In urban environments, pests such as rats and mice will typically enter buildings to look for food, a place to build their nests and to get shelter from cold temperatures outside.
A pest control firm can then recommend ways for you to prevent these animals from getting inside.
If you already have a problem with rodents before a preventative step was taken, you can count on your pest control company to safely remove the problem without damaging your home. Usually, rodents hide in attics and basements, or small scrawl spaces. This can make for a messy removal if not done by professionals.
There is no need to ruin your home trying to rid it of these beasts yourself, call a professional to do it effectively. Do not let a rodent infestation go untreated for too long in your home because of the potential health effects it can have on you and your family.
If you have already seen rodents inside your property, it is of utmost importance to act quickly in order to eradicate the infestation at once and to prevent it from reoccurring again in the future. As rats and mice are able to reproduce quickly, contact a rodent control specialist for removal.
- How to get rid of rats?
- How to get rid of rats outside?
- How to get rid of rats in the walls?
- How to get rid of rats in the house?
- How to get rid of rats in the house using home remedies?
- How to get rid of Roof rats?
It’s important to know what exactly it is you’re dealing with so you can come up with the most effective solution. The first step in addressing a rat problem is by inspecting your house for these pests – possible nesting sites, rat routes or runways, and entry points. Being able to identify what type of rat it is will also give you a better idea of their nesting sites and habits.
Rats living outdoors may set up nests by burrowing underground. Some rats also set up nests under piles of rocks or wood, so long as it’s not an area often disturbed (thought this doesn’t mean that they won’t set up a nest near a shed or gate).
Indoors, they can hide away behind walls, basements, crawl spaces, or attics. They can also create nests in the back of closets or cabinets.
You can use a variety of methods to eliminate rats and mice – some of those would be cage traps, springs traps, glue traps, or rodenticides.
Cage traps capture the targeted animal live so you can safely relocate them elsewhere. If poisoned bait is also used, you can quickly and easily dispose of its body. Most spring traps have springs powerful enough to snap a rodent’s neck, and may even hurt you when handled improperly. Glue traps are pieces of sturdy paper or cardboard covered with sticky glue, and once trapped, the rat or mouse then dies from dehydration or even asphyxiation. It is not considered a humane way of getting rid of rats, and may harm other non-targeted animals such as pets as well.
Rodenticides are all toxic, albeit to varying degrees. Not only are they harmful when ingested, but also when inhaled or when it comes in contact with skin. But in large infestations, they are very effective.
Once you’ve eliminated rats and mice, it is important to seal possible pest entry points so infestation will not reoccur.
Having rats indoors is a problem, but so is having them outside. Rats in your yard or garden means damaged and contaminated flowers, vegetables, and plants.
Having them in such close proximity also means they may venture into your house especially during cold winter months.
REMOVE CLUTTER AND OTHER DEBRIS
Rats don’t like open spaces. They want to be able to hide whenever they perceive danger, and that means when you and your pets are around. Removing detritus and other debris will leave them fewer places to hide – and make them want to stay there less.
KEEP GRASS TRIMMED
Having untrimmed or untidy grass gives rats and mice hiding spaces – again the idea is that they don’t like wide, open spaces where they’re left with nowhere to hide.
Other pests such as mosquitoes also rest on tall blades of grass during the day, so trimming your grass also helps to get rid of them.
SEAL ENTRY POINTS IN ANY OUTDOOR SHED
When rats and mice are able to enter any dwelling, including outdoor sheds, that provides them with a readily available shelter and access to materials they might scavenge. Make sure you keep yours sealed by closing any small gaps and crevices they can squeeze through.
Keep all items neatly stored away or hanging – as much as possible, don’t leave items piled on the ground. These are safe spaces for rats, mice, and other pests.
Rats also tend to construct nests from paper and cardboard (as well as grass). Keep such materials properly stored away.
KEEP TRASH RECEPTACLES CLOSED
Rats, mice, and other rodents and pests love to feed on trash. It’s important to have garbage bins with a sturdy cover so they don’t get inside. Removing easily accessible food sources such as this goes a long way in making your property less attractive for pests.
Rats and mice are drawn to human dwellings because they’re protected from the elements and have a steady supply of food and water. Rats also love to hide and be as undisturbed as possible, and they can fit in very small spaces – this means they often navigate your home and build nests behind walls.
CHECK FOR HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS
Rats avoid people and would prefer to stay behind walls all the time if they could, however they do have to venture out every once in a while, often to look for food.
