In Pinellas County rats are the most common rodent to invade a home. Rats will often cohabitate with humans, preferring areas not frequented by other occupants like attics, crawl spaces, and overgrown plantings or trash piles. The invaders are looking for shelter and can access your home through openings – sometimes through what looks like an impossibly small crack or hole.
The Problem with Rats
Besides being creepy, rats also are destructive – chewing on wires, water pipes, AC ducts, wood, boxes, memorabilia, and more to build nests. Bare wires can cause house fires, pipes can burst, leaking AC ducts waste energy, and the loss of family photos, heirlooms, and family treasures can crush your soul.
Even more disgusting is their urine and feces – they are not housebroken, or litterbox trained. They pee and poo everywhere, leaving a stench. Beyond the stench, the droppings can contaminate food, carry disease, and stain.
Rats are noisy. Usually active a night, when you’re trying to sleep, their chewing, scratching, and scampering around can be haunting when coming from an attic, wall, or floor. Rats making noise is often the first indication you have these unwanted house guests.
What to Do for Rats
Step one is to understand the rats are looking for food, water, and shelter. Since they eat just about everything from seeds to meat, eliminating the food source is nearly impossible And there is no shortage of water in and around a home. Denying shelter is the primary goal. This is done with exclusion – denying access to shelter.
Exclusion is blocking every possible opening into the home. Rats can enter a home through the unscreened attic or crawl space vents, utility openings for pipes, gaps, cracks in the exterior, broken windows, and other openings. Finding and blocking every possible opening requires a careful inspection of the home and sealing openings with foam, hardware cloth, and other patches.
Step two is to eliminate the rats in the home. This is done with traps. Quick, effective, and humane, the traps should be set near the rat’s nest and checked every couple of days. Trapping should continue until the traps yield no results.
Step three is a preventive or proactive treatment. Bait stations that contain rat poison are placed around the exterior of homes to reduce rat populations. This is helpful if surrounding areas harbor rats such as abandoned buildings and overgrown lots, trash piles, fields, fruit trees, etc.
Rat Control is a Dirty Job
For the DIY’er, it can be done but you must do all three steps. Failure to exclude, trap and reduce the population and return of the rats is inevitable. Rats are very persistent and will spend 24/7/365 trying to invade your home for shelter. Hiring a professional can save you a lot of time and money and is often quicker.