How to get rid of rats in trees

Written by victoria weinblatt
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An integrated pest-management approach works best for getting rid of rats in trees. Rat removal is essential for the safety of your family. According to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program, rats "consume and contaminate food, damage structures and property, and transmit parasites and diseases to other animals and humans." Take immediate action upon first sight of rats or their droppings. Rodents multiply quickly. Rats are easier to see at night.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sheet metal
  • Metal wire
  • Pliers
  • Drill (or hammer and nail)
  • Rat traps
  • Peanut butter or hot dogs
  • Covered garbage and compost containers

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    How to Get Rid of Rats in Trees

  1. 1

    Rats thrive in a mature landscape. Trim tree branches so they are not in contact with fences, wires, rooftops and other tree branches. The branches of the tree should be pruned to at least 3 feet from the ground. Trim the lower branches of shrubs to expose the rats and increase their vulnerability to predators.

  2. 2

    Rat guards will get rid of rats in trees. You can make them yourself or purchase rat guards at a home and garden store. The University of Florida IFAS Extension office suggests using "a piece of sheet metal 18 to 24 inches wide and as long as the circumference of the tree plus 2 inches." Attach the sheet metal to the tree without damaging the bark. Drill a hole, or use a hammer and a nail, 2 inches from each corner of the sheet metal and wrap it around the tree trunk. Align the holes. Thread a piece of metal wire through the holes and secure like a twist tie with pliers.

  3. 3

    Set rat traps. Affix traps to the trees with wire where you see rats. Use classic bait-and-snap traps. Place the bait-side closest to the ground for vertical tree branches and closest to the trunk for horizontal ones. Peanut butter and hot dogs make good bait. Avoid killing birds and other animals by removing the traps during the day. Set traps from sunset until sunrise.

  4. 4

    Practice proper sanitation to get rid of rats in trees. Remove all items that are attracting the rats. Place all garbage in garbage cans with a snug-fitting lid. Exposed compost heaps should also be placed in containers with secure lids. Pick up your pet's food dish after it is finished eating. Do not leave bowls of uneaten food outside. If your fruit trees are attracting the rats, do not allow fallen fruit to remain on the ground. Remove all brush piles on your property.

Tips and warnings

  • Identify the species of rats, and cater your rat control program accordingly.
  • Keep traps out of the way of pets and children.

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