Bad news definitely describes them. Rats have been known to contaminate food, damage property, and transmit diseases. Rats have been known to gnaw on just about anything; electrical wires, wooden structures, insulation, and packaging materials. Rats are a pest that can dwell in just about any environment, indoors or out. For any successful rat control plan, you need to understand the rat.
First of all, rats are year-round pests. There’s no such thing as a Rat Season. You won’t always see the rodents. Instead, you should know what to look for. You’ll often hear noises in walls and in attics. Another tell is the presence of smudge marks against walls, pipes and beams from rats rubbing their fur up against them. Rat droppings can be found in many places, especially in and around your trash.
Rat control should first start with rat prevention. Replacing or repairing damaged ventilation and covering crawl spaces are a good way to prevent access. Rats can get into the smallest openings. Be sure to seal all cracks in foundation and siding. Don’t forget where the pipes and wires enter your home and dryer vents. Open chimneys also allow entry into your home by pests. Weatherstrip all doors. Sanitation is also a key facto in prevention. Good housekeeping will reduce food sources that attract the rat. And it’s not only your food that they are seeking out. Be sure to keep your pet foods up and away as well.
If you do find yourself with a rat infestation, there are do-it-yourself steps you can make.
Trapping is sometimes preferred as it simply removes the pest from your home allowing you to release them back out into the wild and not hurt them. Trapping is also an attractive option because since they can be used again and again, they can be a very inexpensive pest control.
However, because rats don’t appear to have many redeeming qualities, you may not want to do the whole catch-and-release thing. In that instance, chemical use may be preferred. Baits are very popular because of their reach. Baits consist of a poison, but rather than kill the rat instantly, it is a slow-moving poison allowing the rat to return to its nest and thereby affecting others. The key to a bait is placement. You need to be sure you leave a bait where it will be found. Ideal places would be where rats would seek out shelter. If you’ve noticed droppings, that’s a good place.