Rats are unwelcome visitors in nearly every home. They are not just unpleasant to look at but also a health hazard to your family. This is because rats typically carry several diseases and pose a threat to you and the people you love.
They also pose a destructive threat to your possessions. They chew through walls, insulation, and the wiring in your home. The only way you can stop these fast, tiny menaces is by getting rid of them entirely.
But to do that, you have to first figure out where they live, how they choose their habitats and what they eat.
It isn’t easy to control where rats live since they are known to reside pretty much everywhere. Rats are omnivores, so they are known to eat anything that they find.
Sometimes they scavenge through trash, and other times, they will eat small insects. Rats can go an entire month without drinking water since they can access water indirectly through moisture stored in food. Plus, because of their size, they can get access to enough water in cutlery left out by humans through drains and pipes.
All things considered, you’ll need a bit more than force of will to deal with rat problems in your home. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help you.
Signs That There Are Rats in Your Home
It is not easy to know if there are rats in your home, specifically when you have not seen them. However, if you still think there are rats in your home. These few signs might help you to be sure of it.
- Rats have an extremely powerful smell. So if you smell something foul without an apparent reason, consider it a warning sign of the presence of rats.
- Rats have poor eyesight, so they have fixed paths along the walls, always follow the routes they have created and are also known to leave droppings behind. If you find small, dark-colored, slightly oval-shaped droppings along the sides of the walls, it is a significant sign of the presence of rats.
- If you are still looking for a sure sign, look at the dustiest corners of your house, particularly ones by the walls. You should be able to see tiny footprints on dusty surfaces.
- The rats are known to cause damage to a few things within the house. Rats can chew the damaged electrical cords, broken furniture sides, storage boxes not made from a sturdy material, or eaten corners of papers and food left out on the kitchen counters.
- If you look a bit deeper into the insulations and dark corners of your homes, you might see rat nests made from insulation, paper shreds, fabric pieces, and other soft materials on which the rats can get their hands.
- You might also be able to find a dead rat within your home. That is one of the most apparent signs. There might also be a half-eaten bird or lizard lying in the corners of your home.
How to Get Rid of Rats Who Have Sought Shelter Within Your Home
No one would want to live with rats, considering the dangers they put their family and possessions in. These tips will help you get rid of rats in your homes.
Inspect Their Activity Area
Before you go to get rid of the rats in your home, you need to look at where you have known the rats to be the most active. There must be some damaged drains, cracks in the walls and doors, and tiny gaps around the vents or the foundation of the house, mainly in the basement.
Seal the Entry Points
Once you have inspected all the potential entry points and figured out where the rats could be coming in from, all these nooks and crannies must be cleaned thoroughly and sealed. Since rats are small, and even when they are not as tiny, they can easily fit through tiny cracks and small spaces, which you may not think to be problem areas. One way to see if a crack is big enough for rats is to check if two fingers fit into the hole or crack.
If it does, it needs to be sealed completely. Provided that you cannot fit two fingers in a crack, which appears to be small, it might not be a big problem for the rat to gnaw on the sides of the crack and make it big. So, while fixing the bigger cracks, fix the smaller ones.
Rats take in first and make nests where they live. So, the best solution for these shelters and nests they have created for themselves is to clean them out. One of the best ways to eliminate rats is by getting rid of their hiding places.
In addition to this, to ensure the rats do not come back, look at all the access points. Most potential access points can be vents, drains, cracks in walls and doors, pipes, and unkempt basement areas. You have to seal the entry points, regardless of their size, or clean them.
Rearrange the Furniture
Cleaning the nooks and crannies out will be a good start, but if you are looking for a more permanent solution to this tiny little problem, you need to rearrange your furniture. This does not mean changing the house’s entire setting; it just means making the setting unsuitable for the rats. There should be a distance between the wall and the furniture so the rats cannot reside between them.
Some states have outlawed and banned the use of rat poison. So, trapping is a fail-safe and legal way to catch rats. It is a poison-free way to reduce rat infestation.
You can place traps at strategic points around the house. Start by setting traps in all the nooks and crannies you have cleaned out. You can set these traps in all dark corners of your home. Then, use peanut butter, seeds (unsalted), and fruits like bananas or apples as bait.
However, if you do not wish to set traps on your own, you can contact a local pest control who would be more than willing to do it for you.
You can crush peppers and sprinkle them on the rat openings. This will irritate them and stop them from reentering your home. You can also opt for pepper spray, but it will not be too natural and might not have a lasting effect.
Some human foods are too toxic for rats, and the consumption of these foods will result in their death. Blue cheese is sure to kill the rats. Other foods are poppy, almonds, licorice, and green potatoes. Consumption of green potatoes is also harmful to humans, so it will work well for killing rats.
Spices and Essential Oils
You can also use the smell of onions to drive rats away. You can cut up and place slices of onion close to their house or next. The smell of the onions will do the rest. You can also use essential oils, which will be a safe and non-toxic way to drive rats away. Peppermint, citronella, and eucalyptus are very much effective in this regard. Their smells irritate rats and will drive them away.
