Do You Have Rats in Your Home? FAQs for Homeowners

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 01:26 PM

Rats can be a big problem for homeowners. Rats can spread diseases, cause destruction to property, and create more pest problems down the road. Many homeowners don't even know the signs that they have rats. This guide answers some common questions about rats, and it can help homeowners who want information about rats and how they can prevent this pest on their property.


What Are the Signs You Have Rats in Your Home?

If you have rats in your home, then you may notice these signs of an infestation. 

Rub Marks on Walls

Rats are known to have dirty bodies and poor eyesight. When traveling from one location to another, they travel known routes and stay close to the walls. The result is dirt or grime on the walls in the location where they frequently walk. 


Rats are like mice in that they drop feces everywhere they go. Feces can be found along their favorite routes and near the walls. In locations where rats spend a lot of time, feces may be found in small piles. Rat feces do not smell, but rat urine may smell like ammonia. Rat feces are approximately half an inch long and are shaped like grains of rice. This is larger than mouse poop, which is approximately a quarter of an inch long.


Rats can chew through surfaces as strong as wood and plastic and may have chewed their way into your home. Rats can also squeeze through small cracks so watch for those as well. 

Scratching Sounds

Rats make noises in the house as they chew through walls, eat food, and interact with one another. For example, if you have rats, then scratching noises can be heard in the walls and in the attic.

Of course, rats aren't the only animal that makes noises in the walls. Homeowners who hear scratching noises in their walls may also have mice, squirrels, or other small animals. A good pest control company can help the homeowner decide what type of animal is making the noise.


What's the Difference Between Rats and Mice?

Rats are longer, heavier, and they grow more slowly than mice. When the given the chance, many rats will kill mice. In addition, mice and rats tend not to occupy the same spaces. Mice focus on eating grains while rats like to eat garbage.  


Are Rats Dangerous?

Usually, rats are not inclined to bite people unless they feel threatened. However, rats can be dangerous because they can spread diseases such as the plague and rat bite fever. Rats can also be a fire hazard in homes they inhabit because they can chew through wires and create a fire hazard. 


How Can You Get Rid of the Rats in Your Home?

Getting rid of rats is not easy. Once they're living in a space, rats can be very loyal to their home. Once rats move in they need to be exterminated. 

Working with a professional pest control service is one of the best ways to get rid of rats. A good pest control service can use a combination of traps and other natural means to get rid of rats.

You should also remove food and water sources to make your home inhospitable — some ways to accomplish this include:

  • Fix any leaks in the house.
  • Put a lid on all interior and exterior garbage cans.
  • Take out the trash as soon as it’s full. 
  • Put any food in the pantry into glass containers.

Following these tips can help get rid of rats, but usually eliminating a rat population takes time. 


Can You Trap Rats Without Help From a Pest Control Service?

While you may be able to trap rats without help from a professional, a professional pest control person will know where to look for rats, what type of traps to use, and how to use them safely. Their knowledge will help the extermination go faster and smoother.


How Can You Prevent the Rats From Returning?

Once rats are gone, you should do a few things to prevent them from returning. Cleaning up every night after every meal can help make the home a less attractive environment to rats. Sealing up any holes that lead inside the house can also help. Usually, it is best to seal these holes with steel wool, which rats cannot chew through. 

Finally, many homeowners find that it helps to work with a pest control company for regular treatments, even after the rats are gone. Pest control companies can put traps around the home's exterior to control the rat population around the house. This makes it easier to prevent a rat infestation inside the house. 

If you have any other questions about rats and would like to know more about how to prevent and control their population, then contact us at Greenleaf Organic Pest Management, Inc. We're happy to answer your questions.