Although it may sound intimidating at first, pest control for rats is actually pretty basic and anyone can effectively remove a rat or rats from their home.
Here's the secret to obtaining great results.......you have to be willing to crawl, climb, inspect and repair all areas of your home where the rats are living.
A simple snap trap placed just inside the entrance to your attic will not be enough to control a rat problem. You need to climb through the attic looking for any entrance holes the rats are using to get inside.
Also, look for trampled down runways though the insulation lined with rat droppings and brown grease stains, all signs of rats living in the area.
Do you have a basement? Look for small entrance holes where utility lines enter your home. The spot where air conditioner lines run into your home are popular spots for rodents to come inside.
Rats only need a hole about the size of a quarter to enter your house. This means finding and sealing off all holes with steel mesh or metal flashing.
Depending how comfortable you are with accomplishing these basic steps will help you decide whether or not you want to save money and tackle the rats on your own, or if you should spend the money and hire a professional.
Remember, just because you hire a professional doesn't necessarily mean they will do a better job than you would do. No one cares more about your home than you. So, if you hire someone make sure they have good references and will do a complete job ensuring the rats are taken care of for good.
To keep things simple, follow this guide to learn how to get rid of rats in your home and how to keep them from coming back.
Inspecting your home is the first and most important part of the process. If you don't completely seal off your home, new rats will just keep coming inside.
When a rat enters your home they not only create an easy access hole for other rats, they also leave behind scents and pheromones that attract other rats to the same location.
There are two species of rats. Norway Rats which are found just about everywhere in the United States and commonly enter your home at ground level, and Roof Rats which are typically found around the coast and enter your home at higher levels such as rooflines, eves and gable vents.
Inspect your home from the outside and inside looking for any areas the rats are using to get inside. Cracks in the foundation, gaps around utility lines, and even a chewed seal under your garage door are all popular spots for a rat to come inside.
You must use steel mesh or flashing to seal off a hole. Using just caulk won't work because the rats will just chew through it. You can use a caulk/steel mesh combination to insure an airtight fix.
Rats enter your home for two basic reasons....food and shelter. Remove any pet food, crumbs and garbage you have laying around. Although rats will invade even the cleanest homes, cleaning up the clutter will make a big difference. Plus, if you don't have a lot of excess food laying around it makes the next step even easier.....trapping them!
Once you have your home sealed off the next step is to trap the rats inside your home.
Trapping rats is actually pretty easy. In my opinion, the best trap to use is the basic wooden Victor snap trap. They're cheap, easy to set and they work really well.
For best results, set at least 6-12 traps throughout your home. If you find a spot that has a lot of sign, set multiple traps in one location. The goal is to quickly trap the rats, and using more than one trap is the best way.
When setting your traps, set them where the rats are traveling. Look for tunnels in your attic insulation, droppings behind your stove or anywhere else you've observed rat activity. Look for the brown grease stains left behind by the rats as their fur rubs up against their surroundings.
Rats like to run along walls and near objects so don't just stick a trap in the middle of a room and expect it to work. Trap placement is the key to effective trapping. Use multiple traps in good locations and you will trap the rats in just a few days.
When baiting the traps use peanut butter. It's sticky enough to stay on the trigger, and the smell works great for an attractant.
Check the traps a couple of times on the first day and remove any dead rats from the traps. Reset the traps and continue to check them for the next few days. Once you stop catching rats and you no longer hear or see any new sign, your rat problems are over!
Effective pest control for rats is a two step process. First, seal off your home so additional rats can not enter. If you don't seal off your home, rats will just continue to come inside and you will be trapping rats for a lifetime.
Second, once your home is sealed off set multiple Victor snap traps baited with peanut butter in good locations throughout your house. Check the traps frequently for several days until you stop catching rats and you don't see any fresh sign.