If you suspect that you might have a rat problem in your home but aren’t 100% sure, there are several easy ways to inspect your home to find surefire evidence of their presence.
1. Strange Smells & Sounds: Simply put your ear against a wall and listen carefully. Pay attention to odors. Rats give off a powerful ammonia smell, and they’re very loud – making almost non-stop squeaking, scratching, and rustling noises within the walls and furniture as they move throughout your home.
2. Droppings & Smears: Rats will leave droppings behind as they scurry about your home. The feces are small, dark colored and pellet-shaped, and you’ll likely find them along their main pathways. Luckily, since rats have poor eyesight, they create and maintain established routes along the walls, so they are easy to spot. As they travel these routes, they leave greasy smears and smudges along the walls.
3. Rat-Shaped Footprints And Tailmarks: Take a closer look into a seldom-used, dusty area of your home, especially corners. Rats often leave foot and tail marks in the places they travel through. If your home isn’t dusty, you can try using baking soda in the area and then check it the next morning.
There are two ways to go about getting rid of rats – professional rat exterminator services or DIY methods. Pest control is quite pricey and can cost anywhere between $300 and $550 or more, depending on the company and various factors. So if you want to save a good deal of money and aren’t afraid of the icky job, then the DIY route would be ideal.
The following DIY methods are very effective in getting rid of rats, and with due diligence, you’ll keep them out of your home for good.
Never underestimate the power of a simple mousetrap when it comes to getting rid of rats. Mouse traps work best when you have a good idea of where the rats are living. Rats don’t travel far, so if you’ve been finding feces and other telltale signs of rats along your baseboards, in your cabinet and various other areas around your home, there’s a good chance that’s where they’re hanging out.
There are three common types of mouse traps that you can choose from:
1. Sticky Traps – These large, adhesive pads contain super strong glue that immediately adheres to a rodent’s foot once they step on them.
2. Snap Traps – This traditional type of trap uses a trigger that causes a bar to snap down and catch the rat. It’s simple, extremely effective, and best for a mild to moderate rat problem.
3. Electric Traps: These traps lure rats into an enclosed chamber before shocking them with electric shocks. While it’s fatal for mice, rats and other small rodents, these traps are safe for children, thus making them an excellent alternative to poisons.
Be advised that rats will avoid and find a way around the trap if they sense a dead rat in one, so don’t forget to clean and change up the exact location of the traps every few days or so to maximize their effectiveness.
If you’re interested in a very natural method to get rid of rats, it doesn’t get any more chemical-free than essential oils. Pungent, strong – scented oils like tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint are your best bet. The intense menthol smell covers up the pheromone trails rats use to navigate, and irritates their noses.
Try mixing about 10 drops of essential oil with a cup of water in a spray bottle, then spray the mixture along baseboards and door jams.
Important warning: If you have any pets, check with your vet first to make sure that it’s safe for them.
Try using bait stations alongside traps when getting rid of rats. A bait station is an enclosed box, usually made of plastic, and contains rodent killer inside. The poison is covered to make it safe for kids and pets, but is very effective at killing rodents.
If you’re not allergic to cats, buying or adopting a cat can be very beneficial in keeping rats away and under control, thereby preventing future infestations.
While any cat will do, barn cats or cats that have grown up as predominantly outdoor cats are typically the best hunters.
Rats don’t need a large entry point to get into your house, so seal any gaps in your interior or exterior walls. For lasting results, fill these gaps with wire wool, metal kick plates, cement, or caulk. Check them a few times a month to make sure they’re well-maintained. Also, try not to leave any leftover food on tables, beds and counters, as this attracts rats.