They may look cute in TV cartoons, but rats are the last thing you want running around your house! Unfortunately, rats are one of the general household pests seen all over the country and they can be very difficult to get rid of. If you suspect your home may have been infested with rats, it’s vital that you do everything you can to get them out before they have a chance to do much damage.
Rats Pose a Health Risk
Rats are one pest you cannot afford to ignore. These rodents are much larger than mice with some species even reaching 18” in length. The two most common types that infest homes in the U.S. are Norway rats and Roof rats. Norway rats are the largest and can be anywhere from 10” to 18”. They have a long body with a short tail. Roof rats grow no larger than 10” and their tail is longer than their body. This is how you can tell the difference.
Rats can make themselves at home in your attic or basement, between your walls and in your cupboards. They’re happy anywhere inside and they can easily gain access because they can somehow squeeze their body through a hole the size of a quarter. How they damage your home is by eating through plumbing. They spread disease with their droppings and by biting you. This is why you can’t waste any time eradicating a rat infestation.
Rats Leave Telltale Signs
If there’s a rat in your home or an entire infestation, there should be signs. You may see some droppings that are much larger than what mice leave behind. Bags containing food or garbage may have holes chewed through them. If you examine your plumbing, you may notice tiny bite marks on the metal pipes.
But if you actually see a rat, you’ll know for sure that you have a problem. Once you recover from the shock, you need to know that if there’s one there could be many more.
Humane Ways to Get Rid of Rats
There are ways of getting rid of rats in a humane manner. It’s always best to keep the rodent’s stress to a minimum if you can. Here are a couple of options you can try:
Trap it Live
You can try setting a live rat trap. You can buy one in some pet stores or get one from the local humane society. You need to follow the instructions, but most tell you to place some food, like cheese or crackers in the trap and then set it. The trap is designed for the door to slam shut once the rat enters to get the food. This way the rat is trapped inside and can’t hurt anyone. You can then take the trap outside and let the rat go. You can continue doing this until all the rats are caught and released.
Use a Liquid Deterrent
You can also make sure all food sources are tightly sealed up, so rats have no way to get at it. Also, make a liquid deterrent by making a mixture of olive oil, garlic, horseradish and cayenne pepper flakes. Poor this mixture into a spray bottle, shake and spray your pipes and all other areas where you can see their tiny bite marks.
To keep rats from getting into your home, or from coming back once you’ve gotten them out, tightly seal all entry points. Remember, rats can compress themselves down to squeeze through a hole no larger than a quarter. So, make sure you carefully inspect your home and find every last crack or hole that they could possibly get through.
It’s also vital that you do not leave any trash they could gain access to. Make sure all your trash cans have tight fitting lids, especially if you’re keeping them outside. If there’s no way to get inside and nothing to eat, the neighborhood rats will move on to the next house.
Getting rid of a rat infestation is never easy. If you’ve tried all the suggestions in this article and still see signs of one or more rats in your home, it’s time to call a reputable pest control service.