Rats can quickly become unwelcome guests in your home if they find the opportunity. In addition to the number of diseases they carry, they can also cause extensive damage to your home and property.
The best way take on a rat infestation is to keep them from entering your home in the first place. Rodents can easily enter your home through very small openings. Did you know rats can squeeze through a hole 3/4 inch in diameter? Many people realize they have a rat problem when the rats have already entered and can be heard in an attic or scratching inside walls. At times, rats are first discovered when electrical wiring or pipes are chewed and damaged. It can also be quite alarming to walk into a kitchen or pantry and find your food storage has been raided by rats.
If you suspect you may have rats but have not seen one, you may notice other signs like brown smudges on walls or other items caused by rat grease as they rub these surfaces. Often the first sign is the presence of rat droppings in drawers, cabinets and other places in the home.
Once you determine you have a rat problem, it is important to seal off any entry points in your home first. Once your home is secure, you can begin trapping the rodents. Here are 5 common entry points to check:
1. Cracks in WallsInspect the exterior of your home and look for any potential entry points. Fill smaller holes with caulk and use steel wool or waterproof sealant to block larger entry points.
2. VentsMany vents can have openings large enough for a rat to squeeze through. Rats can also squeeze through any gaps left around the vent opening. Seal any gaps around vents. Cover vents securely with metal screening.
3. Gaps around windowsRats can easily enter through small gaps or cracks around windows. Seal any openings and check your window screen for holes.
4. Holes in the roofIf you suspect you have rats in your attic, it’s a good idea to have your roof checked for openings. Rats can often enter through small gaps created by the room corner intersection. They can also chew ridge cap plugs. Any openings should be blocked with a waterproof sealant.
A chimney is an easy target for a rat to enter your home looking for food and warmth. If you have rats in your chimney, it’s a good idea to have it professionally cleaned to be sure there are no nesting materials present. A chimney grate or cap can be installed to help deter rats.
Click image to view full infographic
These are just some of the most common entry points, but it is important to be on the lookout for any weak areas of your home where a rat may chew their way in. Rats have very strong teeth and can chew through some pretty hefty materials. These include water pipes, wood, plastic and even brick! Walls with loose or cracked bricks should be repaired to avoid rats chewing on the brick to gain access to your walls.
If you have a garage, it’s important to be sure there is as little space as possible around the garage door. If rats gain access to your garage, they can damage vehicles, exposed wiring, water heaters and any other contents in your garage. Garage door brush strips can be installed on the bumper of your garage door to make it more difficult for rodents to enter.
If you have a basement, it can also be an appealing home for rats. A basement is often dark and uninhabited, so it can be a quiet hiding place for rats to run amuck and do extensive damage to anything in their path.
Although it is not as common, rats can also emerge through sinks and toilets if they enter the water pipes. Most rats are actually excellent swimmers, which makes it easy for them to hold their breath in water pipes and emerge in your bathroom. If this sounds like something bad dreams are made of, you may sleep easier by installing screens or grates on drains to keep them out. It’s also a good idea to keep the toilet seat cover closed.
Most of the preventative steps mentioned above require very little equipment and will be worth the time and effort to rid your home of rats, and keep your family and home safe.
The A24 Automatic Rat and Mouse Trap is a great preventative step and provides 24-hour trapping capabilities. The self-resetting A24 trap is safe and non-toxic, and certified quick-kill.