Another weird but true thing to drive rats away is human hair. Rats cannot bear the sight of human hair. You can gather your hair, the ones that break away or cut up a lock of hair from the nape of your neck. You can substitute this for synthetic hair. Then, place it where you think the rats reside or at the place you think they might enter your home from. This is sure to repel them since they would not want to enter the place where they see locks of hair placed randomly.
You can also use ammonia to repel rats. It is not just a good cleaning agent. Its smell is so strong enough to drive out the rats in your home. If you have swept out all the places the rat can live, you can finish the cleaning with two or two and a half cups of ammonia mixed with two to three spoons of detergent in 200 ml of water. Clean the nooks and crannies with the mixture, place whatever is left into bowls, and leave them in the darkest corners of your homes. You will be able to ensure they leave your home for good. Generally, rats find the smell of ammonia irritating.
How to Get Rid of Rats From Outside Your Home
If you have gotten rid of rats from your homes, you need to get rid of those outside your home. As long as they stay around your home, you will be at risk of rat infestations.
You should especially watch out for winter or monsoon months. These are potential times when rats will want to seek shelter. As warm-blooded animals, they need warmth and shelter from the elements and for breeding. So, if they live around your homes, you need to ensure that they do not enter your homes by following the tips mentioned above.
However, to ensure they do not even reside around your homes, you can follow the tips below.
Keep Your Gardens Clean
Rats like to live in and around open spaces if they do not have a proper shelter. So it would be best to keep your garden trimmed, clean, and free of bushes. Trim your grass regularly, and remove all piles of dried leaves, rotten fruits, pet’s stool and wood.
Also, lock all storage sheds, and patch all the holes. Also, it would be best to seal any garbage cans or drums close to or around your home or garden. Ensure the rats do not have access to food leftovers, peals, and other edible things. Clean up all fallen fruits, vegetables, and pet/bird food.
If you have climbers or trees around, trim them as they can serve as entryways into your house. Also, ensure you mend any holes or cracks on the wall or roof.
Birds, mainly owls, can eat a lot of rats in a single night. So, if you see one around your home, let it linger so that it gets rid of the rats in your garden.
One thing you should remember is to try to create a suitable habitat for the birds you want to attract. You could add a water source or build a lovely bird nest. However, do not set out bird seeds. Even though it will be an excellent way to attract the birds, you should not forget that the seeds will also be a good source of attraction for the rats.
Here, you can go for the snap traps. These are the fastest ways for you to capture rats and get rid of them. Since they cannot let themselves loose from the traps and are killed instantly. Ensure that no other animal is caught in a trap. Place them under a milk carton, a box, or a dark corner which we told you to keep clean. They are the best places to set traps.
Setting traps within your homes might contaminate the air and carry dead rat germs and bacteria throughout your home. The traps for homes are specifically the adhesive mats on which the rats stick. Other than that, it would be best if you did not place all other rat traps within the homes.
You should only place the bait for rats with snap traps or poison outside your home if the usage of the poison is not restricted in your area. Both may be harmful within your homes. Children and pets are known to pick up things from the floor, so it may not be ideal to set traps with poisons in the house. The best place for these is outside your home, out in the open.
However, if you want to opt for the baits and poisons, ensure that they are at a place where they do pose a risk to your children, pets, and other animals.
Rat Myths You Need to Know
If all the information mentioned above is not enough to get rid of rats, the following rat myths might bring you closer to knowing what will not work for you to get rid of rats or to know more about them.
- A common myth is that coke can kill rats. This isn’t possible technically. Coke loses its carbonation soon after you leave it out in the open. So it will not harm the rat more than it is to humans. However, if a rat drinks 12 ounces of soda, it will intoxicate the rat. If not deadly, it is enough intoxication for the rat to pass out.
- Rats aren’t entirely dirty. They are as dirty as most animals are. Still, there is a difference between pets and street animals. If they are kept as pets, they are safe.
- Rats eat everything, but those who have kept rats as pets know that rats can suffer from obesity and diabetes. Keeping your trash cans open can be a way to lure in rats. It can also be a way to catch them. Since if they eat a lot and cannot move, you or your cats can also catch them quickly.
- Rats are tiny is one of the biggest myths ever. It is not well-known that they grow up as big as cats. Since most people have not seen rats get that big, people hardly believe it is true.
- Rats do not smell because they are rats. They clean themselves but smell because they live in dirty places. In addition, they stay in trash cans and dust bins, from where they get their food. If a clean rat comes to live in your home, you will not be able to smell it.
- People consider cats to be the pet to keep the rat situation under control. This may stand true for mice. But when it comes to rats, they can put up one hell of a fight and ensure that a cat does not readily catch them. Also, cats are generally big. It will be far more accessible for the rats to sneak into cracks and holes to escape predators.
With all of this information, it may be possible for you to get rid of rat infestations. These are all possible and believable ways for you to get rid of rats in your homes and your gardens. Also, there are some myths that you need to set apart from the truth when you want to get rid of the rats.
However, if you are still unable to get rid of the rats, it might be a good time for you to reach out to the pest control service available in your area.