Rodents have always been a menace to our society, especially with the increase of unclean and untidy environments. As vectors or carriers of deadly diseases, these rodents, especially rats, pose a significant threat to our health. Humans have sought ways to keep the environment clean and free from these disease-causing organisms to maintain good health.
Most notably, rats’ breeding has threatened healthy living as carriers of the Lassa fever virus, amongst other health hazards they pose.
It is essential to have a rat-free environment, and in this article, you will get an insight on how to eliminate rats and live in a clean, safe environment.
What are rats?
Rats are medium-sized rodents. They are sometimes confused with mice, which is also a rodent, albeit smaller. They love chewing, and they are capable of chewing through a lot of things, be it soft concrete, aluminum, wood, or hard concrete, etc. Their love for chewing results from the need to wear down their teeth since they (the teeth) never stop growing.
They are broadly divided into two; the brown rat, also known as Norway rat, and the house rat, also called black rat, ship rat, or roof rat to climb tree branches.
Rats are characteristically dirty and filthy. They are well-known carriers of diseases. A fact to support that claim is their huge impacts on the spread of over 40 deadly diseases, of which the Hantavirus, typhus, and the bubonic plague are all noteworthy mentions.
One of the primary reasons why they are considered amongst the most troublesome of pests is their incredible reproduction rate. They begin breeding as early as five weeks of age and continue for about two years. The female ones are very fertile and reproduce at least once in three weeks.
It is a known fact that they tend to mate for about 500 times in 6hours. The pregnancy that results from this mating may last for three weeks, and the litter size could be as large as 20 babies.
It is because of all this that makes the rat a creature that is not welcome in any human environment.
Rodent control (rat control) then becomes important for anyone that wants to maintain good health and proper well being. The big question usually pops up in cases of rat infestation, as people want to know how to remove rats from their property.
That article provides answers on how to kill rates and completely wipe them out of your surroundings. Keep reading to find out!
Three steps need to be taken to get rid of rats effectively. They are;
The first approach to getting rid of rats is detecting them.
The reason is apparent.
You cannot take the other steps if you cannot even tell that they are in your environment. Rats are in their way crafty, and rats in your home might exist for quite a while before you manage to see them.
That time-lapse might be deadly and could see a lot of havoc already caused. Hence the importance of being able to note the signs and detect rat infestation early.
You can locate rat infestation quickly by watching out to see signs
They excrete about 45 dark, pellet-shaped droppings per day, which are up to 15mm long. These can be found near entry points
They have a powerful ammonia smell. They often leave a pungent, musky odour throughout the home. If you’ve suddenly started picking up on unexplainable repulsive smells, or pets with strong noses have unexplainably active and excited in some regions of the house, a nearby rat nest could be the source.
3. Grease marks
Rodents are known to use established routes along walls due to their poor eyesight.
Rats have grease in their furs that leave damaging marks on any piece of wood they come in contact with.
As you inspect your home, make sure you check the walls and corners for any discoloured signs that could be attributed to rodent rubbing.
If you’ve noticed any discoloured areas inside or outside the home, especially on baseboards or near any holes or tears, there is a high chance that the marks are from rodents.
Rats can leave footprints and tail marks in dusty, less-used areas of your premises. Using a strong torch at a low angle can help reveal those tracks. To ascertain if an infestation is present, sprinkle fine flour or talc along a small stretch of floor near the footprints or tail marks and check for fresh tracks the next day.
As earlier said, rat teeth never stop growing, so they are constantly chewing on objects to wear them down. The degree of damages caused by the grease stain depends on the duration of time rat has lived in your home, and the frequency of time they pass through the area
Look for any marks that show gnawing on wires, pipes, cardboard boxes, furniture, and any wooden items. You should pay attention to gnawed or ripped-up insulation in the attic, as this is a standard way to know that rats have been tearing into it to make a nest.
Like food, rodents equally require a constant water source, so be on the lookout for gnaw marks around pipes. While there are several pests/rodents that like to nibble on wires and pipes, rats and mice are the worst offenders. Examine the coverings on any cables or pipes you can find around the house.
The next step after ascertaining that there is rodent/rat infestation and tracing their nests is sanitation. Sanitation helps to reduce the risk of a full rat infestation. You achieve this by
1. Sealing gaps
Ideally, it makes sense to seal exterior cracks and holes to serve as access points for rats. Seal them preferably with wire wool, caulk, metal kick plates or cement. You should also carry out regular checks and maintenance on drains as damaged ones may also serve as access points.
It is also an excellent practice to check all spaces beneath doors because the opening may be too large and may require reduction. You will need to inspect roofs to check that shingles are tight and sheathing is complete to ensure no access point is available. Also, check roof ventilators, screen vents, and louvers in wall vents.
2. Be organized and clean
Try possibly to avoid the congestion of items within the home. Move objects away from the wall to be able to check what is hiding behind them. Ensure you appropriately dispose of wastes in bins and the pipes kept clean.
3. Reduce food sources and water
Where rodents are abundant, you have plenty of food provided. You create a massive problem for them and ultimately reduce the rodent population if you remove or reduce the access to their nourishment source.
You can do this by one storing dry foods in tightly sealed containers. Two, making sure consumables like pet food are not left sitting out, and three, clean up any spillages.
The presence of rat invasion indicates poor sanitation; hence the best way to counteract it and ultimately prevent its recurrence is by upping sanitation to a very high level.
The next thing to do is to actively start the process of reducing the rat populations in your habitat. You can do this either by trapping or by baiting.
Trapping does have some advantages over baiting.
It serves as an alternative for those who do not want to employ rodenticides. It is advantageous, especially in cases where the rat population is not large. In such situations, trapping often yields quick results when done correctly.
Finally, trapping ensures that you do not have to perceive dead rats’ odor as some traps like the gum trap can catch live rats and keep them immobile for disposal the next day. It is almost impossible to get with baiting.
Different kinds of rat traps products with diverse modes of operation, ranging from snap traps to gum/glue traps and rat zapper traps, exist.
Below are guidelines to follow if you decide to use trapping.
- Keep the rat trap in suspected high activity areas. These areas usually include places where droppings are evident along the walls and behind objects. The idea here is that since rats must touch surfaces as they move, the chance of your trap hitting its target increases when you position it strategically.
- To make your trap have a high chance of success, you have to use a lot. It is a rule that the number of traps you set is higher than the number you think infested the area. This is because usually, the rat population is higher than estimated or expected.
- Rats are often shy of new objects or products, so it might take a week or two before you start catching any rats with the traps. It requires the trap to be perceived as part of the environment by the pest.
- Avoid coming in contact with pets before handling the traps. It helps prevent the trap from giving off a scent that warns the rat that danger is ahead.
- Abstain from handling dead rodents with bare hands to prevent contact with ectoparasites or diseased animals
- If you are concerned with any health issues from the dead rodent, utilize a household disinfectant.
2. Baiting/ Rat bait stations
It is preferable to use baiting or bait stations over trapping when the scale of invasion is large.
The main disadvantage of this is that you have to deal with the odor of dead rats.
Baiting involves the use of rat baits to kill them for pest control/ rat control. Diverse types and forms of poison rat baits exist on the market. Single feed rodent baits requires one dosage to before they can attain any lethal dosage, while multiple feed bait is those that need a lot of feedings before they reach a dangerously toxic level.
Below are some tips when using the baiting/ bait stations method
- Place rat baits that measure about 15m apart and always try to put them close to the places where they might be harboring.
- Except in cases where the bait’s previous placement is not sufficient (i.e., yielding no return), avoid moving it from its position. It is because some rats are quite sensitive and may pick up the sound of moving objects.
- You may utilize all-weather. Else make use of a weather-resistant box/block or utilized soft bait forms in wet or damp conditions. Where necessary, endeavor to tie down the bait, so they don’t escape to another area.
- For bait, shy rats, the usual practice is to place sugary edibles like peanut butter, birdseed, or any pet food inside the bait station. Thereafter, you may then proceed to add the poison. Once the rat perceives the nice smell of the bait lying in the bait box, they will enter the box by default, and lured to take a bite. However, most of the current rat baits kill slowly. As a result, the rats will die without suspecting that a foreign source was introduced into the bait.
What Scent Will Keep Rats Away?
Rats are animals that have a high sense of smell.
They employ it to seek out food and water sources. However, they hate some scents, and knowledge of a rat’s sense of smell can help you discourage them from setting up home on your property. It can also help to chase them away in cases of minute invasion. These smells include
Rats detest chemical smells like naphthalene, which you can find in mothballs. Hence it is fair to say rats hate the smell of mothballs. Usage of mothballs is unrecommended for effective rat deterrent. For naphthalene smell to successfully deter and control rats, you would need to employ large volumes that are equally toxic to humans.
2. The scent of predators
They equally dislike the smell of predators because it heightens their sense of danger. If it perceives/senses the smell of an animal like a cat, raccoon, ferret or stoat, they are likely to stay away.
3. Natural scents
Some natural scents that rats hate are not harmful or even, in some cases, are pleasant to humans. They include
Beyond making your home smell good, peppermint scent can chase rats away. You can use a peppermint spray to disseminate the smell in your home and serve as both an air freshener and a repellant.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit that gives a distinct taste. You can use it as a flavor. Rats stay away from areas where they can perceive the smell of bergamot.
- Eucalyptus oil
The sharp aroma of eucalyptus oil has been discovered to be offensive to rats, which could prevent them from nesting, feeding, breeding or habiting in your home. The reason for this is because eucalyptus oil contains compounds that they hate. When using eucalyptus oil as a rat repellent, you would have to spray it every day. Eucalyptus oil also has a pleasant aroma.
Citronella repels mosquitoes and other flying insects. Its operation field does not stop there as its scent can also put off rats.
How to get rid of rats fast
You can eliminate rats fast by using home remedies. Some of which are
1. Use of peppermint oil
Rats dislike the smell of peppermint oil. We may find the smell of peppermint refreshing, but rats do not. You can use this oil to drive them away from your home. Put cotton balls dipped in peppermint oil in front of several small openings in your home to keep rats at bay.
2. Use of hot pepper flakes
Hot pepper flakes can help in pest management and eliminate rat presence quickly. Sprinkle hot pepper along with the doorways and other corners of your house; you know or suspect that they are present.
The pungent smell of onions can also serve to chase rats away. Place the onions around small holes and openings while making sure to replace them every two days.
4. Bay leaves
The scent of bay leaves attracts rats and fools them into thinking of it as their food. However, when they try to feed upon it, they choke themselves and eventually die. Placing some around your house corners is one of the best ways of pest control /rat invasion control.
5. Garlic Bulb
Mixing chopped garlic with water and sprinkling it around your home can drive rats away. You can even spread garlic cloves in the pathway of their regular trail to repel them.
How to get rid of rats in your backyard
The backyard is very likely to be a candidate for pests invasion in a house. This is because most people sparsely use it, and things are often in clutter within the area. Ways to eliminate rats in your backyard include
1. Get rid of clutters
Ensure that you declutter your backyard and have things in an orderly fashion
2. Remove food sources
Rats are smart; they know and will always look for the easiest, safest, and most delicious food to survive. If you have got pet foods, a compost bin, rubbish bags, etc. left out, they would not have a reason to explore the traps or baits you set out for them.
Removing their source of food is critical to the elimination of rat presence in your backyard. Place rubbish into bins, clean up compost, and do away with rubbish bags as soon as possible.
If your backyard has a garden, ensure it is well cultivated, and since peppermint smell can serve as a pest repellent for rats in your home, it is wise to plant mint in your garden.
3. Use traps and baits
You can use traps such as the snap trap or baits such as poison baits in the form of pesticides to eliminate the pest’s presence in your backyard. It would be best if you utilize them depending on the level of invasion. You can use traps for small scale invasion, while pesticides or baits are preferable if it is on a large scale.
When do I use a professional pest killing outfit?
Suppose you have tried all of the methods above without a solution.
You can turn to a professional pest killing outfit with all rights reserved, such as privacy and other personal information, to help you eliminate the rat problem. You need to do adequate research and get a credible professional outfit because failed treatment can make the infestation worse.
Make sure you tell the professionals all the previous methods you have tried to know the best approach to take when trying to solve the rat problem.
The pest killing outfit has access to different products and forms of traps. It can employ a sophisticated combination of snap traps or even better traps or mechanisms in ensuring a pest-free household for you.
Rats are pests as they are unwanted and a threat to clean and healthy living.
Asides from being carriers of deadly diseases, they destroy foodstuffs and properties. This article has highlighted how to make the environment you live in free from rats and maintain the highest environmental hygiene standards.