Get Rid of Rats in the House
Destructive and troublesome, rats traditionally live in close proximity to humans. This puts rats in the prime position to invade homes and other buildings, where ample availability of food and nesting sites provides the rodents with everything they need to survive. The pests gain entry to homes in a variety of ways. They can fit through any opening larger than 1/2 an inch in diameter, which means that small holes, gaps in doorways, and wall vents often serve as common entry points for the agile rodents. Rats are also proficient swimmers capable of traveling through sewer lines and entering buildings by emerging from toilets and open drains.
Signs of Rats in the Home
When rats enter homes, they prefer to stay out of sight in undisturbed areas. Identifying a rat infestation, however, is easy, especially as the rodents increase in number. Rats move around a lot and individuals should listen for the sounds of scurrying in attics, false ceilings, and wall voids. These noises intensify at nighttime, as rats are nocturnal and become most active after dusk. Additionally, homeowners should look for rat droppings around sources of food, like pantries, smudge marks on walls left by the greasy, oily fur of rats, and gnawing damage. Finally, residents may spot adult rats in sheltered locations such as storage boxes, seldom-used drawers, and stacks of firewood.
Rat Dangers in the House
Rats in the house can create serious problems for both people and property. Their droppings have been known to contain disease-causing pathogens, while their constant gnawing causes property damage and can even start electrical fires. Rats also get into and contaminate food intended for humans and pets. Due to the health risks created by rat infestations, professional pest control is often the best way to achieve complete rat removal safely and effectively.
Common Places to Find Rats in Your Home
DO YOU HEAR RATS IN THE ATTIC?
One of the main reasons rats invade homes is for shelter from cold weather. As attics are some of the warmest spaces in houses, it’s no wonder rodents, like Norway and roof rats, enjoy constructing nests in these secluded top stories.
The pests gain entry through vents, gaps in roof eaves, and through holes in building exteriors. Roof rats are especially talented climbers and easily use tall trees and wires running to and from roofs to gain access.
SIGNS OF RATS IN THE ATTIC
Homeowners may be alerted to the presence of rats in the attic by sounds, sights, and smells. Usually the most apparent signs of infestation are the scratching and scurrying sounds these rodents make. As rats are nocturnal, they are noisiest when individuals are settling in for a night of rest. Additionally, home residents may notice visual cues such as rat droppings, teeth marks in food containers, and even tracks. Finally, the musky smell of rat presence and malodorous collections of droppings and urine are sure indications of rat infestations in the attic.
Rat Damage in Attics
Residents of homes are put at risk when there are rats in the attic. As the rodents must constantly gnaw to keep the length of their teeth manageable, they can damage the structural integrity of buildings by chewing through wooden support beams. Rats also target electrical wires and heighten the possibility of fire.
I know I have rats in my attic and have caught a couple. I would like to get a proposal for sealing off the exterior of the house as well as attic cleanup. Do you completely remove all insulation, then clean and replace? I now also have a mothball problem. I threw them out in the attic to run off the critters, which of course didn’t work, but my house now reeks of them. My preference would be to have all the insulation removed and replaced. - Fort Worth, TX
Being as there is already a known history of rats in the home, we would start with a full inspection to determine necessary repairs, and the extent of the issue. The next, and most important step of the process is to begin an ongoing service with an aggressive initial trapping session. Once the initial rat population has been decreased or eliminated; we would then put preventive measures into place to maintain control of the population. To address the issue of replacing the insulation we can remove contaminated areas and replace insulation in smaller areas. We also offer services to rejuvenate old flattened, damaged insulation to increase the r-value. If a full removal and replacement is needed, we can suggest one of our sister companies to aide in the process.
Are There Rats in Your Walls?
Rats are particularly fond of settling in the dark, secluded areas between walls once they’re inside homes as these spaces have lots of insulation to tear apart and use for bedding as well as wooden boards to gnaw on. At night, these pests venture out into the body of houses to gather food from pantries, countertops, and garbage cans before retreating back to their nests in the walls.
