Keep Rats Away – Pest Control Tips


Rats are not the most appealing of creatures – and for good reason. They consume and contaminate our food, leave their waste products behind and carry diseases. Rats gnaw through household wiring and generate electrical fires. They can be aggressive and have been known to attack humans and pets. Unfortunately, they enjoy many of the same things we do, including a nice, warm home and good food. The key to effective rat control is to eliminate potential nesting places and food sources – both indoors and out.

Invest some time now and inspect your home’s exterior walls, windows and doors as well as the condition of your roof and foundation. Remember, rats can enter a home through any opening as small as a quarter. It is important that you properly seal any cracks, crevices and openings, especially those surrounding pipes, conduits and cables that enter your home. Install tight fitting screens on doors and windows, too.

Keep your yard really clean. Rats nest in wood piles, shrubs, vines and tall grass. They will set up housekeeping in exterior barns or sheds, old cars and appliances or furniture stored outdoors. Rats burrow under loose rocks or bricks and in holes near foundations. Check the condition of barns and sheds regularly and keep them clean and orderly. Keep wood piles at least eighteen inches off the ground and remove unnecessary rocks, bricks and lumber lying around your yard. Trim existing shrubs and plant new ones at least three feet away from the house. A good rule of thumb when trimming shrubs is to make certain that you can see the ground around them.

Eliminate outdoor food sources. Keep garbage containers tightly sealed and stored away from the house. If you are feeding birds or pets outdoors, you may be feeding rats, too. Clean up seed spillage from bird feeders and remove and dispose of uneaten pet foods in a timely manner. Fruit trees and compost bins are food sources, too. Dispose of fallen or rotting fruits, and do not compost meat or dairy products.

Eliminate potential food sources inside your home as well. Keep kitchen countertops and floors clean and free of food products and spillage, including pet foods and water. Rats can gnaw through cardboard, wood and plastic, so it is a good idea to store non refrigerated food items in tightly sealed metal containers.

Rats love to use paper and cloth as nesting materials. Avoid storing old papers or items made of cloth in attics, basements or sheds and use metal containers for storage in those areas, if possible.

Despite your best efforts, rats can still enter your home. If an infestation occurs, you need to employ a quick, safe and effective method of extermination. Try to avoid the use of poisons. First, they are potentially dangerous, especially to children and pets. Second, any rats you poison will most likely go to some remote or inaccessible place inside your home to die and generate a very unpleasant smell.

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a pathway to your door.“ Well, the good old fashioned snap trap is a great way to start. You can find them at most hardware stores, but make certain you purchase the larger traps that are designed to kill rats. Bait the traps with dried fruit, bacon, peanut butter, chocolate syrup or pet food and place them next to walls and in those areas where you suspect activity. Remember to keep the traps out of the reach of children and pets.

Rats are sensitive to changes in their surroundings, and you may have to wait several days for the traps to work. Rats will eventually learn to avoid the traps, too, so it is important that you use enough of them to achieve a quick kill and a permanent solution.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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