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Problems with pests - gulls, rats and bats

Aberdeenshire Council do not provide a pest control service.

Environmental Health has put together some advice to help our communities identify and deal with some common pests found in Aberdeenshire in our Common pests and vermin leaflet (pdf 912KB). On this page there is some more specific advice what you and your community can do to deal with these particularly common pests:

Gulls 

The presence of seagulls in our coastal and inland communities can cause problems such as noise, mess from droppings and damage to property. To help avoid gulls becoming a problem, residents and visitors to Aberdeenshire are asked not to feed gulls. If you have a home or a business premises, you should consider proofing your property or making regular checks for signs of nest building. For further advice please see our survivor's guide to living with urban gulls (pdf 2.4MB).

Rats

The natural fauna includes rats. Rats are well known pests, feeding on and spoiling food, carrying numerous diseases and, perhaps largely because these traits, humans have natural aversion to them. In order to control and restrict the local rodent population it is advisable to take steps to protect your property. This is effectively carried out by restricting available food, making sure that food discarded into compost is secure and is not attracting rats, making sure that any bird food is not attracting rats and baiting land appropriately. Any holes leading from the outside of your house to the interior, typically around waste pipes, should be properly sealed.

If you suspect that the local rat population is affecting a number of properties locally, Environmental Health team recommends that you seek to cooperate with your neighbours and collectively engage the services of a reputable pest control contractor.British Pest Control Association has also produced rattled by rats pest advice sheet (pdf 2.9MB) if you need more information. 

If you choose to act individually you must act responsibly and follow all the advice which will accompany poisons and other pest control devices. It must also be noted that because your actions will not be coordinated the problem will take longer to resolve. If you choose to act individually you can find detailed advice online.

How to use rat poison

To use rat poison you should:

  • place loose rat bait in suitably sturdy containers
  • always prevent access to rat poison to children, birds and non-target animals
  • ensure hands and exposed skin are washed directly after handling rat poison products
  • wear gloves when dealing with rat poison and disposing of rodent bodies as there is a risk of diseases carried by rats
  • be aware that after rodents have digested enough rodenticide, most will return to their nests or outside burrows before they die to the poison
  • double bag all waste with bin liners, or something similar, then place it in a bin with a secure lid 

Where to use rat poison

Possible indoor locations to position rat poison include under cupboards, behind furniture, in loft spaces, sheds or garages. If you are using it outside ensure it is placed behind boards or tiles leant against a wall or inside a length of pipe to ensure no other wildlife or children can access it. 

You should also be aware that rat poison should:

  • should be placed on a flat surface in a secure location
  • placed in the trays provided if you are using loose rat poison (grain bait) or, more preferably, in suitably sturdy containers, designed for the purpose
  • not place rat poison where food, feed or water could become contaminated
  • keep all rodenticide bait well away from children and pets such as rabbits, gerbils hamsters and pet mice

Please be aware of 'secondary poisoning' when dealing with a rodent infestation. This is where an animal is poisoned after consuming another animal that has eaten and digested poison. This can occur in birds of prey such as owls or hawks and mammals such as foxes and badgers. To help avoid this issue please ensure any poisoned rodent bodies are disposed of carefully.

Bats

All bats are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to:

  • kill, injure, catch or keep bats
  • damage, destroy or obstruct bat roosts
  • disturb bats while they are roosting, for example by entering known roosts or hibernation sites
  • sell, barter or exchange bats, alive or dead

It is a legal requirement to consult Scottish Natural Heritage before you do anything that might affect bats or their roosts. This might include:

  • blocking, filling or installing grilles over old mines or tunnels
  • Building, alteration or maintenance work
  • Getting rid of unwanted bat colonies
  • Removing hollow trees
  • Re-roofing
  • Remedial timber treatment
  • Rewiring or plumbing in roofs
  • Treatment of wasps, bees or cluster flies

Remember that because bats return to the same places every year, a bat roost is protected even if there aren’t bats there all the time

This explanation should be regarded only as a guide to the law. For further details, reference should be made to sections 9-11, 16-27 and 69 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

For further information on bats visit Scottish Natural Heritage or the Bat Conservation Trust.