A rat infestation is a problem that should not be ignored. These rodents, like certain other members of the rodent family such as the house mouse, can spread germs and diseases that can potentially be hazardous to your health. Therefore, if you notice an infestation in your house, the best thing to do is take all measures necessary to kill them off and prevent further infestation before they begin breeding and become out of control.
When to Act
The Norway rat and the roof rat are the two most common types of rats that enter homes. You can tell them apart by size and appearance. The Norway rat is much larger than the roof rat. Also, the Norway rat is typically grey or brown in colour, much like the house mouse, with a much longer tail. The roof rat is typically almost black in colour with a shorter tail. There are usually telltale signs that you have a rat infestation in your home. Droppings or faeces are one of the key signs of an infestation. Rats, like mice, are notorious for leaving droppings behind as they run, walk or creep through your home. Looking for urine is another good way to tell if you have a rat infestation. This can be done with a black light in suspected areas of infestation. When the black light hits the urine, the urine will light up, making an infestation in the attic or other dark and inaccessible areas easier to diagnose. Odour is another sure sign of rat infestation. Rat or mice urine has a distinct scent to it, and when there is enough of them present in the home, all the urine left behind will cause a foul odour. Other sure signs you have a rat issue include sounds of scampering in your walls or attic, holes in your drywall or other areas and rub marks. Once you realise you have an infestation, no matter what the type of rat, you must address the problem immediately. Rats are capable of reproducing like mice, so it is only a matter of time before a few rats become many.
You should avoid using rodenticides in the home for two reasons. If you have children or pets, these products might harm them if they are accidentally ingested. Secondly, all rodenticides on the shelves of stores today work by anticoagulation. Therefore, it takes a great deal of time before the rodent actually dies after ingesting the poisons, which enables it to crawl into a wall or other unreachable area. If it dies in these areas, your house can smell like a dead animal for weeks or even months. Rodenticides should be kept strictly for outdoor use, and even then they should be used in moderation.
Best Methods to Use
Using a rat zapper is a sure way to kill rats. These rat traps may cost a little more money, but they can be used repeatedly without ever needing to be replaced. Just make sure you replace the batteries regularly to ensure the jolt delivered to the rodent is as strong as it can possibly be. Typically the battery life is six months, even after rodents have been repeatedly zapped. A sling trap is another relatively safe trap that can be used inside the home. Although these traps can be baited with cheese or peanut butter, they should usually be baited with a rat or mouse bait that has been developed and proven to be effective to achieve best results. These two traps are the best for killing rats indoors due to the fact that they kill the rat quickly. Once you have killed the rats, make sure you don't get more by using steel wool or another tough product like it to cover the holes in your home that exist and are allowing rats to gain entry into your home. The general rule of thumb is to cover any outside access hole in your foundation, roof or rain gutters that is as large as a quarter or bigger. Even smaller holes should be covered due to the fact that rats will gnaw a hole bigger to gain entry.