In this article, we will provide expert tips on how to effectively get rid of rats and other rodents from your home or property. If you have noticed rat droppings, foot and tail marks in the dust, or signs of gnawed wood and electrical wires, it is time to take action and eradicate these pests.
There are two main options when it comes to addressing a rat infestation: hiring a professional pest control company or dealing with the problem yourself. While a professional exterminator is trained in rat control and has access to potent poisons, traps, and other methods, we can provide you with advice and guidance to assist you in tackling the rat infestation on your own.
Before we delve into the specifics of rat extermination, it’s important to note that where there are rats, there are likely to be mice as well. Rats and mice often enter homes in search of food and shelter, so it’s essential to address both rat and mouse problems simultaneously.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how to get rid of rats and the challenges that come with it.
Species of Rats Common in the U.S.
1. Norway Rat (Brown Rat): Male Norway rats can weigh up to 12 ounces. They have fur on their bodies, scaly hairless tails, and small ears. Norway rats have a short, rounded snout and short whiskers.
2. Roof Rat (Black Rat): Roof rats are common long-tailed rats that originated from India. They pose a significant health risk and pest problem for crop farmers. Roof rats have the ability to climb and can easily find their way into attics when seeking shelter. They can pass through openings as small as a quarter in size. Roof rats have larger ears and longer tails than Norway rats. They have pointed noses and their fur color may range from gray to brown or black.
To keep rats out of your home, there are a few preventive measures you can take:
1. Trim tree branches: If you have trees near your house, trim the branches that are close to the roof and utility wires. Rats can gain access to your home by using tree branches as a bridge.
2. Remove vines: Ivy and other vines on the exterior walls of your house can act as a pathway for roof rats to enter your home. Removing these vines will deter rats from finding their way in.
3. Seal entry points: Inspect the exterior of your house for any gaps or holes that rats could use to gain entry. Seal these openings with steel wool, hardware cloth, or caulk.
Rat Behavior and Habits
Understanding rat behavior can help you devise a more effective rat control plan:
1. Gnawing: Rats have a strong inclination to gnaw on various materials. They will chew through wood, plastic, wires, and other building materials. This gnawing behavior can cause damage to your property and even lead to electrical issues, such as blown fuses. Keep an eye out for significant chew marks around your home as a sign of rat activity.
2. Teeth maintenance: Rats constantly gnaw to keep the length of their teeth in check. If they don’t gnaw, their teeth can outgrow their mouths, causing discomfort and potentially impacting their ability to eat.
3. Running along walls: When rats are in a new environment, they tend to run along the walls. Due to the oil content in their fur, they leave oil marks on the walls approximately 2-3 inches above the floor. This behavior can help you identify their paths and nesting areas.
Now that we have covered some fundamental knowledge about rats, let’s explore effective methods to get rid of them:
– Snap traps: Snap traps are the classic wooden or plastic traps with a metal bar that snaps shut when triggered. Place these traps along rat runways, which are typically found along walls. Bait the traps with food like peanut butter or bacon.
– Electronic traps: These traps deliver an electric shock to rats, instantly killing them. They are an efficient and humane alternative to traditional snap traps.
– Glue traps: Glue traps are adhesive sheets that rats get stuck to. Although controversial due to their inhumane nature, they can be effective in capturing rats. It’s essential to monitor and dispose of trapped rats quickly and in a humane manner.
2. Poison baits:
– Rodenticides: Rodenticides are rat poisons available in various forms such as pellets, blocks, and liquid. These baits contain substances that are lethal to rats. It’s crucial to follow the instructions carefully to ensure safe use and to prevent accidental ingestion by pets or children. Keep in mind that rodenticides can take some time to be effective, as rats may take the bait back to their nests before succumbing to the poison.
– Natural alternatives: There are also natural rat repellents and deterrents available, such as peppermint oil, mothballs, and ammonia. These substances have a strong scent that rats dislike, and using them strategically around your house may deter rats from entering.
3. Sanitation and cleanliness:
– Eliminate food sources: Rats are attracted to easily accessible food. Ensure that all food is stored in airtight containers and promptly clean up any spills or crumbs. Secure garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.
– Remove clutter: Rats seek out cluttered areas where they can hide and build nests. Declutter your home, yard, and outdoor storage areas to minimize potential hiding spots.
– Maintain cleanliness: Regularly clean your home, paying particular attention to areas where rats might be nesting, such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Vacuum floors and upholstery to remove any traces of food.
4. Ultrasonic devices:
– Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to human ears but can be irritating to rats. These devices are not always effective on their own, but they can be used as a supplementary measure in conjunction with other rat control methods.
5. Seeking professional help:
– If the rat infestation persists or if you are uncomfortable dealing with the problem on your own, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional pest control company. These professionals are trained to assess the extent of the infestation and employ the most effective methods for eradication.
Remember to always prioritize safety when dealing with rat infestations. Follow instructions carefully, wear protective gear if necessary, and keep children and pets away from the areas where traps or poisons have been set.
In conclusion, addressing a rat infestation requires a combination of preventive measures, proper sanitation, and choosing the most effective rat control methods. By understanding rat behavior and following expert tips, you can successfully get rid of rats and create a rodent-free environment in your home.