Call us to get started 855-854-2679

How to Get Rid of Rats in an Apartment

Request Wildlife Control

Rats are one of the most common pest problems in apartment buildings. With multiple tenants going in and out of the building all day and night, rats have plenty of opportunities to enter. They mainly enter an apartment building to find shelter, food, and water.

When you notice signs of a rat, contact your landlord, building manager, or the building owner. They are responsible for deciding how to get rid of rats in an apartment. At the same time, there are many things you can do as a tenant to rat-proof your apartment. You must know the signs of a rat in an apartment to know what to do.

Signs of Rats in an Apartment

Seeing a rat, like when you flip on a light in a dark room and see it scurry into hiding, is the most obvious sign of rats in an apartment complex.

Rats avoid people so it’s unlikely you will see a rat. Other signs include the following:

Dangers of Having Rats in an Apartment

Having rats in an apartment building poses risks for all tenants and should be professionally eliminated immediately. One risk is that having one or two rats in the building can quickly become an infestation. Female rats can breed up to seven times annually, giving birth to seven or more pups each time. The females out of each litter are ready for breeding just three months after birth.

Another danger is that rats leave large amounts of feces and urine in areas where humans are, exposing you to the many diseases rats carry. If you breathe in spores that grow on their feces or touch their waste, you are at risk for diseases like tularemia, salmonellosis, and hantavirus.

Rats chew and gnaw on most materials, including electrical wires, drywall, wood beams, linoleum, carpets, and more. Damages can be costly and may even result in fires, structural failure, or injuries from tripping.

Rats can be aggressive. There are reportedly over 15,000 rat bites in the United States annually. Some of those bitten will acquire rat-bite fever, an infectious disease. Rat-bite fever is not the only concern.

Diseases from Rats

Rats carry numerous diseases and can transmit them to humans through bites, contaminated foods, and contact with their feces and urine. 

Diseases include:

  • Hantavirus, spread by inhaling spores from rat feces, can lead to respiratory problems in humans.

  • Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread through rats’ urine, can lead to severe flu-like symptoms and damage the kidneys or liver.

  • Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by eating foods contaminated by rats and can lead to severe digestive problems.

  • Tularemia, a bacterial disease known as rabbit fever, can lead to skin ulcers, swollen glands, mouth sores, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

Because rats harbor fleas, ticks, and lice that can latch onto humans, they indirectly spread the following bacterial diseases: Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan virus, Borreliosis, Flea-born typhus, and Rickettsialpox.

These are just a few examples of diseases humans can contract directly and indirectly from rats.

Diseases from Rats

Rats can cause extensive structural damage to an apartment complex by gnawing on structural supports and beams. They sometimes burrow under the foundation of the building, causing it to become unstable. Rats also gnaw on electrical wiring, causing interruptions in your electricity and, sometimes, fires.

Rats burrow in the insulation of apartment buildings, causing higher utility bills and leaving you feeling colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. They build nests in HVAC ducts, which can also lead to fires and send the spores growing on their feces directly into your apartment.

Rats can chew through plastic and some metals. If they chew through the building’s plumbing system, you could be left without use of your bathroom. If rats enter your apartment, they may disable your appliances by chewing through wires. They will also destroy any personal items, whether sentimental or not.

Top Tips for How to Get Rid of Rats in an Apartment

Your first temptation might be DIY rat control. But it is not as simple as setting traps with cheese or peanut butter. Each rat species may require specific baiting and trapping methods. Using the wrong technique can lead to more significant problems. You want to avoid causing further damage to your apartment.

Tenant Rights Rat Infestations

It varies by state and your lease who is responsible for pest problems. The implied warranty of habitability is a legal doctrine that requires landlords to provide tenants with living conditions that are safe, sanitary, and fit for human habitation.

If you have a rat-infested apartment, contact your landlord immediately and document everything. The landlord needs to coordinate a professional rat control service to handle the infestation.

If you own an apartment, you must know the type of problem you have before getting rid of rats. Trapping and baiting can take weeks to months, depending on the colony.

Hiring professional rat removal services keeps your tenants safe and protects your investment. At Trutech Wildlife Service, we can quickly and efficiently control the rat population and implement strategies to protect the entire building.

Preventing Rats from Getting in an Apartment

Even if you eliminate all rats from your apartment, you must prevent other rats from entering. Rats do not need much space to enter an apartment. They can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter and flatten themselves to go under doors.

Rats can enter apartments through various entry points like holes and cracks in walls, gaps around doors or windows, utility lines, roofs vents, and sewer lines.

You may not notice every hole or crack in your apartment, but a professional wildlife expert will. They will also seal each one with proper materials. For example, they will use waterproof sealants to seal around leaky pipes. To seal vents, they may use steel wire mesh. Weatherstripping and spray foam may be necessary to seal other areas.

Removing Rat Food Sources

Rats will eat anything you or your pet eats. Rats will find a morsel of food falling under the oven, crumbs on your counter, and pet food left in a bowl. Removing all access to food in your apartment is crucial to avoid attracting rats.

Wherever you eat, clean up that space afterward to avoid leaving scraps and crumbs behind for rats. For example, if you like to eat on your sofa while watching television, don’t leave food or crumbs in or under it. Also, properly store foods, including pet foods, in airtight containers. If a rat gets into your pantry, it will contaminate all your groceries, which can be costly to replace.

Rat Traps, Poisons, and Repellents

Rat traps are the most common way people try to eliminate rats. Rats are suspicious of anything new in their environment and clever enough to avoid it. You must know where to place the trap, which bait to use, and how to safely handle the rat after trapping it.

Rat Poisons

Rat poisons involve risks. Without proper personal protection equipment, rat poisons can cause skin irritations. Rodenticides can take up to ten days to take effect and can have unintended results.

Poisoned rats do not die immediately. The rodents can die inside your walls. Bleeding rats might roam your apartments. Rat poisons can be dangerous to you, your children, your pets, and other animals like raccoons, birds, or squirrels.

Rat Repellents

Scent and ultrasonic repellents purportedly deter rats from entering your apartment. Neither option is poisonous, making them much safer than toxic options.

Scent repellents use a rat’s sense of smell and the odors they don’t like to repel them from the building. Ultrasonic devices use sounds that rats do not like to hear. They may affect pets, however, so placing the ultrasonic devices out of range from your pet is essential.

Unfortunately, scent and ultrasonic repellents are not always practical. Rats develop tolerance to smells and sounds and grow accustomed to rat deterrents. As a renter, you must get permission from the apartment owner before using traps, poisons, or repellents. You do not want to cause further damage to the property or put other tenants and their children and pets at risk.

Professional Rat Control

Working with professional companies to remove rats from the building is best if you own the apartment or are the landlord. They can help prevent tenants from accidentally encountering poisons or injuring themselves with traps. Sometimes, DIY methods prolong the need to call for help.

When to Call Professional Rat Removal Services

Many DIY methods for getting rid of rats are temporary solutions, if they work at all. Professional rat removal services offer effective solutions to eliminate rats in an apartment and prevent future rat infestations. They have safety equipment, knowledge about rat behaviors and habitats, and exclusion methods that offer tenants relief and assurance that their rat problem is over.

Trutech Wildlife Service offers thorough inspections before rat removal to assess the type and size of the infestation. Once complete, they will create a plan for removal, rat damage repair, and exclusion using proper equipment. Call them today or at the first sign of a rat. They are experts in how to get rid of rats in an apartment.

Thank you for subscribing! We'll be in touch.