Despite all of the technology developed to get rid of rats in a "cleaner" fashion, the tried and true method of rat elimination has usually been traps.
Read the reviews of common rat traps to see which would work best in your particular situation. Traps aren't perfect and there is no one-stop solution, but they can help you track down the source of a rat infestation and eliminate the problem step by step.
Snap traps rely on springs to set off the bar that snaps the rat into place. Not only are they inexpensive, but easy to set up. All you have to do is pull the snap bar back and place a piece of food as bait.
One downside of using snap traps is that you still have to dispose the rat yourself. Also, snap traps are set up to kill one rat at a time, which means it won't have as much of an impact in eliminating the infestation as a whole.
Wire Cage Traps
Wire cage traps are a great alternative for homeowners who are hesitant to dispose dead rats on their own. They use the same concept as snap traps in using bait to lure rats close, but instead of killing the rat, wire cages shut a door behind the rat once it has gone inside. Because the rats remain alive, you can then transport it elsewhere to get rid of it.
Some of the downsides of wire cage traps are that they are more expensive than other types of traps. They're also more cumbersome to set up, as it requires a large enough cage to not make rats suspicious of entering. Like the snap trap, it also tends to trap one rat at a time, leaving you with an infestation still in your hands.
Electronic traps are designed to kill rats by delivering an electric shock once the rat enters it. The major advantage of electronic traps is the more humane manner in which rats are killed. They also keep the rat inside for easy disposal. However, they are more expensive than others and again, do nothing about the larger infestation at hand.
Glue-covered cardboard strips trap rats as they travel across the floor. It is meant to hold the rats firmly in place until it starves itself to death or is disposed alive. This is another inexpensive option homeowners can use and one that is commonly sold alongside snap traps, so they're easy to find. But if you are averse to the idea of disposing the rat alive, then it may be better to use another type of trap.
Tips for Setting Up Rat Traps
Place traps where rats or signs of them have been seen. Rats usually follow the same paths, which are called runways. Inside homes, these usually end up being along the walls.
The kind of bait you use on the traps can make a big difference in the amount of rats you catch. Peanut butter is one option. Rub it thoroughly into a wad of gauze that is well-secured to the trap. The gauze can help trap the rodent by entangling its teeth. Sardines, bacon squares, and whole nuts have also been tested with significant results. Whatever you use, replace the bait frequently, as rats are not enticed by rancid or old food.
You can also set up rat traps with rat poison to encourage the process, although this can leave certain areas of your home in hazardous state. Make sure children and pets are kept away from areas where traps have been set up and poisons have been applied.
Catching rats isn't fun, but with the help of traps you can speed up the process in getting rid of rats from your home for good.