Once rats and other vermin become established, they are difficult to control and eliminate. Perhaps the best defence in getting rid of rats is understanding these rodents are creatures of habit. The vermin are looking for a constant food source and a place of shelter to raise their offspring. Controlling these two aspects will go a long way in ridding the home of the pests. It will take diligence and perseverance to get rid of rats. The practice must be part of routine maintenance that can lead to elimination.
Keep all food waste and garbage in a metal trash container that can be tightly sealed against any intrusion. Removing the rats' food source is the No. 1 step in control.
Place all dry food goods in a sealed dry food container, preferably metal. Never allow any dried food goods to remain open or left to the gnawing teeth of a rat. Clean up any dry food residue and dispose of it properly.
Remove all material from under the home, such as fallen insulation or other debris. Material under the home can provide great nesting opportunities for rats. Keep all vegetation away from the home's foundation walls. Rats will use thick vegetation for nesting material and perhaps a food source.
Check all openings to the home and below in the crawl space. Seal all openings that are greater than 1/4 inch in diameter. Be sure all doors close tightly. Use locks to keep doors closed; rats can nudge open doors and enter the premises.
Set rat traps and poison baits in areas where the vermin once found food. Set the traps and baits as soon as possible. Stuff the rat trap bait area with smooth peanut butter. The rat will attempt to work out as much of the peanut butter as possible, tripping the mechanism. Keep setting traps and placing baits long after signs of the rats have disappeared. The rats may have been eliminated, or they may have just moved to another area temporarily and may return.
Contact your local pest control agency or the agricultural extension service. People there can provide recommendations for eliminating and controlling rats in your area.
Rat traps have a powerful spring mechanism. The force of the spring trap can cause severe injury to fingers. Keep the set traps out of the reach of children. The poison bait is made to kill large rodents and can harm even large pets. All children and pets must be kept from any area that contains the rat traps and the poisonous bait.