Rodent Infestations

How to Get Rid of Rats at Home

One of the most unsightly things for any homeowner is spotting a rat in their own home. If there is one, there are definitely more, and the situation can quickly become a health hazard. To avoid a rat infestation, every homeowner should know why rats choose their property to begin with. Finding out would help prevent further infestations. In the meantime, however, the Fantastic Services team has made this guide on how to get rid of rats in the house fast.

Table of Contents:

What attracts rats to your house

  • Food. If you store grain in your attic or basement, you can be sure that rats will find it. Bird feeders can also attract rats – if the seeds are not eaten by birds, they will be eaten by rats. Any nuts, fruits or pet food out in the open would be a target. 
  • Water. Outdoor water sources, such as swimming pools or leaking sprinklers can become a perfect attractant for rodents.
  • Easy entry spots. Rats are always on the move, seeking shelter for their young. They can squeeze into incredibly small cracks and holes. As long as they find an entry point to a small protected space that provides warmth, they could easily make a nest there.
  • Safety and security. Once a rat has found a safe and warm place in your home, they would stay for a long time. If they feel protected from predators and have a secure supply of food and water, they will certainly make your home their home.

Signs of rats

  • Droppings around the house, behind the kitchen appliances;
  • Squeaking, scratching and soft footstep sounds at night;
  • Nests made out of any soft material (hair, cloth, paper, furniture stuffing); 
  • Gnawed food and packages;
  • Dark marks on the boards and walls, that look like dirt and grease;
  • Gnawed wires and cables;
  • Damaged insulation;
  • Burrows in the yard.

Are rats dangerous?

Rats are capable of causing serious property damage. Their very presence creates an unsanitary environment, which, if left untreated, can threaten the health of your family and pets. The rodents tend to chew on paper, rubber, cardboard and any food left out in the open. A particularly bad scenario is when they chew on electric cables. This could cause a power cut and even start a fire.

If rats nest in your garden instead of your house, they will most probably hang around or inside your shed if you store produce in there. Or they may burrow holes in the soil and disturb your plants.

Diseases transmitted by rats

  • Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Humans get infected by inhaling contaminated dust from rat urine or droppings or by direct contact with rat waste.
  • Salmonellosis. Salmonella bacteria cause food poisoning. It can be spread through food or water contaminated by rat faeces.
  • Leptospirosis. The infection that a human can get by contacting a diseased soil or freshwater.
  • Rat-bite fever. Transmitted through a rat bite or scratch, or by getting in contact with a dead rat.
Rats are nocturnal, so they can mostly be seen during the night. However, if the infestation is severe, they might come out during the day because their hiding spots are overflowing. If you see a rat during the day, call an exterminator immediately!

How to get rid of rats in your house

Once you’ve found out that there is a rat infestation in your house, it’s time to do something about it. Here is a list of options you can try:

  1. Identify the rats’ feeding and nesting places

    First, it’s important to find a place where the rats tend to hide. This is typically the place they nest and the place they feed. Look for holes in the walls bigger than 70 mm and chew marks.

  2. Use snap traps

    Using manual snap traps is the most effective method of capturing and killing rats, but it requires some patience. It’s also the least expensive way to do so compared to the rest options in this post. There are small snap traps designed to catch mice and large ones that are appropriate for catching rats. Make sure to get the larger ones. Install the traps close to the walls or concealed areas. Use a small amount of bait to prevent the pest from stealing it instead of being trapped.

  3. Try live traps

    Live traps are cages with a special mechanism that closes once a rat gets inside. They’re used for the humane disposal of rodents. You would have to inspect them regularly and empty them every time they have caught a rodent. Then, the process starts all over again.

  4. Opt for rat poison

    Using rodent pesticides is also a very effective method for killing rats. However, they’re quite dangerous. Use them only in the areas where children and pets can not access them. Always follow the safety instructions on the label and use gloves and a face mask when applying the rodenticide.

