Rats Infestation: Get Rid of Rodents at Home
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Signs of Rats in your House
Rats are clever creatures and just like you, they prefer to live inside your house as opposed to outside. This means they will generally find any opening to gain entry into your home. Rats are known for being able to squeeze through the tiniest of spaces in your house like the attic, basement, or small corners out of sight.
They have often been called a destructive pest since they can use insulation and paper to make nests in unreachable areas of your home which is why it is very important to know how to do effective rodent control. If you’re not sure if you have a rats infestation there are a few ways to identify if rats are living in your home.
Here are some tell-tale signs that rats have invaded your home:
Hearing noises at night is the most common sign of a rat infestation since rodents are more active at night. It’s also usually quieter at night so it’s easier for people to hear scratching noises as rats move through tight spaces in walls, behind furniture, and in crawl spaces. Sometimes you will hear rats as they grind their teeth, as they are chewing and biting several kinds of objects and surfaces. Rats use their teeth for making nests, eating, and gaining access to other areas of your home.
Another very common sign of a rats infestation is rodent droppings. Their droppings can be found near the place where they have made nests as they produce about 30 to 40 droppings per night. Most homeowners will discover rat droppings hidden behind furniture or items that aren’t generally moved or disturbed.
Rodents are known for having terrible eyesight and tend to mark paths avoiding walls and skipping boards. They also rely on each other so they prefer living in colonies as opposed to being isolated. By marking a path they’re helping to guide the colony back through to the nest. When this happens you’ll see dark stains made from grease and dirt on their bodies when they constantly rub themselves against surfaces.
In addition to hearing rats at night and rat droppings, you may also see rat footprints. As they scurry from one area of your home to another for food, water, or shelter, you might see tiny footprints in dusty corners or other areas that are not used daily. This is a definite sign that you have rats living in your home.
Rodents usually made their nests in dark and hidden places in buildings like the attic, lofts, and cavity walls. Rats will use shreds of just about any object they can find like cardboard, fabrics, paper, and yard debris to build nests.
Where Rats Can Be Found in the House
Rodents tend to hide in tight tiny places, so you can find them in the corners of your house that you may not have thought about. Rats look for dark and warm places to build their nests so they can reproduce and have their young.
Here are just some of the more common places you can find rats in your home:
The attic tends to be one of the favorite places among rodents. They love to spend most of their time up there, not because they’re interested in looking at your family photo albums, but because of the number of objects and boxes saved there. It’s a rodent paradise up there. From cardboard boxes and insulation they have exactly what they need to build their nests. Don’t be surprised to find a rat colony among grandma’s old boxes and last year’s Christmas decorations.
Some species of rodents prefer darker and more damp places like basements. Here they like to dig holes in the floor and create various avenues to travel around your home using the pipes and drainage system. Having access to water is highly attractive to rats and will use the basement as a place to go for sustenance. Eventually, they’ll lead the entire colony to the basement so that everyone knows where to go where it’s usually nice and quiet and they can live in peace.
A rodent’s main objective is to survive, so they are always looking for warm places that are well protected. And any place having viable access to food is extremely appealing to them. By living inside your walls gives them the main thoroughfare throughout your home. They can access the laundry room, the basement, your pantry, and just about anywhere else they need to go undetected.
Some types of rodents do live outside of houses, especially in areas where the climate is mild. The backyard can be a great place to set up a colony and remain unnoticed. Rats can live outside near your home and have quick access to food and shelter in winter when needed. They can also live underground by making holes and paths back to their nests.
Rodents can adapt to several different environments. They can live in lighted and sunny areas, dark and no light zones, the temperature is not an issue for rats as they can live in and in warm and moderate temperatures places. Even in the dead of winter, they are resourceful enough to look for the warmest place to shelter – and that’s probably your home. If rats have access to food and shelter, they can live in almost any condition. That’s why getting rid of rodents is best left to a professional that can get rid of these pests for good.
Types of Rodents: Are they Harmful to our Health?
Just like many other animals, there are several different types of rodents. They all have different shapes, sizes, and colors. Each species has distinct behaviors that differentiate it from one species to another.
Here are the most common types of rodents:
House Mouse (Mus domesticus)
This is the most common species in the U.S, they are very small and rarely grow more than 4 inches. They are usually grey or light brown. This type of rodent is fast and squeezes into very small openings. Their reproduction is quick so one mouse could be many in just a few weeks.
Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)
Unlike the house mouse, this type of rodent lives outside most of the time, but when the temperature starts to dip they look for shelter in homes near forests and rural areas. No bigger than eight inches, they usually have a brown color with a white belly. Deer mice are capable of making holes and getting into your house by way of the basement or areas near the floor.
Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
The Norway rat can grow to ten inches long and then have another ten inches of tail, they are quite large. They can live both inside and outside of the house. The teeth of these rats are very strong and they are capable of biting and chewing through extremely hard surfaces like plastic and PVC materials. The Norway rats give birth in just two months, therefore it is best to eradicate this species early before there’s a rat infestation and cause severe damage.
Vole (Microtus spp.)
The vole mouse, also known as meadow mice or field mice, can compromise your garden or your yard in a short matter of time. Just eight inches long, they appear brown or gray and are extremely intrusive to vegetation. They build elaborate tunnels in fields, feed on plant roots and some small plants. And just like other mice species, they can reproduce quickly.
Having a rats infestation in your home can put your family at risk because they are capable of transmitting over 30 types of diseases. They can cause serious symptoms like asthma, allergies, and serious infections affecting the nervous system. Some symptoms could even be fatal.
Tips for Dealing with a Rat Infestation
It’s always best to call a professional once you’ve discovered a rat infestation. However, here are a few tips to keep from putting out the welcome mat for rats that may have their eye on your home.
Cut their food sources
To finally eliminate this pest’s presence is to cut their food resources. When rats have access to food and water they can survive in just about any condition. So if they no longer have the ability to forage for food, they will start looking for another place. Don’t store food or pet food (even if sealed) on the floor or in the attic or basement.
It may go without saying but keeping your house clean is a good deterrent to rats. Regularly deep clean your house to take out all the trash, empty cardboard boxes, and soft objects you don’t use. Rats love clutter so that’s a good reason to clear out some old junk. Donate or have a garage sale and let someone else store your rat magnet items. Don’t use your attic or basement as a catch-all. Maybe it’s time to pass on some of those heirlooms to other family members.
Don’t use store-bought rat poison
Unfortunately, rat poison that you purchase in stores will not solve the problem. Oftentimes it will just make things worse, as rats will consume the poison and then in those hard-to-reach places. And when animals die in your walls, crawl spaces, or other tiny places rats like to go, you’re left with a very unpleasant stench. Not to mention that handling poison in your home where children or pets are present is dangerous so always consult with a professional first.
The Best Way to Get Rid of a Rat or Rodent Infestation
Even if you’ve done all of the above, it is still possible to have a rat infestation. In order to effectively and safely get rid of them, you’ll want to call a pest control service. Choose a pest control company that works locally and is familiar with the type of pests native to your area.
You’ll also want to make sure that they are licensed and insured, and that their employees pass a background check. Don’t settle for just any pest control company to keep your home safe. Look for a company that provides exceptional professionalism and works with you to find the most effective and safe rodent extermination service for you and your family.
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*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.