensures live rats can be swiftly despatched and avoids traps from being dragged away into areas where the rodent or the trap cannot be located or retrieved.

Humane Traps

Humane traps are only humane if you check them daily. if you don’t check them daily, they are not humane.

Humane traps, designed to capture rodents without killing them are often forgotten about. You still get the stink, but not the flies.

The terrible truth about so-called humane traps is utterly disturbing.

These neglected traps often result in the most terrible prolonged death of the rodent that dies starving and dehydrated in a pool of its own urine and faeces.

The Best Rat Trap Baits

Almost without exception, the best bait we have ever used on traps for Squirels, mice and rats is good quality dark chocolate.

The trick is to melt a small piece of chocolate on one edge so the chocolate glues itself to the pressure plate or into the bait cup/holder of the chosen trap.

Baits vary on efficacy so it is always worth experimenting. We often superglue baits to traps so they can’t be cherry picked of the trap without activating the mechanism.

How Do We Use Rodenticides

Before any remediation or proofing works are carried out we first spend 7 days using rodenticide (poison), so rats have a chance to feed and die externally in the sewers or in the wider environment.

Cage trapping is an alternative, but this requires that the rats be shot, and in an urban environment this is less than ideal. There are better alternatives available!

Once the proofing or remediation is complete we switch over to monitoring bait and traps.

Traps must be tethered to a fixed point with wire to avoid the traps being dragged away, making retrieval impossible or costly.

The very best bait we have used on rat traps is Dark Chocolate, melted on one side to glue itself to the traps trigger plate or bait-cup.

Moving House?

This sounds like an extreme or even underhanded method of control. 80% of customers report having the problem since moving into a property.

No one ever seems to get the drains checked when buying a home and few people in the industry ever seem to publish how common this problem is.

If you live in a property or are buying a property that has adjoining properties, then this is a problem you really don’t want because not everyone hates rats.

We have been to a property with over a thousand rats in the garden.

Terraced properties with rats running under the floors between properties or through the attics.

Finance companies specialising in fast sale schemes love people terrified of rats who can’t solve the problem.

We had a customer last year who was selling his house for 20% below asking price to a finance company because a neighbour refused to repair their drains.

Pest phobias are a powerful bargaining tool for the unscrupulous!

The only things that will cause residents to abandon the property and move on are diagnostic and repair costs because you are not always insured.

More commonly a neighbour is the source of the problem and the one person preventing you from solving it.

Authorities will on occasion, force the neighbour to comply, or a water authority will force a resident to provide access to the public sewer, but these interventions sometimes fail.

Having a public dispute with your neighbour or making it known that you have an unsolved rat problem could impact on the value of your home at a time when selling your home might be your only means of escaping the issue.

Thank you for reading, we hope this has helped direct you to a rat control solution that avoids BAIT_STINK_FLIES-REPEAT and instead works on a system of FIND-FIX-FORGET-FOREVER!

Crazy But True – Rats Gone In Less Than 30 Days

The whole process of elimination should be completed within 30 days.

The process WE CREATED and follow has just FIVE steps:

  • STEP 1) Identify the source
  • STEP 3) Implement controls
  • STEP 2) Undertake remediation works
  • STEP 4) Apply exclusion measures
  • STEP 5) Monitor for and control residual rats

Three Rat Control Case Studies

Rat Control Case Study 1

In this example, a property in Southampton had Council and private pest controllers visit over a 13 year period. The client also had a drain survey that concluded nothing was wrong!

We took two teams from Bristol with us. Within three hours we had discovered, sealed and solved the problem forever. The customer no longer needed to sell their home!

The total saving was in excess of 15K.

Rat Control Case Study 2

A customer in Bristol paid a national company for 20 years to get rid of rats in their cellar – We visited and notified them that a drain repair would solve their problems forever.

So why had the other company never mentioned drains – well, with 20 years of contract payments, why would they?

This example highlights how contract pest control combined with staff performance bonuses and basic wage enhancements does nothing to promote services that solve.

Rat Control Case Study 3

Dental surgery in Bristol asked for a second opinion after a national company failed to get rid of rats in a sterile room!

During our initial inspection, we investigated and discovered the national company had placed a single trap next to an open drain beneath a work counter. The pest controller never mentioned the open drain to the dental practice but still wanted to charge £750.00 for another three visits.

We solved their rat problem in one visit. Yet again this highlights how bonus enhanced basic pay does nothing to help a customer solve their problems.

The Ultimate Rat Control Solution

What Is The Single Biggest Change That Would Solve The Majority Of Rat Infestations?

The simple answer? Nationalise a drain service for the identification and remediation of drain faults in local authority controlled buildings and social housing with a discounted service for private residential properties.

The intentional, wasteful and negligent use of rodenticides with zero accountability for actually solving the source of rat ingress issues is probably the most damming unreported environmental catastrophe related to pest control and public water supplies.

It should be made an accountable feature of rodent control to suggest or demonstrate that the source of a rat infestation has been identified prior to the use of rodenticides. It should be further required that steps can be shown to have been taken to address the issues found or suspected.

If we are to ever prove that we are serious about rat control then we need to be serious about how we manage the source of these problems.

Exclusion is the most humane form of control. If we deny rats access to properties and food supplies then the number of rat infestations would fall immediately, even without pesticides. This is a controversial topic, but a topic that needs to be taken to task.

Another important factor is the ability of individuals and local authorities to act against those who are responsible for such sources of infestation and refuse to alleviate such problems at their own expense or with assistance form the local authority.

It should be a legal obligation of persons responsible for such infestations to ensure recurrence does not occur and face penalties in cases where deliberate or neglectful activities create a recurrence of rat activity.

hundreds of tons of these pesticides are flushed through sewers by professional, amateur and local authorities each year and the active ingredients have to go somewhere.

The big question is “do these pesticides survive processing and end up in our drinking water?”. It makes you wonder, but we know of no studies done on this subject. Is it about time we did?

Organisations Supporting UK Pest Control

There are a number of organisations that you get more help and advice from. In the UK we have 10 that could be of interest to you.

This is just a small extract from additional resources in development, so please let us know if there are any issues that would really help others.

Please send recommendations to simonberenyi@gmail.com. We may publish your stories and responses.