Like their mice cousins, rats are a serious concern for homeowners and apartment dwellers. Not only do they carry and spread disease, but they create unsanitary conditions impossible for humans to live in safely.
If you’ve spotted a rat or suspect they’re living nearby, here are a few steps on getting rid of the destructive rodent far from your property:
Use Your Senses to Find Where They Are
Rats can often be heard in attics, walls, and crawlspaces making their way from food sources to their colony, which makes them easy to track and determine their whereabouts.
Rats will also urinate and defecate to mark their territory, enabling you to sniff them out. It also makes it easier to be on the lookout for droppings.
Visually, the easiest way to tell if rats are around is to look for items that have been chewed up. Rats are constantly teething and therefore always in need of things to chew on. Paper and plastic are the usual targets, but they can also go through wood and metals.
If sealing food isn’t enough, search out their entry points and block them with wire mesh and poisonous caulk. Look for cracks, crevices, and holes in the walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows for signs of rat entry. Although rats are larger than mice, they can still get through small openings, so don’t underestimate them as potential entry points.
Remove the Source of Attraction
Rats infiltrate homes for one reason and that is to find food. If you regularly leave food out on the kitchen table or keep your trash bins uncovered, it’s not hard to see why rats would be attracted to your home.
Keep all food in airtight containers and store them in the fridge or sealed pantry doors. Wipe up any spills and crumbs on the countertops and floors and take out the trash frequently while remembering to shut the lid tightly. The more difficult you make it for rats to find food, the more they’re discouraged from seeking your home in the first place.
Even after setting up preventative measures and sealing the borders, you may need to resort to simply killing rats when you see them. Rat traps are the most common to get rid of rats, as well as one of the cheapest. They are similar to mouse snap traps, only stronger and kill the rats by luring them in and releasing the snap.
Glue traps can also stop rats in their tracks until you dispose them separately. You can also place rodent baits with boric acid that can be ingested, taken back the colony, and spread to kill several rats at once.
Be sure to strategize where you’re setting up the rat traps. It may take a few weeks before you can pinpoint where rats are getting in and out of and to trap them in place. Even then, most traps available in stores only target a handful of rats at once, which is counterproductive when you have a rat infestation. For larger-scale rat problems, call a professional pest exterminator to resolve the underlying issues of why rats are in your home.