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How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home

How to get rid of rats

If you think you might have a rat infestation in your home or office, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One study showed that an estimated 37% of American households had spotted a rat in their home. Cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York are so overrun with rats that it’s making headlines. And, once rats have infested a space, they can quickly multiply into a catastrophic problem.

One busy pair of rat parents can increase rat populations by 15,000 descendants in a single year.

Make sure you’re prepared to fight your rat infestation by reading this complete guide on how to get rid of rats.

Signs of a Rat Infestation

First, you want to confirm that you do have a rat problem. A few telltale signs of a rat infestation are:

  • Rat Droppings: Rats leave small, dark brown droppings that look similar to a grain of rice.
  • Gnaw Marks: Rats will leave gnaw marks on items, such as food containers or the home itself. Newer gnaw marks will be light in color.
  • Nests: Rats use available materials, such as shredded fabric, paper, cardboard, or plant matter, to create nests for themselves.
  • Foul Smell: When an infestation gets quite large, you may notice a significant lingering odor around the home. Dogs and cats are also attracted to the smell of rodents, so keep an eye out for pets paying more attention to an area.
  • Rub Marks: The grease and dirt on rats’ bodies leave smudges on surfaces and walls.
  • Scratching Noises: Rats have long nails and are avid climbers, so you may hear them moving around at night.
  • Footprints: Rats leave foot and tail marks in dusty areas. For offices and lesser-used buildings, the fluorescent lighting makes this easier to spot.

How Can I Get Rid of Rats in My House or Office?

Now that you’ve established you have a rat problem, you need to act quickly.

Rat Traps and Rat Bait

Rat trap and rat bait being placed by a pest control expert

If you’re asking yourself the question, “how to kill rats?” you may have the stomach to go the DIY route. Rat traps and bait are the most common do-it-yourself method to handle an infestation quickly and effectively.

Rat traps are relatively cheap to purchase and easy to find. Whether you leave bait in the trap or not, you can strategically leave the rat traps around your home and office and wait for something to be caught. However, you should check on your rat traps regularly to dispose of any caught or dead rats. If you leave a decaying rat in a trap for too long, it can attract other insects and start a new problem.

Additionally, make sure you place the rat traps in hidden places to avoid injuring someone in your home or office.

There are three main types of rat traps:

  • Snap Traps: A snap trap is typically made of plastic or wood, and captures the rat in the device. If choosing this type of rat trap, make sure you buy the right size. Accidentally buying a mouse trap will likely be too small for the rat, and the rat may escape.
  • Live Traps: These types of traps lure rats by their natural curiosity. It’s the type of entrapment where the rat can get in but not out. The rat will still be alive when you check the trap, so you will have to find a way to dispose of it or let it go free far from your home or office.
  • Glueboards: Essentially, a glue trap is supposed to glue a rat in place. However, these traps aren’t always effective. Rats are quite large and heavy, and if they only are trapped by a single paw, they can often set themselves free.

Rat baits look to lure a rat in with food. Rat baits can be found for traps or on their own. The two main types of rat baits are:

  • Baiting Traps & Bait Stations: A baiting trap simply adds an attractive piece of food, such as pet food or bacon, to a trap. The idea is for the food to lure the rat into the trap.
  • Rodenticides: Rodenticides are a type of chemical that is used to lure and kill rats. These chemicals can be dangerous to pets and kids. Always read and follow the directions carefully when using rodenticides.

Hire a Professional

If you don’t like the DIY option or your rat infestation has gotten out of hand, it’s likely best to call a pest control expert. Rats spread diseases such as murine typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, salmonellosis, and ratbite fever.

They can also be a carrier for other pests, such as ticks, bed bugs and fleas, to enter your home or office. Protect your coworkers or employees by hiring a professional for rat control.

How much does rodent control cost?

The cost will vary depending on the size of your home or office and the extent of the infestation. On average, individuals have to pay $300 to hire a rat exterminator, although prices can range from $100 to $500.

Future Prevention

After handling your rat infestation, its time to think of future prevention. Reduce the risk of another rat infestation by:

  • Keeping food stored in sealed containers
  • Closing up any access points to the home or office
  • Rats don’t like the smell of peppermint oil so you can regularly spray this around the home
  • Keep your home and office clutter-free

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