Rats and mice typically use the same routes over and over again, and you should be able to see some visible signs of wear in such areas. They may also leave droppings along these routes – these look like small, dark seeds. The duller or more faded and dried out they are, the older the droppings. If they are shiny, it means they’re fresh.
Once you’ve identified these high traffic areas, place traps or rodent bait along these routes.
CARDBOARD BOX TRAP
Another method you can try is by trapping them in a cardboard box – note that you’ll have to drill a hole into your wall.
- Place a cardboard box against a wall and drill a hole into it (both holes in the cardboard and the wall need to be aligned).
- Place food bait inside the cardboard box.
The idea is that when a mouse comes sniffing after the bait, they’ll fall into the box and won’t be able to jump or climb out. You can cover the top of the box with cellophane so you’ll have a window to look into the box.
You may want to use food-scented poisoned rat baits so you don’t have to worry about them eventually figuring out a way out of the cardboard box if you’re not able to attend to caught rodents right away.
Rats are common household pests, and they’re also often the main reason why businesses end up calling for pest control help – they get in everywhere, they spread disease, and they scare people away. They’re constantly gnawing on things to wear down their teeth, and that often means electrical wirings, which also means costly repairs for you and a potential fire hazard too.
The most common rats plaguing homes and businesses in the United States are Norway rats and Roof rats. Roof rats, as the name suggests, occupy the upper stories or parts of a building such as attics. Norway rats occupy lower parts of the building.
- Grayish black to solid black in color
- Have a gray or white underbelly
- Scaly tail
- Have a pointed head
- Are excellent climbers, and typically live above ground (though they can also nest in underground burrows)
- Reddish to grayish brown coarse fur
- Underbelly is mostly gray in color
- Have a blunt nose
- Typically found in ground dwellings or along foundational walls
Once you’ve identified the type of rat you’re dealing with, you’ll have a better idea of where their nest should be. You can then use a variety of traps or pesticides to get rid of them.
Most cage traps are designed to safely rapture rodents so you can safely relocate them. There are also electronic cage traps you can purchase that will trap the rodent and then shock it with enough electricity to instantly kill it.
Glue traps are also effective, and you can place these along high traffic areas. They’re also effective against other pests that will be trapped. Note though that this is not considered a humane way of eliminating rodents, as they’ll die of dehydration or asphyxiation. It may also harm other non-targeted animals such as pets.
Once you’ve begun eliminating rats and mice inside of your home, make sure to seal their possible entry points so you won’t have the same problem again in the future.
Rats like to stay in people’s homes where it’s warm and they have easy access to food and water. Sometimes getting rid of rats is as simple as making your home less desirable for them.
Leaving moth balls in the attic, basement, and other dark spaces will drive rats and a number of other pests away.
Be sure to replenish your moth balls when they dissolve. Depending on the environment they’re in, this could be 2 months to a year.
Ammonia will also drive away rats. Make a mixture of ammonia using a quarter of water in a bowl, 2 spoons of detergent, and 2 cups of regular ammonia. Place bowl where you think a lot of rats are.
Rats strongly dislike the smell of peppermint essential oil. What’s great about this method is essential oils are something readily available in markets, and it smells pleasant for most people.
You can mix water and peppermint oil in a spray bottle and spritz it around the corners and walls you think rats regularly travel through. You can also place cotton balls dipped in peppermint essential oil and place it along these routes.
Cultivate peppermint plants to help repel rats and other pests away.
INSTANT MASHED POTATOES
Another surprising item you can use to eliminate rats and mice would be to use instant mashed potatoes as bait.
Place instant mashed potato flakes along routes rats travel along. Once they consume these flakes and drink water, it will expand inside their stomachs and kill them.
The problem with poisoning rats is that there’s a good chance they die somewhere that’s inaccessible to you. This means you may have to deal with the smell of a decomposing rat, and as it’s a safety hazard, you have to remove its corpse by cutting through wall or other blockage to get to it.
The most effective and safest way to get rid of rats would be to trap them in cages, whether alive or dead. This way you can either relocate them safely, or remove their corpses quickly and easily.
Roof rats are one of the most common rats to infest homes and business properties. They are excellent climbers, and they’re likely to occupy the upper stories or parts of a structure such as attics. As they can spread many diseases, it’s important to get rid of them right away.
