A rat infestation can be a big problem. It may be visible to people only when the infestation increases in huge numbers and such a state that it becomes difficult to get rid of the rats. These pests may not seem too dangerous but the damage they cause is too much. This includes carrying disease-causing germs, contaminating food, etc.
House rats can be of varying sizes. Some may be large in size who are easily visible when they run from one place to another. Whereas small rats rarely come insights and make it difficult to spot them. You won’t be able to pinpoint them unless you track their presence closely. Whichever rat it is, the damage caused by them will be the same.
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What causes rat infestation?
Rats are attracted to a house for mainly two reasons: shelter and food. If your house has these two things to provide, then you won’t have to worry about anything; the rats will find their way to your place. Especially during the winter and rainy season, rats come looking for a cozy place to settle and food whether it be pet or human food.
This is possible only when you provide them the inlet to your house. The cracks and holes in the house are what they look for to get inside the place. If you don’t fill them up soon, these creatures will find their way inside. They are experts in finding these areas and can fit through them easily. Even the holes of a size of a quarter can accommodate them. Once they get inside, your house becomes theirs. Your food, things, clothes, books, and other chewable items are intruded on by them.
Rats are very accommodating and improvise almost everything. They can come inside the house through the tree branches. Yes, through the tree branches, onto the roof, and into the house. Once they get comfortable in your home, the next thing they do is breed. At one time rats can give birth to 4-6 babies, depending upon their sizes. Their family consists of one male, multiple females, and babies. You will be surprised to know that these creatures can start reproducing at the age of 3 months and go on to live for one year.
Ways to get rid of rats
The only way of getting rid of these pests is by trapping or killing them. When they are infesting a place on a large scale, trapping is the best option. Traps are used when you can stay alert at all times. The rat traps are so designed that they need to be inspected regularly. As they are designed to capture or kill the rats, you can’t avoid them, or else the food bait or dying rat will attract secondary insects and pests as well.
The traps should be set where there are too many activities by the rats. It can be hidden areas such as a basement, attics, or kitchen cabinets that are often used. Even though the rat traps are more dangerous and larger than mousetraps, one must use them properly to get rid of the rats at home. Make sure that it is kept away from pets and kids to protect them from any harm.
Plastic and wooden rat-sized traps are there for killing the rats effectively. Apart from getting your rat problem solved, it is one of the cheap options to deal with rat infestation. Using a larger trap that is labeled for controlling rats is the right method. If you use a small rat trap this will simply injure the rat and not hold or kill them. So, one must think clearly while buying one.
As the name suggests, live traps follow the natural behavior of rats to investigate and wiggle inside the holes. The rodents will get in them but won’t be able to get out. The live traps are based on the wind-up mechanism which is triggered by the touch. The rats and rodents will get inside the hole and the mechanism will snap on the other side. This will trap the rat inside and not allow it to come out.
Before using, inspect them regularly and be sure that they are empty as required. The advantage of using this bait is that the rat can be captured safely, later you can either kill it or leave it somewhere far off without harming the rat. This will instill fear in their heart and they won’t re-enter your house.
Self-contained, and enclosed devices, the bait stations contain rodenticide in paste or block form. As pellets or loose forms are hardly approved by consumers, this seems like a very good idea. There is a risk of getting pets and children accidentally poisoned, so it is better to avoid any loose or pellet forms of rodenticide.
Bait stations are not used for trapping the rats but lure them into the station to eat the paste. The rats reach the entrance, eat the bait, and exits through the hole. Later it dies. You may hope for the rat or mice to die outside. The advantage of this bait is that the poison is enclosed in a box that will not allow any kind of accidental contact with the pets and kids.
You got two options here: one is refillable and the other one is non-refillable stations. The rodenticide comes with the package and you can’t buy it separately.
How to prevent rats from coming in?
As mentioned earlier, the rats come into your house in search of two things. If you remove them and make your house inhospitable and uninviting for them, you can prevent them from coming inside and infesting the place. The gaps and holes in the walls should be treated properly. The leakage and other sorts of pests should not be in your place.
One pest comes and others tag along. If you have too much food and water in the house, there is no doubt that you will soon enough find rats coming in. This is something that makes your house hospitable for them. These creatures are very witty and know how to find ways to your house efficiently. There is no way you can rat-proof your place completely. So, the first way to do is to bring in a professional to inspect the house. The team will tell you if the house has any drawbacks or if there is anything to be repaired.
According to their suggestions, you can make adjustments and seal off the areas from where they can come in. With the use of expanding spray foams, you can fill in the small gaps which can otherwise become home for these pests. Cement, plywood, and hardcore cloth or metal can be used to seal off the holes. The false ceiling, vents, chimneys, and such place placed should be checked regularly. Get them to be cleaned and add wire mesh to avoid the entrance of these pests.
You should also check out the missing or damaged crawlspace, attic vents, etc., and cover them up as even an inch of place will give them an invitation to come inside and feel at home. Apart from that clean the house regularly. Not just the interior but the exterior as well. Remove leaves, piles of debris, garbage, away from the house. Do cut the tree limbs once in a while so that, they don’t touch the exterior of the house. This makes it easy for the rats to come through the roof. The stacks of firewood must be kept away from the house for several good reasons as well.
Water sources and potential food, the pet food should be kept sealed away in an airtight container. If you can take out the garbage every now and then and clean the bin occasionally there won’t be much problem dealing with the rat infestation.
Let’s answer some of the common questions that occasionally arise in the reader’s mind.
Q: How to know if my house has rat infestation?
It is very tricky to check for pest infestation. Just look for these signs of pest infestation and you would know if you are having rats sharing your house.
- Dead or live rats
- Scuttering sound of rats running around at night.
- You will rat droppings, especially around food or near the trash can. It is most often seen in the kitchen.
- Scratching sounds will be heard at night.
- Piles of nesting materials and the nest will be hidden well in gaps and covered spaces.
- Gnawed marks on wood, furniture, wires, etc.
- If you have a garden, the burrows there are a clear indication of rat infestation.
- Fruits will have gnawed marks.
- If you place mousetrap, and it is shut without any signs of the mouse, then that means you have rats running around in the house.
- Smudge marks along with the place, rodent’s hair is all a clear indication of rat infestation.
Looking at these signs, you better call for a professional pest control team to the scene.
Q: Are glue boards effective in catching rats?
Not always. Glue boards are known to be an effective tool in rat control but if the rats are larger in size then they can pull themselves out of it very easily. In the end, you will just have too much mess in your hands and the rat problem will persist. It is not only troublesome but also dangerous if you have kids at home.
Q: What can be used as bait to trap the rats?
If you have a pet at home, you would know how it attracts rats. You can use them as bait to trap the rats in your house. If not that you can also use dried meat such as bacon, dried fruits, etc. Attach these to the trap using a thread, glue, or wire. Now you may want to use soft baits such as cheese or peanut butter but you must know that they are not effective always. The rats can often pull out these baits without triggering the snap of the trap.