Rats in the house can be a serious issue. Unfortunately, you may not notice rat signs until there is a large infestation, at which point it becomes more difficult to eradicate the rats. Rats and other rodents can cause a lot of damage, contaminate food, and spread disease.
The roof rat and the Norway rat are the two most common rat pests in North America. Roof rats are small, weighing only 7 ounces, with slender bodies and a smooth grey coat. They’re also distinguished by their pointed snouts and large, hairless ears. Norway rats have shaggy brown coats, blunt snouts, thick bodies, and short dark-haired ears. They weigh about 11 ounces and have shaggy brown coats, blunt snouts, thick bodies, PestControl Glasgow services and short dark-haired ears.
snap trap for rats
Michelle Becker / The Spruce
How to Get Rid of Rats in Three Easy Steps
Controlling rats is similar to controlling mice, but on a larger scale. Traps are widely used and, in most cases, effective if they are not simply set and forgotten. Rat traps must be inspected on a regular basis because they are designed to kill and/or capture the pest. A dead or dying rat, or a food bait, can attract secondary insects and cause an infestation. Rat traps should be placed in areas where rat signs can be seen as well as in out-of-the-way, hidden locations, such as attics or basements near food sources. Unlike mousetraps, rat traps are much larger and more dangerous. Always keep traps out of reach of children or pets who could set them off.
Rat-sized wooden or plastic traps can be very effective at killing rats and are the most cost-effective option. When catching a rat with a snap trap, make sure to use one that is labelled for rat control. The small mouse traps are unlikely to kill or hold the rat, and instead may injure it in an inhumane manner.
Traps that are alive
The natural tendency of rodents to investigate and wiggle into holes is exploited by live traps. The rodent can get in but not out of these traps. This is frequently accomplished using a touch-activated wind-up mechanism. When the rodent enters the hole, the mechanism snaps it to the trap’s other side, where it is caught. These traps must be inspected and emptied on a regular basis. Furthermore, once captured, the rodent must be humanely killed or released in a location where it will not reenter the house or cause harm to others.
Bait Stations are a type of bait station that is used to
Bait stations are self-contained, enclosed devices that contain a rodenticide in the form of a block or paste. Due to the risk of accidental poisoning of children and pets, pellets and other loose forms of rodenticide are not approved for consumer use. 1. The rat is not caught by the station. Rather, it contains a rodenticide that attracts the rodent to the station’s entrance. The rat enters the station, eats some of the bait, and then dies through the station’s exit hole (hopefully outdoors away from the house, but this is not always the case). Because the bait is contained entirely within the station, it is safe from accidental contact or ingestion by children or non-target animals. There are refillable and non-refillable stations, and rodenticide must be sold with the station; it cannot be purchased separately.
Watch Now: How to Get Rid of Rats in Your House at 4:09
rodenticide tablets and rat trap
Michelle Becker / The Spruce
Rats: What Causes Them?
Rats and mice are drawn to homes for the same reasons mice are: food and shelter. They’re always looking for a good place to hide out, and they’re always hungry. Rats will find food (including human and pet food) if it is readily available, and they will want to stay. Rats, like mice, prefer to hide in the shadows and usually gain access to a home through holes or cracks in the basement, foundation, or garage. Rats can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter or slightly smaller than one inch. Roof rats live in high places and frequently enter homes through tree branches that extend over roofs.
Rats multiply by having babies once they have established a nest in your home. Rats have multiple nests and form family units that include a male, multiple females, and any new babies. They can start reproducing at three months of age and live for a year on average.
How to Keep Rats Out of Your House
The best way to keep rats out of your room is to make it as uninviting and inhospitable as possible. Holes and gaps in walls, as well as along the eaves of the roof, are alluring. Their favourite forms of hospitality are plentiful food and water. While you can’t completely prevent rats from entering your home (they’re cunning, persistent, and physically strong), you can make it less appealing by sealing holes, cracks, gaps, and other potential entrances in exterior walls, soffits, roof vents, chimneys, and any other element that leads to a safe haven. Patch large holes with galvanised hardware cloth, plywood, cement board, siding, or other exterior-rated material, and fill small gaps with expanding spray foam. Damaged or missing crawlspace and attic vents are another easy entry point into a home; cover these with hardware cloth.
Remove any leaves or debris piles from your home’s exterior, especially those near the house, and keep all garbage in covered cans. Tree limbs should be pruned away from the roof and exterior walls. Keep firewood stacks away from the house.
Keep pet food in sealed containers, repair leaky outdoor faucets, eliminate puddled water (which also breeds mosquitoes), and keep the house clean to eliminate potential food and water sources for rats. If you don’t want to keep food out in the open or in the refrigerator, put it in covered bins. Rats are attracted to long-term food storage caches.
How Do I Know If My House Is Infested With Rats?
The following are signs of rat presence:
Rats, alive or dead
Droppings, particularly near human or pet food, or in or near trash cans
Scratching sounds from the attic, for example, can be heard in the dark.
In hidden areas, there are nests or piles of nesting materials.
Evidence of wire gnawing or structural wood gnawing
Burrows in the yard, under the house, and in the outbuildings
Trees with gnawed fruits
Rodent hairs along paths, in nests, or near food, or smudge marks on walls
Rats can either set off the traps themselves (without getting caught in them) or eat the mice caught in the traps that have snapped.
Roof Rats: Where Do They Hide/Travel?
This rat is most likely to be found in higher places and on higher levels of the house, as its name suggests. Their excrement is shaped like a spindle. Traps should be placed in the attic, along shelves and ledges, and next to rafters in the roof. Roof rats prefer to build their nests in the attic’s insulation and hollows, such as where the rafters meet the exterior walls.
Where Do Norway Rats Lay Their Eggs/Travel?
The Norway rat is more of a roof rat than a climber. It travels and builds its nest in low-lying areas such as basements, under piles of debris, and in the lower levels of a home. Traps should be hidden in plain sight, along walls, in dark corners, and so on. The droppings of the Norway rat are capsule-shaped.