Rats have plagued human society over the centuries. They can be the cause for contamination of foods, they can destroy property, and they can act as hosts for insects which in turn transmit disease.
There are two key rat species in the United States that are particularly bothersome: Namely roof rats, otherwise known as black rats, mostly to be found in coastal locales, and Norway rats, which populate the entire country.
Roof rats are frequently to be found in attics, and consume foods such as fruit and vegetables, whereas, Norway rats generally make a home at ground level and have a preference for fish and meats.
Rats can penetrate almost any material, and a tiny opening no larger than the size of a quarter is plenty enough for them to enter your home.
It’s never a fun task to have to rid your home of a rat infestation, but a small-sized infestation should not be overly difficult to deal with, providing you take appropriate steps with respect to prevention and extermination. Make no mistake, however, as larger infestation should always be left to the professional to deal with.
How to Get Rid of Rats That Have Made a Home in Your Home
Eradicate their sources of food and shelter.
Though rats do have a preference for certain foods, they’ll still consume almost anything. Search around your property, both indoors and out, for foods that rats might eat and for places they could choose to hide. In the exterior premises, attractive food sources include squirrel and bird feeders, piles of compost, pet food, and areas where waste is regularly disposed of.
Inside your home, be sure to clean up well after meals, maintain food in containers that are tightly sealed, and dispose of any garbage in appropriately sealed trash cans.
Though these measures alone will not see off a rat infestation, abiding by the rules will make your home far less appealing.
Find points of entry.
A rat only requires an opening of equal size to its head for it to find a way into your home.
Have a walk around your property’s exterior, and search for any potential points of entry. Pay particular attention to areas around vents, under doorways, and any point of entry for wiring and plumbing. Also, check for gaps in your siding.
Block points of access.
Anyplace you find potential rodent entryways into your home, you’ll need to ensure these are sealed. You can use steel wool or steel screen mesh, together with caulk to fill any gaps found in exterior walls, and door sweeps and weather stripping can be used for gaps below exterior doorways. All of these materials can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Keep shrubbery and tree branches away from your home’s exterior, as this also proves a worthy point of access for rats. And do be aware that rats make for adept climbers and can jump almost four feet vertically, thus, any openings near your attic should be completely sealed, too.
Plan of attack.
Should you already have a rat infestation within your home, you need to create a plan of attack.
It’s possible that during your house cleaning duties, you’ve noticed a rodent runway, which is easily recognized by rat droppings or perhaps by brown streaking along the baseboards. This is where you’ll want to position your traps.
Trap the rats.
Rats are renowned for their pleasure of peanut butter, and this makes for a valid trapping material, given that it does not spoil rapidly. Place the traps along the runways but don’t set them, merely bait them. Rats will become hesitant if one is killed in a trap, so, once they are comfortable taking the bait, set the traps and wait.
If the infestation is small, it’s likely that all the rats will be exterminated within a week, perhaps less. Should it be a sizable infestation, it’s an appropriate time to call in the services of a professional.
Sanitize the area.
Make sure you put on a thick pair or latex gloves prior to sanitation, and dispose of them afterwards. Use a suitable disinfectant to spray the entire area and allow this to sit for five or ten minutes. Then, use a rag to clean up.
Disinfect anything and everything that might have been contaminated by the rats, inclusive of flooring, carpeting, cabinetry, countertops, and furnishings. Carpeting and furniture is best steam cleaned, and any clothing that might have been contaminated should be washed using hot water and heat dried.