Finding a hidden solution for rats

Semi-rural sites with multiple buildings and manicured gardens may look beautiful and be a lovely environment in which to study, but they also offer a potential haven for pests.

We have been working with a private school in Sussex for some time, providing effective preventive pest control solutions to help keep potential rodent problems under control. As part of our strategy, traditional bait boxes were placed across the property, and during our regular visits these are checked, cleared and any missing rodenticide is replaced.

However, there was one area where we had not installed bait boxes – the school entrance. This was because the school did not want parents to see pest control measures when they dropped off their children. Understandably, they were concerned that it might give the wrong impression but, in reality, the opposite is true. An establishment with well-maintained bait boxes is one that takes pest control seriously and is on top of any potential issues.

Predictably, the lack of preventive pest control at the front of the building had eventually allowed a rat problem to develop. Staff and parents had recently reported seeing rodents and so the school contacted us to discuss possible solutions.

Finding a solution

Part of effective pest control is finding a solution that not only keeps the pest problem under control but also works for the customer. In this case, it was understandable that the school wanted to keep the front area free from visible bait boxes and so we initially suggested bait boxes disguised as litter bins. This solution was also not workable as the school wanted to keep the area free of litter.  

This was when we suggested a bait box hidden under a fake drain cover. Rats are burrowing creatures and so, when properly installed, this discreet solution should be perfect. Also, because service man-hole covers are found all across properties, visitors often don’t even see them.  


We chose a position for the bait box that was perfect for inquisitive rodents – a section of lawn, close to a wall that would give them some protection when running around the site. It was also important that the site should naturally drain, and so we choose a position with a slight slope and then dug the hole a little deeper to add a base of shingle. Finally, because the area around reception is regularly cut by the gardeners, the unit was installed slightly below ground level.

Finding a hidden solution for rats


Rats are naturally neophobic – they fear the new – and so we thought it might take them a little time to overcome this and accept the new drain cover. In fact, their inquisitiveness meant they explored to bait box very quickly and when we next visited the site, we found all of the rodenticide had gone. Better still, the school has not received any more reports of rodents and is very happy that we so quickly found a workable solution.

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