- Grayish black to solid black in color
- Have a gray or white underbelly
- Smooth fur
- Have a pointed head
- 7-10 inches in size
- Tail is longer than their bodies
SOME SIGNS YOU HAVE ROOF RATS
- You hear them moving, scratching, or even gnawing from the attic or ceiling
- Urine stains on ceilings
- Inspect attic for rat droppings
- Inspect attic for tracks through dust or dirt
Roof rats are often sensitive to changes in their environment, so it may take them awhile to venture into the traps and baits set.
Follow these steps to help eliminate Roof rats from your home:
- Remove clutter rats can use to hide in
- Rats also use paper and cardboard to create their nests, so store these away properly
- Seal away food properly and make sure the lids are tight-fitting. Rats, mice, and other pests can easily get to food stored in cardboard boxes
- Store pet food away properly, and don’t leave out pet food (and water) overnight
You can set poisoned baits where you think a lot of rats are. The rats then become poisoned after ingesting the bait and die. Note that they may die in places that are inaccessible to you which will make it hard to dispose of their bodies properly.
A more effective method to use for getting rid of rats indoors would be to use traps. You can quickly and easily remove rats once they’re trapped in the cage.
Place cage traps along corners and walls where roof rats travel through. You can place two cage traps back-to-back with the entry ways facing out. When using spring traps, place multiple traps one end after the other along these pest runways.
Rodents can spread 35+ diseases to humans
A female mouse can have 15 litters in one year
Rats can live up to 18 months
Rats are responsible for the black plague
Rodents have strong enough teeth to chew through glass
Check out our blog entries on Rodent Control here.
- How to get rid of pack rats
- How to get rid of mice and rats?
- How to get rid of rats in the attic?
- How to get rid of rats naturally?
- How to get rid of rats in the yard without harming pets?
- How to get rid of burrowing rats?
- How to get rid of rats under the house
White-throated Wood rats, or just wood rats or pack rats as they’re commonly referred to, have a propensity for storing or collecting food and other various items. These collected items include sticks, twigs, small pebbles, and shiny metal objects such as buttons or small jewelry taken from homes.
Pack rats can carry fleas, ticks, and are able to spread a number of diseases and contaminate our water and food.
- Have large eyes and protruding ears
- They range from 8 inches to 20 inches long including their tail, which accounts for about half their length
- Brownish gray fur
- Whitish undersides and feet
- Hairy tail
SIGNS YOU HAVE PACK RATS IN YOUR HOUSE
- Urine and fecal pellets
- Chewed out wirings and cables
- Gnawed surfaces on various items
- Grease marks on various surfaces
- Missing jewelry or other shiny objects such as coins
- Ripped out padding and cushions from pillows (they may use this to line their nests)
- Small holes along walls
You can get rid of rats using baits, traps, or by repelling them with peppermint essential oil, moth balls, or a number of other household items.
An important factor in getting rid of pack rats (and other types of rats, as well as many other pests) is to make your home as less attractive for them as possible. This means getting rid of clutter they can hide in and eliminating easily accessible food and water sources.
- Clear out storage boxes, debris, and junk. Whenever possible, store items in hard plastic or metal containers
- Keep food preparation areas clean
- Clean food spillage right away
- Don’t leave out pet food or other food overnight, even food in bird feeders
- Remove any standing water outside
- Dispose of trash daily, and make sure garbage bins are properly covered
Make sure the infestation doesn’t reoccur by sealing possible entry points.
Rats and mice chew wirings, cables, and other materials. They create holes along your walls, contaminate your food and water, and spread diseases. If you think you have rodents on your property, it’s important to get rid of them right away before the problem gets worse.
Some effective means of getting rid of rats and mice are the following:
Trapping is an excellent option for people that don’t want to use rodenticides. It is effective in low rat populations, and you can quickly and easily dispose of trapped rodents.
You can purchase and use cage traps, spring traps, glue traps, and even electrical traps (where a rat or mouse is then jolted with enough electricity to kill it).
Cage traps – these are designed to capture rodents live so you can relocate them elsewhere (note that some states prohibit releasing captured pests elsewhere). Poisoned bait may also be used with these cages.
Spring traps – these traps generally have springs powerful enough to snap their necks. You can then easily and safely dispose of dead rodents, whereas other types of rodent control designed to kill them may leave them somewhere inaccessible, making disposing of them difficult.
Glue traps – these are cardboards with non-poisonous sticky glue spread over it. Once caught, rodents are then left to die from dehydration (they are only able to live 2 to 4 days without water, while they can survive for around a week without food) or even asphyxiation. As such, it is not considered a humane way of rodent control, and may also harm non-targeted animals such as pets.
