It almost does not matter where you live or work, whether in the city, in the suburbs or out in the rural country: You may find yourself dealing with rodent problems from time to time.
There are specific reasons for this, some of which you can do something about to avoid a rat infestation in the first place.
However, if you detect signs that you have rats, there is no need to beat yourself up over it. Take action early at the first signs to reduce the likelihood that the rats will propagate and present a health hazard and making the problem even harder to tackle. To help you, we have outlined what signs to look for and how to go about eradicating rats safely.
Prevention and What to Look For
Rats are intelligent creatures with a mission when it comes to food and shelter. They enjoy a warm place to get out of the cold, too, so you can be vigilant as the weather starts to shift. There is an increased chance of discovering rats have invaded your home or other buildings during fall and into winter even without anything tempting them such as animal feed or pet food. Farm or stable owners know enough to keep all feed well covered and protected from rat raids.
Rats can enter a building via any covering through which they can chew, so inspect the property from the ground to the roof. Pay particular attention to any area where outside elements are fed through the outer building envelope into the home, cabin or commercial buildings such as cable lines, vents or where there may be flashing or duct work. Look for any voids that are bigger than one-fourth of an inch. Keep any trash cans sealed both inside and outdoors. It is a good idea to store any stacks of firewood as well as debris piles away from buildings to eliminate potential rat’s nests.
Rats are very good climbers and won’t hesitate to use adjacent tree limbs or trellises to search out any of the unsealed nooks and crannies to invite themselves inside. Since nature has provided the rat with a set of teeth that continually grow, they are constantly seeking materials through which to gnaw and chew to help keep those nasty chompers filed down.
Rats are known to chew through metal, plastic, wooden beams, joists, wallboard and cardboard. The longer a rat infestation goes undetected, the greater financial damage they can wreak on your property with their incessant chewing. Worse than this, though, they like to chew through wires, which can subject a building to the possibility of an electrical fire.
The Telltale Signs You Have Rats
You do not need to see a rat, dead or alive before the critters have taken up residence in your building. While rats prefer to come out during the night, you may be able to detect their invisible presence from the sounds they make. In fact, you are less likely to see one before you begin to detect the signs that indicate their presence such as:
- Sounds of scurrying or squeaking within walls, cabinets or drawers
- Sounds of soft foot patter after everyone has gone to bed
- Indications of nests using shredded materials like paper or cushion stuffing
- Disturbed insulation or wallboard
- Rub marks along walls or baseboards that might appear to be dirty grease marks
- Piles of droppings just about anywhere including the ground, in an attic or basement or behind large appliances
- Food packages that have been chewed open
- Food containers or wooden spoons that have been gnawed on
- Damage to duct-work that has been chewed through
Rats may also be detected by the footprints and tail marks they leave in dusty zones of buildings that tend to have no other activity. While it is possible to shed flashlight on these markings to identify them, you can also spread a layer of fine flour or talcum powder along the floor nearby in order to check for signs of fresh tracks. Other places to check for signs of infestation include crawlspaces, cavity walls, suspended ceilings, lofts and attic spaces, decks, sheds, garages, drains and compost bins.
The Need for Safe Rodent Control
There are common poisons on the market that may be spread around where you suspect rats are traveling to try to eradicate an infestation. There are also big problems associated with the use of these toxic materials. Largely, the use of anticoagulant rodent poisons tends to go beyond the scope of your rat problem reaching other wildlife within the food chain. Of greater concern is the fact that there are no safe poisons that can be used around children and pets. Despite some of the most dangerous poisons being banned in the U.S., professional pest control companies commonly use them. Unfortunately, the use of these super-toxic rodent poisons has spread beyond the intended targets causing death and disease from massive exposure to the ecosystem.
Nature itself is a natural pest control system in that larger carnivores seek out smaller creatures on which to feed. Since the poison causes dehydration, the rodent leaves the property to seek water. The active ingredient in the poison causes brain swelling, internal bleeding, and kidney failure. A creature suffering from such symptoms would most certainly appear easy prey for hungry carnivores. It is not much of a leap to realize an animal that eats a rodent after it has ingested poison will also suffer the effects of that poison. It also does not help that these poisons are getting into the water. Your pets, such as cats and dogs, are subject to exposure should they eat a poisoned rodent or consume the poison directly.
Through scientific studies, we now know that the use of rodent poisons is the leading cause of death among black bears, badgers, bobcats, coyotes, Golden Eagles, owls, hawks, fishers, foxes, kestrels, mountain lions, pigs, skunks, raccoons and snakes, among many others. By killing these non-targeted animals, we are destroying nature’s own rodent control system that has been in place for centuries. While there are no poisons that do not present a serious risk to wildlife, pets and humans, the strongest evidence to date shows that anticoagulant rodent poisons are the most damaging to wildlife.
Alternative Methods that Do Not Harm the Ecosystem
There are other methods that people have tried for some time to get rid of their rodent problems. There are snap or glue traps that can be put down, but you need to know what kind of rats you are dealing with to know the right type of bait to use. If you manage to find a bait the rats are attracted to, you just may learn how smart these creatures are when you find they can outsmart the traps. Then, you must keep up the vigilance of monitoring the traps and refreshing the bait if you expect to have any success. If your traps manage to catch any rats, then you must deal with the aftermath and knowing that the rats, if they have not yet died, likely suffered a prolonged death. Even with all this effort, people find the rats tend to keep returning, making them start the process all over again.
The Ultimate Humane Method of Controlling the Rat Population on Your Property
For these reasons, humane traps have grown in popularity as people have sought a method that provides a reliable way to quickly and humanely eliminate rodents. One solution is the Goodnature™ A24 Rat and Mouse Trap, which can be set up and installed as a totally hands-off option. This is a device that automatically resets itself after it has delivered an instantaneous, humane death before the rat even knows what has happened. It uses no poisons. Instead, it delivers a CO2-powered kill shot, and even if the rat is scavenged by another animal, there is no risk of undoing nature’s delicate balance.
Considering the ramifications of toxic poisons, and the high degree of tedium for minimal success with traps, not to mention dealing with the cruelty aspect, you can set yourself up with a system that conquers both scenarios. It is the most effective method of eliminating your rodent problems to date leaving you with a clear of infestation with a clear conscience year in and year out. To learn more about the Goodnature™ A24 Rat and Mouse Trap, check us out or contact us for more information.