Rat infestation can be a nightmare as rats are famed for their destructive capacities. They will not only ruin your home, they will also spread dangerous diseases threatening your health and that of your family. Considering that rats also multiply quickly, you will want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
You can get rid of rats by keeping your home clean, sealing holes and trapping the rats using the right baits. Bacon, peanut butter, meat, and cereals are great baits to use for your rat trap. You can also use repellants to keep rats from your property.
Rats are resilient and highly intelligent rodents. Your approach in ridding them will vary depending on whether you are dealing with roof rats or Norway rats. The method you used successfully in getting rats out of your attic may not work if attempted in ridding your garage of rats.
How to Get Rid of Rats in Attic
Unlike Norway rats which will stay in your basement or sewers, the roof rat is more accustomed to staying in warm areas like your attic. You tell their presence in your attic when you notice persistent squealing and scurrying noises in your attic. This is prevalent at night.
These rats also scratch in your attic, walls as well as rat dropping scattered everywhere. Attic rats are also notorious for chewing electrical wires. These rats are persevering and will squeeze into the tiniest holes they can sneak through into your roof. Rats get more desperate to get into the attic for improved warmth during the cold winter.
Attic rats could cause significant damage to your home; they breed rapidly further posing health risks to you and your family. Once you confirm the presence of rats in your attic, you should urgently handle it as it can degenerate into a full-blown infestation.
There are several ways to get rid of rats in the attic. However, if you resort to using strobe lights, ammonia, ultrasonic sound emitters, or mothballs, you may not attain tangible success. The first concrete step is to seal up the holes and gaps through which they penetrate your attic. You can now bait your traps and set them in the attic. Note that using poisonous baits for rats is highly frowned at. You can use vegetables, bacon, or peanut butter as your bait.
There is also the option of using snap traps or cage traps to catch the rats. Humane lethal traps are the most effective way to take care of rat menace as cage traps may not do much to solve the crisis permanently. This is because rats are generally perceived as rodents with meager chances of release, rehabilitation, or relocation. This is why snap traps are recommended. You can set such traps in commonly frequented pathways of the rats in your attic.
There are a variety of lethal traps to use. The most common are the crocodile traps where the trap is triggered to grip the rat, killing it. There are also glue traps which we would be touching on later. However, they are not the most humane options to get rid of the rats in your attic.
How can you be sure you have gotten rid of the rats in the attic? You can know if you no longer hear sounds in your attic, neither see scratches nor chewed wires after a while. When this occurs, repair all damages, take off any nesting materials to avoid attracting the rats again, vacuum the rat droppings, and fumigate the attic.
How to Get Rid of Rats in Yard
Norway or brown rats are commonly seen in your home and your yard. They will damage your plants, your garden, your flowers, and contaminate your plants and vegetables. More than this, these rats can further spread diseases to your pets and even your family. They should be gotten rid of quickly.
One effective way of ridding your yard of rats is taking off any shelter that can harbor them in your yard. Therefore, it is vital to rid your yard of dense shrubbery, ground cover, nesting sites, compost pile, and other concealed areas or crevices where the rats can hide.
If you have firewood stacks in your yard, it is recommended to raise them from the ground. It is also crucial to close up all the identified holes to your building. Such sealing material could be steelwool, concrete, or even metal flashing.
We know it is a common habit of rats to ransack your garbage cans for food. Therefore, it would be helpful if you can seal such outdoor trash bins with covers that fit tightly. Another useful tip is to avoid feeding your pets in your yard. The crumbs or leftovers will always attract rats. Should it be necessary to feed your pet outdoors, make sure you don’t keep the feeding bowl outside after the meal.
Now that you have taken such crucial measures to dissuade rats from thriving in your yard, you can now set your traps. The baits remain as we recommended for attic rats. So your peanut butter, fruits, and bacon are good enough. Depending on whether you are using snap traps or cage traps, you can set as many as eight to ten baited traps strategically around your yard.
Your best locations are where the rats regularly pass. This can be told from where you usually see rat droppings or urine. This could also be around favored locations near nest sites, burros or walls. Once again, snap traps are your best options.
While poisonous baits can kill the rat by immediate death or provoking lethal internal bleeding for about a week after ingestion, they are not recommended because of possible contact with pets and toddlers. The danger of such poisonous baits (in case of inadvertent harm) can be reduced by using closed poison bait units with tiny entrances only befitting for rats to crawl in. Don’t also forget that in case the poisoned rat is not immediately killed, it could go into hiding and die. The smell of putrefaction in this scenario can be disturbing.
Make sure to check your traps whether cage traps or snap chats constantly. Take note that the traps may not immediately catch the rats. Rats are intelligent animals who are naturally suspicious of changes to their typical habitat or new things. They may take some time to get used to the sight of the trap to feel safe enough to approach it. These could take about three days. Then the traps will start working.
