Rats are one of the world’s most common household pests, and most people encounter at least one unwanted rodent in their lives. Besides contaminating everything they touch, rats chew through a wide range of materials and can cause extensive damage to your property.
Rats can even chew through screens, and will often do so to gain access to your house. So, how can you strop rats from chewing through your screens, and is there any material they can’t gnaw their way through?
What materials can a rat chew through?
As it turns out, there’s very little a rat can’t chew through.
Rat’s teeth are incredibly strong, scoring 5.5 on Mohr’s scale of hardness – which makes them even tougher than steel! As a result, rats can chew through even some of our sturdiest man-made materials, including concrete.
Can rats chew through metal screens?
This depends on what type of metal your screen is made of, and what condition it’s in.
Keep in mind!
Rats can chew through softer metals, like aluminum, quite easily. They can also chew through harder metals (like steel) but are less likely to do so unless the metal is rusted.
If rats are chewing your screens, it may be time to replace them with more rat-proof material or put other control measures in place.
How to stop rats from chewing through screens
Choose a screen made of rat-proof materials
The most effective way to stop rats from chewing through your screens is to choose ones made from rat-proof materials. Screens made from steel or iron galvanized wire cloth are most likely to withstand their teeth and keep them out.
Check the condition of your existing screens
Rats are more likely to chew through screens that are weakened by rust. Screens that are damaged in other ways may also have holes, which provide entry points for unwanted rodents.
Inspect the existing screens around your house for signs of damage or wear and tear, and replace any that have seen better days.
Plug any holes you find
Damaged screens will need to be replaced, but in the meantime, you can block gaps and cracks with copper wool or hardware cloth.
How to reduce the number of rodents around your home
If your screens and other parts of your house are frequently being gnawed by rats, you may have a rodent problem. Reducing the number of rodents on your property can help to protect your screens from damage, while also making your home a safer and more pleasant place to be.
Practice good kitchen hygiene
The no.1 reason rats come indoors is in search of food and, if your kitchen is anything less than immaculate, you may be making it easy for them. Food spills and crumbs can attract a rat just as quickly as a full plate of food can, so all dirty utensils, countertops, and other mess should be cleaned up immediately.
You should also get into the habit of storing all your food in airtight containers and storing fruit in the refrigerator. This way, you can avoid attracting all kinds of kitchen pests, from rats to roaches and flies.
Don’t forget the dog food
Pet food can also attract rats and mice if it’s left out, so make sure you never leave scraps in your dog’s bowl and store all pet food in sealed containers
Manage your trash well
All food waste should be disposed of securely to avoid attracting rats. This means that all your trash cans (both indoors and outdoors) should have sealable lids, and you should empty your kitchen trash regularly. Outdoor trash cans should be stored at least 6 feet away from the foundations of your house.
Clear away potential harborage sites
A messy yard is a haven for rats and mice, as clutter often creates perfect harborage sites for them to hang out in.
Overgrown shrubs and grasses, leaf litter, mulch, compost heaps, stacks of firewood, boxes, and piles of recycling materials all make great rodent hiding places and could be encourage rats onto your property.
If your yard is looking a little crowded, it could be time to have a clear-out before you find yourself with an infestation.
Look for gaps and cracks
Rats won’t chew your screens if they don’t need to – many get into houses simply by squeezing their way in through cracks and gaps. Inspect the exterior of your property for possible rat entry points, which could be around and under doors, around windows and screens, or around pipes. If you find a gap, block it using copper wire, as rats are less likely to chew through this.
Lay out traps and poison baits
If you have an existing rodent problem, you need to take action. Although humane traps are available, lethal weapons are your best bet for getting rid of an established infestation.
Two of the most commonly used rodent control measures are poison baits and traps. Both methods are highly effective for doing away with large numbers of rats and mice, and many do so quickly and humanely. If you are seeing repeated damage to your screens this could indicate a large rodent population, and means it’s time to start laying traps.
Rats are a global menace, and household infestations are common. Rats can squeeze in through tiny holes and, where there are no gaps, they chew their way in. Their teeth are harder than steel and can chew through most materials – even concrete and metal.
The best way to keep rats from chewing through your screens is to install ones made of rat-proof materials (like steel or iron galvanized wire cloth). If all else fails, get to work rat-proofing your home to reduce the number of rodents on your property, and to prevent rat-related damage.