Will rats be attracted to the HOTBIN?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014  |  HOTBIN Composting

Is the HOTBIN rat proof?

NO - Vermin control experts will tell you rats will eat through almost anything – including plastics, metal wire and concrete.

Can rats chew through the HOTBIN walls?

YES - but it is unlikely, see the design reasons below.

Can I compost food waste (including meat and fish) in the HOTBIN without rat problems?

YES - 99.5% of HOTBIN users report no issue with rats when composting meat, fish and leftover cooked food!

Why are rats attracted to compost heaps/bins?

It is important to understand what causes rats to be attracted to composting in the first place so you can minimise the appeal the compost heap/bin will have for them.

They want a warm dry place to nest, food to eat, and shelter from predators. Rats will burrow under soil to get to a warm, quiet nest site. They have teeth that grow for a lifetime, so they actively need to gnaw hard surfaces to keep them in trim. Rats find food via smell – the odour that comes from all decaying material attracts rats.

Do all compost heaps have the potential to attract rats?

Adding meat and fish to a cold compost heap should be avoided because they tend to decay anaerobically and the more pungent odours attract rats. Rats are omnivores and will eat anything - contrary to popular belief they will eat vegetable peelings and green plant material - especially when they get desperate for food.

It is no coincidence that compost heaps are often associated with rats – a compost heap has the potential to be a ‘warm home’ with a ‘takeaway’ attached.

Millions of UK homes compost without rat problems, but this does not avoid the simple fact that an awful lot of compost heaps, gardens, sewers and houses have rats in or around them.

What don't rats like?

  1. Contact with Humans - Often the big difference between a compost heap with and without rats is the number of times the heap is attended by humans.
  2. Open Spaces - They prefer dark quiet places away from predators.
  3. Flat Smooth Surfaces- They cannot get their jaws around or teeth into flat smooth surfaces to gnaw.

The HOTBIN claims composting food waste without rats – What does this mean and how does it work?

We do not want any customer or potential customer to misunderstand our advertising. If a HOTBIN is operated correctly it will not attract rats. We do not mean that the HOTBIN is rat proof and capable of resisting a full on attack by a rat. However using good design we have tried to lessen the attraction for rats.

  • Odours - HOTBIN composts aerobically and any odours escaping from the unit can only leave the bin one way through the bio-filter underneath the valve panel in the lid. This is 1m above ground and hence above normal rat runs.
  • Habitat - HOTBIN keeps the compost/waste moist which is not the dry nesting conditions rats prefer.
  • Temperature - The active uppers layers in the HOTBIN can be maintained at 40-60°c, 60°c will be too hot for rats and they will struggle to survive.
  • Smooth/Open Surfaces - HOTBIN’s external surfaces are smooth with rounded edges, no sharp edges or gaps that are easy to gnaw. HOTBIN also has no holes/open surfaces for rats to enter.
  • Material - The HOTBIN is made from (Expanded Polypropylene – EPP) which has no food value to rats.
  • Human Contact – Locating close to the house in an open aspect, near human activity can greatly decrease the risk of rats being attracted to your HOTBIN.

We continue to improve the design of the HOTBIN to ensure it becomes even less attractive to vermin. However customers and prospective customers need to be aware which situations and actions will increase or decrease the chances of a rat being interested in their HOTBIN.

If you do have current problems with rats then don’t worry you can still hot compost all your food waste with the HOTBIN just make sure you follow our recommendations on preparing the area before you start using your HOTBIN.