It is unhealthy to touch trapped rats with your bare hands. Use disposable gloves after which you can seal the rats in a plastic bag, disposing of them in your garbage bin. Now you can use the trap again by baiting it again and locating it.
How to Get Rats Out Of the Garage
Aside from your yard, rats could also ravage your garage. The fact that the garage is relatively secluded with a more favorable temperature makes it more appealing for rats. Just like before, rats will announce themselves in your garage with their droppings, bedding material, their urine and even stench of decomposing dead rats. Here are again, rat traps are the way out not poison.
You can use live cage traps. This is suitable when you don’t want to instantly kill the rats but wish to preserve them and possibly relocate them. When you use live cage traps, it is mandatory that you regularly check the trap to avoid a scenario of a trapped rat suffering death by starvation. Traps in the garage should be conspicuous with appealing baits that the rat will quickly notice.
The disadvantage of using such live cage traps in your garage is the survival rate of such relocated rats is very low. Such relocated rats may not only further constitute nuisance elsewhere, they may also be denied of food, family, shelter, and warmth.
These considerations make us to again endorse snap traps for taking care of the rats in your garage. It is not easy for rats to evade the lethal traps. These traps are more humane, killing quickly and painlessly than poison.
How to Get a Rat Out Of Your Bedroom
One of the worst places to have rats is your bedroom. They will disturb your peace almost making your bedroom inhabitable. The noises and squeaks they make can be truly unsettling, especially during the night when you should be enjoying your deserved rest. They can also breed quickly in your bedroom. How can you solve this?
Aside from the live and snap traps, you can also use one-way exclusion funnels. This strategy involves leaving just one hole (preferably the most notable) and sealing all the other entry points. Now for this remaining hole, you will install the one-way exclusion funnel at the exterior of this hole. Any rat that passes this funnel out of the house will not be able to come back in anymore.
You can use this funnel till you notice a cessation in the symptoms of the rats in your bedroom like the noise and rat droppings and urine. Once you are convinced you have fully gotten rid of the rats from your bedroom, take off the funnel and permanently seal this hole. If this doesn’t work, you can also use glue traps. Such glue traps involve getting the rats stuck utilizing a strong adhesive possibly as they try to run over it or take a bait from it.
Their body or their paws can stick them to the glue traps. This adhesive can arrest them for weeks, depending on its strength. This would mean the rats dying from lack of water or food if you don’t find them out quickly enough. Glue traps shouldn’t be your first option, as they are not the most compassionate approach.
Lastly, you can take the ultimate option of getting a cat to come and police your bedroom. Cats are natural hunters of rats. Rats are smart enough to avoid your bedroom when they confirm the established presence of a strong predator like the cat. The cat may not all catch all the rats but would most likely scare the remnants from their hiding places in your bedroom or entire home.
The disadvantage of this approach is that while the rats may run off, they will leave behind their lingering nests and droppings. Later on, these could provoke another rat infestation. You can also use ultrasonic sound emitters which can forestall an infestation later on. You needn’t worry about the possible sound disturbances if you procure an electronic ultrasonic sound emitter that the human ears will be unable to detect.
What Attracts Rats to Your House?
Certain conditions make your home appealing and very habitable to these rodents. Notably, bird feeders attract rats to your home. Other odors like the smell coming from unclosed garbage containers, pet waste, vegetable garden waste or outdoor pet food bowls can draw in rats.
Barbeque grills are also known for pulling in rats. This odor will draw in the rats seek to find and eat the remnant of the meat on the grill. Therefore it is unwise (if you are battling rat infestation) to keep your grills outdoor with residue meat scraps strewn across it. It is better to clean your grill after using it and storing it in an out-building that is reasonably secured.
Rats love water too. Should there be leaking water sources like leaking faucets, pet water bowls around your home or waterlogged areas, you should expect rat infestation. Therefore, aside from your swimming pools, if you notice any stray sources of water adding unsolicited moisture to your home or yard, try to stop it as it would make your property more conducive and inviting to rats and other rodents.
Most importantly, wild and Norway rats can barely survive a hygienic environment as they would have so little to drink and eat. Make sure your home (interior and exterior) is clean. Avoid any food waste littered about. Make sure to protect or cover your compost bins and safeguard your vegetables and other un-harvested fruits.
Will a Rat Attack You?
A general misconception is that rats are aggressive. Stereotypes and media propaganda have made rats appear as villains who attack humans. Contrary to this, rats will not naturally attack you. Rats see humans as overpowering predators and give its all to escape when they see you. Only domesticated and trained rats are comfortable with human company.
The aggressive side of rats comes into play when they want to protect themselves or when they want to escape with you blocking the only channel out. This is why you see that rats will instinctively attack you when you corner them. Otherwise, rats are naturally hesitant to launch an attack on you. Female rats will also attack you when they sense you as a threat to your young ones. This is a common trait among animals, however.
