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Pest infestations can be worrisome, and none more than rats. The first sign of rats in the attic is hearing them scamper around, which can be irritating, especially when you’re trying to sleep. But a rat infestation brings with it bigger problems.
Rats chew through everything from insulation to cables and wires, multiply rapidly and carry diseases. So if you think you have rats in your attic, you ought to deal with them immediately. Here are some effective pest control tips to get rid of rats in the attic.
Understanding the rat problem
The type of rats that find their way into attics here in the United States are most often roof rats, which usually nest in trees. The reason these rats look for refuge in our attics is that it provides them a warm place with water and protection from natural predators.
Once roof rats find a way into the attic, they will chew through electrical wiring, cables, attic insulation, and anything else in their path to find the perfect spots for them to hide out and reproduce. Even though these rodents are small, their teeth are sharp and never stop growing, allowing them to work their way through a variety of materials, ranging from wood to plastic, fiber, and even lead.
The damage to your home caused by roof rats doesn’t end there. They will chew through anything and everything you may have stored in the attic as well. And let’s not forget how vociferously they multiply.
A couple of rats can have between 5 and 7 litters a year, each with around 8 to 12 pups. So within a year, you’re likely to have a burgeoning rat population under your roof!
Then, there is their excrement. A single rat excretes around 40 to 50 foul-smelling, tiny pellets in a single day. Pretty soon, your entire home will be stinking. And all of this is likely to be detrimental to the well-being of your family and yourself as well as the structural integrity of your home.
Rat control measures
Now that we’ve seen the extent of the damage these rodents can cause, let’s take a look at some effective ways to get rid of roof rats.
Identify and seal entry points
The first item on your list of things to do to get rid of rats is to identify where they’re your home from and seal those entry points.
Keep in mind that in most cases, if a rat can get its head into an opening, it can get the rest of its body in. That means a hole, crack or crevice even as small as a dime is a potential entry point for a rat.
You will need to check the outside of your home thoroughly for entry points. This includes windows, doors, spaces under doors, cracks in walls, garage doors, and more.
Once you’ve identified potential rat entries, the next thing for you to do is seal those up with a material that the pesky pest cannot chew through. Examples of these materials include metal flashing, expansion foam, copper mesh, steel wool and hardwire cloth.
If the holes are larger, then consider more permanent solutions, such as cement or sheet metal. Irrespective of what you choose, the end result ought to be to prevent rats from chewing through them again.
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Trim the climbers
Roof rats are strong climbers and use plants like ivy to clamber up our walls and into our homes. Also, roof rats not only nest in ivy but are also capable of jumping more than four feet to get to where they want.
Roof rats are also known to be extremely smart and agile, capable of shifting from branches of trees to wires and cables, balancing themselves as they find a way into our homes.
This makes it essential for you to keep trimming your ivy climbers and other trees as often as possible, even if they are a few feet away from the house.
Be careful of debris
Things like woodpiles and construction debris are a haven for rats and other critters to multiply, especially since they are often in close proximity to multiple food sources. The woodpiles and debris themselves house insects and spiders, which rats eat. And if there’s a garbage bin close by, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet for these pests.
To avoid this, clear out all debris as soon as possible. If you need to stack firewood, do it at an elevation. That way, rats can’t burrow under the pile and get into your home.
Safe food storage
Once you have rats in your home, it’s just a matter of time before they find their way to your food. And that is when the spread of diseases begins. This makes it important to ‘rat-proof” your food until you’ve dealt with the rodent problem.
To begin with, always store food in rat-proof containers. This means plastic and cardboard boxes are out of the question. You will need to store your groceries in specific rodent-proof boxes.
Then, there is the matter of garbage disposal. Most of us don’t secure our garbage bins after we put our food waste in them. However, doing so is easier than it sounds.
You could secure the lid using bungee ropes, or simply keep something heavy, like a large stone, on the lid. You even get garbage bins with screw-on lids. All of these measures will ensure the rats can’t feed on your food wastes or on your fresh food.
With no access to food in your home, the rats will eventually move out to find another food source.
Finally, if all else fails, trap and get rid of the rats once and for all. There are a variety of rat traps that you can choose to do the job for you, including snap traps, glue traps, and live traps. The use of rat poison is another option.
However, if you do have a serious rat problem, we’d suggest you call in an expert pest control company.
Why it’s best to call in the experts
There are a number of reasons why calling in pest exterminators who specialize in rodent control is the prudent thing to do.
For one, removing dead rats can be an uncomfortable experience for a lot of us. Then, there is the fact that these are professionals, who know exactly how to strategically place baited traps after making sure there are no escape routes for the rats.
And finally, once they have all the rats out of your home, they will work with you on a plan to prevent future rat infestation.