These are pesticides that are designed to kill rodents – rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, porcupine, beavers, etc.
These are bait that when ingested kills the animal. Rodenticides are all toxic (to varying degrees), so be careful in using them when you have children and pets in the house.
Most rodenticides are not only harmful when ingested, but also when inhaled, or when it comes into contact with skin. Make sure to take the proper precautionary steps when using rodenticides.
When you have rats in your attic, you will likely hear scratching or digging sounds. You will hear these sounds especially during the night, as rats are generally nocturnal.
Inspect your attic for clues on how rats got in there in the first place. These will likely be Roof rats, but try to positively identify them anyway.
Possible entry points include vents, roof lines, eave gaps, etc. They could have also climbed up from the lower parts of the structure before nesting in the attic.
Seal these entry points to prevent more rats from coming in, and to prevent the rats in the attic from escaping. Use steel and bolt it against small holes so that rats won’t be able to chew their way through. Use a sealant to then block off all air flow and to further discourage rats outside from trying to come inside. If rats detect airflow, they will try to come in.
Once you’ve sealed your attic, place cage traps or spring traps preferably along their routes. You should be able to spot these routes by dislodged dirt and dust, or if certain points are looking more worn out than others, or in areas where there are a lot of droppings. Be sure to wear gloves, thick boots, and a mask.
You should be able to hear the mechanisms go off in cage and spring traps. Once you no longer hear any sounds coming from your attic, dispose of the traps properly and clean out your attic. Rats tend to leave a lot of droppings, and depending on how long they’ve inhabited the place, it could be tens of thousands of fecal pellets.
You may also want to seal the rest of the house to prevent reinfestation from rats and other pests.
- Seal cracks and crevices along walls and floorboards
- Install screens on windows
- Install steel mesh on any outdoor vents
- Consider installing weather strips on windows and doors to close gaps
There are many methods of getting rid of rats and mice without resorting to toxic chemicals.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to eliminate a small rat population is by setting traps. Cage traps let you capture rodents alive. If poisoned bait is used in conjunction with these traps, then the rodent is exterminated. Spring traps will most likely kill rodents as most of them will have springs powerful enough to snap their neck. For safety, you can place spring traps in protective bait stations so that pets and small children won’t be able to get to it.
- Place traps in high traffic runways
- Place traps where there are a lot of rodent droppings
- Place traps touching walls, as rats and mice like to run alongside it
- You can place 2 rat traps back to back (with the entry points facing out), but place each set of rat traps 15 to 20 feet apart
- When using spring traps, place 4 consecutively alongside walls or other rat routes
- Place rat traps in aboveground locations for Roof rats like rafters and beams. Use wire to fasten traps to these locations.
Note that rats can be cautious when something new is in their environment, so they may not approach these traps at all for several days.
You can speed up this process by placing unset traps in a cardboard box or pie pan, with morsels of food on and around the unset trap. When rats and mice get comfortable taking these bits of food, set the traps. Next time they approach to take food, they will be caught.
INSTANT POTATO FLAKES
A surprising way to get rid of rats would be to use instant potato flakes. Lightly sprinkle these along high traffic rat runways. The rats and mice ingest these flakes, and when they drink water, these flakes should expand and kill them.
Check out Question #5 for other natural methods for killing rats and mice.
Rat poisons are a common way to eliminate rats and mice, and while some pest control companies use products safe for our pets, a lot of rodenticides out there aren’t. When purchasing rat and rodent poisons, make sure to read labels carefully and exercise caution when using them. Bait stations are poisoned bait enclosed in plastic housings to keep it away from curious paws and small hands.
That said, there’s still the risk of your pet getting their hands on a poisoned rat. Be sure to dispose of any dead rats as soon as possible.
Here are a few other ways you can get rid of rats safely – first, it’s important to find out what’s drawing rats to your property, and shelter and an easy access to food and water are on the top of the list.
CLEAR THE YARD
- Eliminate any standing water out in your yard
- Get rid of food sources such as seeds left in bird feeders or pet food left out for stray animals
- Make sure your trash bins are securely covered
- Get rid of detritus or other waste debris they can use to hide under
- Rats and mice can nest under piles of rock and wood
- Trim your grass
- Trim plants especially if they’re close to your house
- If you compost, encase it in chicken wire
Utilizing rat cage traps is another safe method for capturing unwanted rodents. Be sure to regularly check your traps for captured animals and replenish bait. Some traps are designed to hold multiple rodents, while others hold one or two.