SIGNS OF RATS IN THE WALLS
To detect the presence of rats in walls, residents should remain alert for rat droppings around homes, oily smudge marks, and gnawed holes in walls and food containers. Droppings are long, cylindrical pellets typically dark brown in color that can be found wherever rats frequent.
Smudge marks appear as greasy patches on floors and walls as a result of the pests’ dirty fur rubbing up against a surface.
Finally, rats use their large front teeth to chew access holes into walls and gnaw open food containers. These openings are ragged around the edges and may only be as large as half an inch in diameter.
NOISES & SMELLS
Homeowners should also listen for rustling, clawing, and squeaking sounds coming from inside wall cavities. These sounds intensify in the evenings when the rodents are preparing for a night of activity. Another sure sign of a rat infestation is the pungent smell of urine concentrated within the walls where the pests nest.
Rat Outside Your House
Rats are consistently searching for nesting locations that protect them from predators and the elements and offer steady supplies of food and water.
Since they routinely travel up to 300 feet for food, rats outside your house still pose a risk. Rats in the yard, under your deck, or in trees will eventually venture into nearby homes in search of garbage, animal feed, and foodstuffs.
Rats Underneath the Deck
Decks with their overhead cover and seclusion make the perfect nesting sites. Since rats can fit through small openings, they easily worm their way underneath decks where they enjoy relative safety and comfort.
Furthermore, rats under decks easily find entrance into homes.
SIGNS OF RATS UNDER THE DECK
Since rats are primarily active at night, infestations usually go undetected for some time. However, knowing what rat signs to look for allows property owners to notice the presence of rats
under decks sooner. Telltale signs of rat infestations include scratching and squeaking noises, the presence and smell of urine and excrement, and remnants of nesting materials like ripped up insulation.
A clever way to detect the presence of rats under decks is to place newspaper over the openings. After a few days, if the paper is ripped or gone, property owners should assume they’re dealing with an infestation.
Get Rid of Rats from Your Backyard
Backyards make attractive nesting prospects for rats because they offer plentiful access to both food and shelter. The pests are opportunistic feeders and will not hesitate to pilfer food from gardens, outdoor trash cans, and pet feed that’s been left out.
Furthermore, as the pests are agile runners, jumpers, climbers, and swimmers, they navigate residential lawns with ease. Popular backyard nesting sites include brush piles, overgrown shrubberies,
abandoned squirrel nests in trees, unused sheds, and garbage piles.
SIGNS OF RATS IN THE BACKYARD
Look for rats running across the ground, cables, fences, and tree branches near dusk. Property owners may also find small cylindrical fecal pellets where rats nest and feed, in places like trash cans and garbage piles. Rats regularly take the same paths to and from their nests and feeding areas, which creates visible runways of trampled vegetation. Finally, their tiny feet may also leave tracks in dirt or mud.
I would like to have a technician come to my home to give me a proposal for controlling rats that have come into my yard. They are not in the house yet, but I wish to discuss possible preventive measures.
We would start with scheduling a full inspection of the home and property. Just because you haven’t seen or heard rats, that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t made entry into the home, so an attic assessment is required, along with the exterior inspection. If rat activity is found, interior trapping would be required, along with exclusion of any exterior entry points on the home. If there isn’t any current rat activity then exclusion is still recommended to keep the attic clear.
As far as controlling the rats coming into the yard, an exterior rodenticide treatment would be required using rodent bait stations placed around the home and maintained on a monthly basis.
RATS IN TREES NEAR HOUSE
As agile climbers, rats are easily able to infest trees. The pests are opportunistic feeders that regularly eat insects and fruits, which makes trees suitable nesting sites as they offer these food sources in abundance. Capable of leaping both horizontally and vertically, rats maneuver to the tops of trees by climbing walls and power lines. Furthermore, the pests utilize the high elevation afforded to them by vegetation to gain access to upper levels of homes and buildings. Entrance into attic and ceiling spaces encourage rats to build nests in trees.
DANGERS & REMOVAL
Amature trapping and baiting efforts can actually make rats wary and drive them inside homes to escape threats.