What are the Best Rat Control Methods?
When you realize the shocking truth- you’ve got a rat in the house! – you probably frantically googled to find out exactly how to get rid of it.
You want that rat gone now! But how??? There are many methods for rodent control and removal, and some are not as effective as others. You don’t want to waste time, energy, and money trying some scheme that isn’t likely to work.
Check out these proven methods for getting rid of rats. With some background knowledge, the right strategy and resources, you’ll be able to tackle your rat problem successfully.
Get To Know Your Enemy
Effective rat control requires knowing what you’re up against. Rats are not just dirty, annoying pests. They are however, crafty, resourceful, and smart creatures. They are not to be underestimated!
Familiarize yourself with these key rat traits. Knowing more about how rats live and behave will help you get rid of them.
- Rats are nocturnal and have poor eyesight. However, they have a keen sense of smell, taste, and sound.
- Physically, rats are larger than mice, with coarser fur and noticeably bigger heads and feet.
- The most common residential rat species are the Roof rat which thrives in upper attic spaces, and the Norway rat, which inhabits low living spaces, like the basement.
Rat Habits & Lifestyle
- Rats are excellent diggers. They are known to burrow under buildings and fences.
- The average lifespan of a rat is 1- 1 ½ years.
- Rats crave warm spaces, which is why they are attracted to your attic.
- Although larger than mice, rats can maneuver easily throughout your living space. They can enter through a hole that is only ½ inch in diameter!
- Rats normally stay close to their nest, within 300 ft.
Check for Signs of Rats Outside First
If you’re lucky, you can get a handle on your rat situation before it even moves inside your property. The best strategies for rat control begin outside!
You are probably familiar with the holes that moles and gophers are known for making that will absolutely destroy a well-manicured lawn. But unlike moles and gophers, rats are perfectly comfortable living in close quarters with people and their ultimate goal is to get inside.
Photo courtesy of critter-repellant.com
It is a little-known fact that rats are very adept burrowers themselves. The difference is, a rat will only tunnel about 18 inches below ground level. Their burrowing holes are small and are not as deep, or elaborate as the tunneling systems that gophers and moles create.
If you’re planting shrubs or raking up dead leaves and break through shallow, small burrowed holes, you may have spotted your first sign that a rat is in your yard.
Rats also have a habit of gnawing on just about any material they can get their teeth on. They can chew through tough materials- even some concrete! If you spot gnaw marks on your shed, the woodpile, on exterior vents, or other possible home entry access points, there’s a sure sign that a rat is in the yard somewhere.
So maybe you recognize some of these signs? Then it’s time to locate where the rat is hiding in your yard.
There are several stakes out spots in your yard that rats can comfortably camp out in while they plot how to get inside. What rats really seek out above all else is a food and water source. They even enjoy dark and damp spaces. So it’s actually no surprise that the woodpile is one of their favorite hiding spots. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably stacked your wood pile right up against the house for convenient access.
The woodpile will catch and collect rain, giving rats a water source. Rats will wriggle their way into the nooks and crannies of the stacked wood and find a comfortable spot to nest. All the while, they’re checking the exterior of your house that the wood is stacked against for weak spots that they can gnaw through to get in!
Be proactive and move your woodpile at least 20 feet away from the house. Contact your local rat control specialists to do a walk through and make sure your home wasn’t compromised!
Next on the inspection list: your shed. It’s a top pick for a rat nesting ground. It’s dark and isolated, and also collects standing rainwater around it. Sheds are commonly used for storage, and rats will go town burrowing, gnawing, and nesting in storage containers if they get the chance.
Do you keep your garbage can outside? Then you’re probably feeding the rat! Don’t attract rats- empty garbage regularly and keep your garbage canisters secured with tight lids! Finally, don’t feed the birds. Rats can survive on very little- even the bird seed leftovers on the ground.
Take Control and Keep Rats Out
Whether you’ve got rats on the outside or inside of your property, you’ll never be rid of them until you secure the exterior of your home and keep them for good. Follow these steps carefully to rat-proof your home.
Carefully evaluate the exterior of your home. Rodents enter attics through small, weather-worn holes or openings such as vents and chimney pipes. Bear in mind that rats can enter through a hole that is only ½ inch in diameter!
To effectively keep rats out, begin by walking the perimeter of your home. Inspect carefully, and find and seal any spots in your home’s outer walls that could be an entry point.
Rodents are crafty, intelligent, and determined creatures. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. They will take advantage of any weakness on your property.
Take precautions and guard your home by looking for any holes in your roofing. To do this, lift up damaged shingles and pry out the nails underneath. The damaged shingles will slide out. Underneath you’ll need to repair the hole in the roof, then replace the old shingles with new ones. You can use roof cement to securely reinforce the new nails.
Photo courtesy of Wildlife Control Supplies
Other repairs you may need to consider are vent covers and a chimney cap. If you have uncovered vents or chimneys you’re practically inviting rodents inside your house! This is a relatively easy fix, but it is important to use a cover made of wire, not mesh, to keep rodents out.
Rat Control Inside the Home
If a rat has made its way inside, the most important rat control method you can do is cut off its food supply. The rodent can sniff out a snack from a mile away and can chew through ziplock bags or cardboard containers. They are attracted to fresh grains- cereal, granola bars, and bread, to name a few. So store these items in airtight tupperware containers.
Crumbs on the counter, dirty dishes, and pantry access are all part of a rodent’s paradise. Don’t make your home attractive or sustainable for rodents. Clean up the mess! Wipe down counters and do dishes daily.
You can also try laying traps and using rat repellants. There are many products on the market, but good old snap traps are highly effective.
Be cautioned- traps and repellents can be harmful and pose a risk to pets and small children living in the home. Even more dangerous are rodenticides! Rat poison is just that- poison. This rat control method is not worth the health risk it poses to your family. There are green rat control alternatives that are just as effective.
Rat control can be difficult, but the greatest success happens when you team up with professionals for a thorough consultation and plan of action. The team at Green Rat Control have been providing top-notch rodent proofing services for years. Take back control and stop rats before they become a major problem.
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