Will Rats Be Attracted to the HOTBIN?

20 March 2017  |  HOTBIN Composting

Is the HOTBIN Rat Proof?

NOHardly anything is rat proof let alone any compost bin.

Vermin control experts state that rats will eat through almost anything – including plastics, metal wire and concrete!

Did you know? Rats’ teeth never stop growing! Gnawing on hard materials help keep them trimmed and in check.

Is the HOTBIN Rat Proof

Why Are Rats Attracted to Compost Heaps?

Rats have three basic requirements; water, food and shelter.

Fact: Rats have a very good sense of smell and so are commonly attracted to compost heaps because of the odours emitted from decaying materials. If you couple that with the fact that many compost heaps offer an easily accessible, dark and cosy place to nest, the compost heap has now transformed into a rather nice bed and breakfast!

All compost heaps are at risk; even food waste bins placed outside for kerbside collection. The trick is to control that risk and minimise its attractiveness to Mr and Mrs Rat.  

How the HOTBIN Is Designed to Reduce the Attraction of Vermin

The HOTBIN is designed to minimise the attraction of rodents by restricting access to their basic needs of water, food and shelter.

  • Water Access:

HOTBIN has the least control over where rats find a water source whether this be puddles or bird baths however they will not find a water source from the HOTBIN. As an aerobic composter plenty of paper and woodchip should be added into the HOTBIN to avoid excess amounts of leachate and the contents turning anaerobic (wet and smelly).

  • Food Access:

Rats have a fantastic sense of smell however HOTBIN has been designed to minimise rodent exploration by being a sealed unit with an integrated bio filter located in the lid, The biofilter controls and neutralises and odours before they leave the HOTBIN.

Please note that cooked food waste and raw meat should only be added when the HOTBIN’s internal temperature is over 40°c.

  • Shelter Access

The HOTBIN is too hot and “closed for business” to rats. As a completely sealed unit, the HOTBIN offers no easy access to curious rodents. Besides, with high temperatures (40°c-60°c) and moist rather than preferred dry internal conditions, HOTBIN offers little appeal to rodents.

It is also worth considering that HOTBIN is manufactured from a material which offers no food value to rats nor does it aid with the trimming of their teeth with its smooth exterior and no sharp edges for a satisfying gnaw!

Should I Add Food Waste into the HOTBIN?

YES - 99.5% of HOTBIN users report no issues with rats when hot composting meat, fish and leftover cooked food at 40°C – 60°! The term “hot composting” being the key, if you are not hot composting you must not add cooked food waste or raw meat into the HOTBIN.

Rats are omnivores and are known to eat anything they can smell with their highly developed sniffing senses. This is why the addition of meat and fish into an open/cold compost heap is not advised however in a sealed unit such as the HOTBIN, which is aerobically hot composting these odours are controlled allowing for the safe addition of food waste types.

Helpful Hints: Locating Your HOTBIN

  • Restrict Food Access:

Keep the area around the HOTBIN clean and free of any waste that may have gone astray whilst feeding the HOTBIN. Any bits and pieces around the outside of the HOTBIN or on the floor will be seen as a free takeaway by rats. Give the unit a quick wipe down from time to time, making sure the unit is clean and free of debris.

You may also wish to situate the bin away from any birdfeeders where loose food collects on the ground as this may attract rodents. Please keep feeding the birds – the feeders do not need removing!

  • Pay Extra Care with Existing Rat Problems:

Try not to situate the HOTBIN in an area which has already had a rat problem. If you have seen or know that rodents are in the vicinity, make sure at least 3 months has elapsed since a previous problem arose before situating a HOTBIN in the same area. Otherwise this will be seen as an existing rat holiday destination.

  • Make Some Noise:

            Rats do not like humans – consider locating the HOTBIN near to your home where human             activity can reduce the possibility of rats being attracted to the area.

  • Out in the Open:

            Consider situating the HOTBIN in an open space rather than somewhere dark and quiet. Rats like             quiet dark areas where they can move about unnoticed and find nesting spots.

  • Creative Planting:

There are few aromas pleasant to humans which will repel rodents. Rats in particular do not like the smell of mint or lavender. Consider planting mint or lavender near the HOTBIN unit or making a herb spray to use in the area; just add mint leaves or lavender heads to hot water and once cool pour the liquid into a spray bottle and spray it in places that have attracted rats. Re-sprays will be needed or alternatively use peppermint oil.

In spring you might notice that rats stay away from your garden, if you have daffodils this could be the reason why. Lavender is also known to be an unappealing smell!

Remember, It’s About Managing the Risk

The risk of a rat attack to the HOTBIN is extremely low and we’ve explained why in this article. If you do think you have a rat problem, remember to follow all the precautions and advice to make sure that risk is managed successfully.

Follow our advice and begin/continue hot composting all your food waste with the HOTBIN, just take care when following our recommendations on preparing the area before you start using your HOTBIN.

Remember - millions of UK homes compost without rat problems but as long as there are rats there will always be a risk no matter which composting system you choose.