With temperatures dropping London residents have been told to ready themselves for a rise in rat invasions .

As rats abandon summer habitats and head inside for food and shelter.

The rodents have been known to gnaw through insulation and even metal to gain access to cosier abodes.

If these unpopular creatures gain access to your home they can spread diseases, cause damage and contaminate food.

So if you're keen to keep the beasts at bay, these top tips from Rentokill can prevent the pests from entering.

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The best way to deter rats is to deny them access to food, water and shelter so:

    • Keep foodstuffs in metal or glass containers with tight fitting lids.
    • Tidy inside the house and around the garden - less clutter means less places to hide.
    • Put outdoor rubbish bags in metal bins with securely fitted lids to stop them feeding from contents.
    • Clean up pet food and bird seed debris, and store pet food in robust containers with fitted lids - preferably above ground level.
    • Keep gardens free from debris and keep clutter to a minimum.
    • If you have a compost heap don’t include organic food waste, as this will attract them.

    Rat invasion warning

    If you have already spotted signs of rats, such as droppings, prevention may already be too late.

    It's best to act quickly to get rid of rats and prevent a larger infestation from happening.

    Dee Ward-Thompson, British Pest Control Association's technical manager, said residents should be doing all they can now to protect their properties.

    Thousands of rats invaded homes in west London last year

    “Rain washes rats out of sewers and other nesting places and, inevitably, they go looking for shelter in higher ground," she said.

    “They will try to find some sort of dwelling and that could be lofts, garages or sheds.

    “Our members report the number of calls to deal with infestations often rises in the Autumn when the temperature drops often quite dramatically and we’re expecting a similar pattern this time."