  5. Placement

    Whether you choose to use traps or rat poison, it’s important to know where to place the product for optimal efficiency. It’s not advisable to position the traps or apply the poison near food or water supply. Instead, place them close to the rats’ nesting place. Even if they aren’t at “home”, they will at some point come back. 
    Something that can help you identify where to place traps is to use non-toxic rodent bait, or “biomarker”. This type of rodenticide doesn’t have an active ingredient to kill rats. Instead, it allows you to identify the nesting and runaway places. To monitor rats’ movements, you need to use UV light – the faeces will glow after the “poison” is eaten. Once you have identified their favourite spots, you can install traps or place a regular rodent bait.

  6. Remove rats humanely

    If you’ve decided to get rid of rats without killing them, you would have to release them in the wild one by one. Take them out and try to release them as far away as possible so they don’t return. Bear in mind, however, that this is a good strategy only if you are certain you have only a few rats at home. For larger infestations, you’ll have to exterminate all of the rodents to make sure they don’t come back.

  7. Call a rat exterminator

    If everything fails and you still see signs of an infestation despite all your efforts, it’s time to call the professionals. Rat exterminators know what they’re doing and can guarantee you a pest-free home. While the cost of pest control can be expensive, it is always worth it if the infestation is too large for you to handle.

Learn how to get rid of furry neighbours in 4 simple steps with Fantastic Services.

How to prevent rat infestation

Once the rats leave your home, you can finally take a deep breath and relax. For a day. After that, you should take precautions against a new infestation. Just because they’ve left you alone for now doesn’t mean they won’t ever come back. Here’s what you can do to prevent another infestation:

  • Remove any clutter. Sometimes, rats don’t nest inside the walls or in any hard to get places, but inside a room, if there are enough hiding places. This makes a cluttered attic or basement the perfect shelter for the pesky vermin. To avoid this, declutter your home of all unnecessary items.
  • Keep food in airtight containers. If you have to store food in your attic, basement or garden shed, use airtight plastic containers, instead of bags. This would prevent mice and rats from sensing that there is food inside, so they won’t be attracted.
  • Take out the rubbish every day. Avoid giving rodents a reason to come close to your home. Never leave any food out in the open. This includes leftovers from dinner or dirty dishes in the sink. If you have to throw away any organic waste, take out the rubbish as soon as possible. If you can’t, invest in a waste disposal unit with an airtight seal. Keep your home clean and remove food spillages, crumbs, etc. from all surfaces in a timely manner. Clean debris and woodpiles, to limit the chances of rats nesting in your garden.
  • Seal any holes and possible entry points in your property. It’s advisable to inspect the structure of your building once every year. Check for cracks and holes. Inspect also the garage doors, the chimneys, the dryer and AC vents. Anything that can serve as a crawl space should be properly sealed. This way, you’ll block all potential routes towards the inside of your property.
  • Get a cat. A cat won’t do much if you already have a full-blown infestation, but it could generally ward off the attempts of new rats settling into your home. Or in other words, when rats sense that there is a natural predator waiting for them, they wouldn’t even dream of making their nest close to it. In all honesty, dogs are also reliable against rats.
  • Scents rats hate. Cayenne pepper, garlic, ammonia, mothballs, peppermint oil and lavender are among the most common smells rats hate. All of these work as natural rat repellents.

Need an immediate solution?

Fantastic Services got you covered! Rat extermination is not an easy task, especially if you haven’t had any experience with it before. We offer a professional solution that meets all the safety standards. The team of professionals is sent on a spot to detect the level of infestation, pinpoint the entry/exit spots and get rid of all the rodents inside your house. Book a guaranteed rat control service today!

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  • Rats choose warm spots where they can easily find food and water supply;
  • If you have a feeling that there are rats in your attic, check for other rat signs like gnawed insulation or droppings;
  • Rats are nocturnal creatures. If you see them during the day, it means that the infestation is severe; 
  • To exterminate rats without professional help, install snap traps, live traps or rat poison;
  • Never touch dead animals with bare hands to avoid disease transmission;
  • To prevent rat infestation, tidy your property regularly and seal any possible entry spots.

Did you find our article on removing rats helpful? Do you have something to add? Please, share your knowledge and thoughts in the comments below!

Image source: New Africa/

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