Make sure you release captured rodents as appropriate (some states have laws against releasing pests). You’ll need to take them at least half a mile away from your property as they may be able to find their way back. Don’t release them near other houses.
PLANT RAT REPELLENTS
Cultivate peppermint or mint plants – these not only repel rats and mice, but other pests as well. Having these types of plants in your yard encourages rodents to seek shelter and food elsewhere.
Note that mint is an invasive species and can easily grow where you don’t intend for it to.
If you find a hole out in your yard, try to observe what animal created the burrow – meadow voles, moles, or deer mice can also dig burrows out in your yard.
Before deciding what to do with the burrow, you may also want to check if it’s still active. You can partially collapse it or fill it with debris. If it’s been reopened when you check on it again, then that means an animal is still using it.
Rat burrows are usually no deeper than 18 inches unless they’re trying to dig under foundation. It usually isn’t more than 3 feet long, and will have a central nesting area filled with grass, leaves, and other soft debris. These burrows will have a main entrance and exit, as well as 1 or 2 other exit holes.
Inspect visible pathways to and from the burrow entrance. Rats use the same routes over and over again and these routes should have more worn out grass than the surrounding areas. You may also spot their tracks on dirt – Norway rats, found in burrows when living in the outdoors, may leave behind foot tracks ¾ to 1 inch in size (mice foot tracks are much smaller). They can also leave behind grease marks along walls close to the burrow.
Setting traps and using rodenticides near the burrow entrance and along their routes are options in getting rid of rats, however, clearing your yard of debris and readily available food sources also goes a long way in getting rid of them. Keep your grass and plants trimmed.
Make sure you close entry points into your home by sealing cracks and crevices on walls and floorboards, installing screens on windows, and mesh screens on any outside vent. You’ll also want to consider using weather strips to close gaps on doors and windows.
Out in the wild, rats can often be found burrowing underground or nesting under piles of rock, wood, leaves, and other debris.
Some rodents like Norway rats can also travel from their burrow into your house, or even dig right under it to gain access (if they’re nesting right inside your house and don’t have an outside nest, they can nest behind walls, in basements, crawl spaces, or in an infested house, even attics).
Traps and poisoned bait are effective methods for getting rid of rats. Be careful when handling poisoned bait (including water baits) as these are also toxic to you and your pets. Make sure to get a tamper-resistant bait station that’s right for your crawl space. You can also get a battery-operated rat zapper, but you’ll need to check on it often.
- Rats prefer the dark and avoid lighted areas – place a light under your crawl space to make it less cozy for rat invaders. Some lights can automatically turn on when motion is detected, and some lights can also be set to turn on automatically during certain hours of the day so you don’t have to worry about turning it on and off yourself
- Rats and other small animals prefer to avoid drafts so they can conserve their body heat – placing a fan or blower in your crawl space helps repel them from the area
- You can set up a camera trap that automatically records once motion is detected. You can then review footage to see where the rats are coming from
Once you’ve identified rat entry points, seal them to prevent more rats (and other pests) from coming in. You may also want to seal the rest of your house to make sure no more rats can come in – caulk cracks and crevices on walls and floors, install screens on windows, steel mesh on outdoor vents, and weather strips on doors and windows to close gaps.
For more information on rats and mice, check out our Rodent Archives!
- Droppings are a sure way of knowing if you have rodents in your house, and you can tell a lot about what kind of rodent you have by the kind of dropping. Rat droppings are half an inch or longer, while mouse droppings are only less than a quarter inch. Norway Rat droppings are bunt at both ends, while mouse droppings are pointed.
- Gnawed holes are a good sign you have rodents traveling all over your house. They can be as little as the size of a dime to as big as a quarter or more.
- Rodent urine has a strong, pungent smell, easily more detectable in larger infestations.
Rat bait station: these are pesticides in the form of rodent food that kills both rats and mice. Place them where you think rodents are and avoid moving them, and make sure to refill its content as often as possible.
If all else fails, call Watchdog Pest Control to know the best solution depending on the severity of your rodent infestation. We guarantee a quick and effective rodent control to keep your home free from irritating pests.
What we do:
- Inspect your property and accurately identify the type of rodent.
- We set baits and traps outside the home and inside on possible entry points, including your garage, so we can locate and dispose of eliminated rodents properly and in a timely manner.
- We will follow up as necessary to make sure you stay rodent free.
- Our staff will be happy to assist you and provide expert advice.