Another popular myth is that rats will attack your throat or your neck. Agreed, rats have quite strong teeth and sharp claws, but they nonetheless have no particular preference for your throat or neck nor human flesh in general. Such attacks from rats, as explained, are instigated as self-defense. Generally, rats have poor eyesight. They will lunge for the only smallest light source which could be you in that scenario. Otherwise, rats don’t attack humans.
What If You Are Bitten By a Rat?
While rat aggression is rare, this doesn’t mean that a rat can’t bite you. Owing to the health risks associated with rat bites, it is essential to take first aid treatment immediately a rat bites or scratches you. Primarily, try to reduce the bleeding from the injury. Proceed at once to clean the face of the wound with warm water and soap. Adequately rinse all soap away to avoid irritation down the line.
Now the dress the face of the wound with dry clean material making sure to cover the surface adequately. Before dressing the injury, you can apply antibiotic ointment. If a rat bites or scratches you on the finger, leaving your rings on can provoke swelling.
Commonly, rat bites don’t result in infection as they could be treated with an antibiotic prescription from the doctor like penicillin, doxycycline, and amoxicillin.
However, there are cases where rat bites or scratches can lead to rat-bite fever (RBF) infection. This is typical when you are bitten by a rat already carrying the disease. In other cases, merely handling an infected rat can result in the IBF infection.
The Streptobacillus rat-bite fever can be ascertained from symptoms like vomiting, persistent headaches, acute pains in the joints and your back as well as fever. In other cases, the symptoms can be rashes appearing on your feet and your hand. This happens two-four days typically after the onset of the rat fever.
Rat-bite fever symptoms can take as long as three weeks to manifest. These symptoms may indeed come even sooner appearing three days after the bite or scratch incidence. The wound could have even healed before the fever comes.
There is the Spirillum Rat Bite Fever. These fever symptoms can appear a day after being bitten or scratched. It can also take as long as three weeks to show. This is common in reoccurring fevers.
How Do You Scare a Rat Out of Hiding?
Rats are very intelligent rodents, and it is not easy to quickly scare them out of their hiding or nesting sites in your home. Some deterrents can make your home less conducive for them, scaring them out.
You can use cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil and drop around your food sources. You can soak the cotton balls in clove as well, it will still work. If you can identify the specific places where rats have repeatedly been chewing, you can puree hot peppers in a blender straining the mixture.
Now get the stuff into a spray bottle and distribute the mixture uniformly across these areas where you have noticed rat chewing. Don’t do this without your gloves on to avoid skin irritation. If you have cats, bring them close to suspected nesting sites of rats. Rats can aptly discern the smell of cats and run off.
What Diseases Do Rats Carry?
Aside from the rat fever we have addressed, there several dangerous diseases rats can still carry.
LYMPHOCYTIC CHORIOMENINGITIS VIRUS (LCMV)
The house mouse prevalently carries this. The Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus is segmented into two stages of manifestation. In the first stage, the victim would suffer headaches, vomiting, nausea, and may even lose appetite. The second stage is advanced associated with neurological conditions like meningitis and meningoencephalitis.
The rice rat commonly carries this disease. This disease can turn lethal if not addressed quickly. There is no designated treatment or vaccine to combat hantavirus. Symptoms of this disease include muscle aches, specifically in the thighs and hips, fever, vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal pain.
This is historically one of the most devastating diseases that has confronted humanity. This plague (in the form of the bubonic plague) took the lives of millions of patients, especially in Europe during the Middle Age. Aside from being transferred directly by rats, the plague is also transmitted by insects associated with rats, especially via an infected flea bite.
More than the bubonic plague, there are other plague variants like the pneumonic and the septicemic plague. They all share one causative bacteria called Yersinia pestis. Plague can damage your immune system, lungs, and even disrupt normal blood circulation. If not treated promptly via the required antibiotics, it can lead to death.
How Fast Do Rats Multiply?
Rats are high breeders and in no time will rapidly multiply, causing a full-scale rate infestation. Statistically, it has been found out that a pair of rats if left to breed freely for three years, can multiply into 500 million rats! A female rat can give birth to six litters in 12 months. This can be comprised of 12 rat pups.
It takes barely four weeks for rats to get sexually mature and start reproducing on their own. This exponential growth could amount to two rats multiplying to 1,250 in 12 months and further into half a billion in 36 months!
For brown rats, in a lifetime they can have an average of 4 litters. This corresponds with an average 22 gestation period. Therefore if you allow the rats to have conducive living conditions like food, warmth, space, and water, you can rightly expect the numbers to explode. When denied of these beneficial living conditions, the mortality rate can be high for rats. This explains why getting your house rid of rats should be a priority.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare