Some people find rats adorable and keep them as pets. However, if they are self-invited and unwanted guests, you won’t want them nesting in your home.
There are several different methods of rat control, with varying degrees of effectiveness, including repellents, traps, and poison. Before employing any means of pest control, however, you must understand how they work. Some can be inhumane or have an impact on wildlife beyond the rats.
For more information on the different means of rat control, and how to employ them, read on.
Getting rid of rats can be a time-consuming task, particularly if they have a nest of young, as you will need to access the space to remove them. When in doubt, it’s best to call in a wildlife removal professional to handle it for you.
If you have one family of rats living in your home, then more will follow. Don’t just get rid of the rats; find their access points and seal them up. Make sure that the repairs are done correctly and include steel (even as a mesh). Otherwise, rats will find the weak points and chew their way back in.
- Remove any debris or woodpiles around your yard that the rats can use to shelter their nests.
- If you have hedges or shrubs, trim them so that the area around the base is exposed.
- Clear away any food scraps, including any pet food bowls.
- Store food in airtight containers that the rat can’t chew through.
- Keep your trash bins tightly sealed.
There are a variety of rat traps available on the market:
- Snap traps are activated when the rat takes the bait, snapping the rodent’s neck. It doesn’t always kill the animal instantly, though, and leaves you to deal with a dead (or dying) rat.
- Live traps allow you to safely relocate the rat rather than kill it. Set bait at the back of the cage on the activation plate. When triggered, the cage door will shut behind the rat, trapping it.
- Glue traps are perhaps the most inhumane of all traps. It doesn’t kill the animals outright; it merely holds them in place until they die of dehydration or starvation. If you use a glue trap, check it regularly, and be prepared to kill the captured rat humanely with a single, sharp knock to the head.
Although available commercially, rodenticide isn’t a very effective measure against rats. Poisons can take time to kill the rodent. It may then be eaten by a predator, passing the poison and its effects on. Poison won’t kill all of the rats, and the ones it does kill are most likely to die where you can’t get to them, such as between walls. If this happens, you will have to deal with the smell and carcass of a dead, decaying rat in your home.