Mosquitoes flying around

How to Get Rid of Rats in the Attic

March 24, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Rats in the attic can cause damage, leave droppings, spread disease throughout the house, and their skittering feet may disrupt your rest at night. Read on for tips to get rid of rats in attics and information about how to avoid developing a rat problem in the first place.

How do rats get into attics?

Rats are excellent climbers. They can easily scale the exterior of your home. If they find a point of entry, they may come inside looking for food, water, and shelter. Rats often enter through damaged eaves, chimneys, vents, and windows.

Two main species of rats are common in homes: Norway rats and roof rats. Norway rats are brown or gray and are usually around 13 to 18 inches long. These rats are common in cities and have a diverse diet that includes bird eggs, plants, insects, and food scraps.

Also called black rats, roof rats are the species usually found in attics because they prefer to live in the upper parts of buildings. Typically, roof rats are black or dark brown with light gray or black underbellies.. They are generally smaller than Norway rats at around 6 to 8 inches in length.

Little gray rat runs around in an old house among skull and old bottles

How do I find out where a rat is getting in?

The most important part of dealing with a rat infestation in an attic is closing off the entry point to keep rodents from returning; this work is called exclusion. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for people without professional training to locate entry points. Adult rats can squeeze through spaces as small as a quarter. As a result, it’s challenging to spot cracks and holes, especially if you’re walking on the roof or using a ladder.

Experienced pest control technicians have the knowledge and tools to spot entry points you may miss. They’ll search out possible entrances as a part of the service visit and discuss ways to help rid your house of these pests.

What happens if you leave rats in the attic?

If you leave rats alone in the attic, they will likely multiply, leading to a large infestation. Rats may chew through cardboard boxes, insulation, and wiring, causing damage to your home. In addition, gnawing away at electrical systems can even cause a fire.

Can rats in the attic get into the house?

Once rats enter your attic, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay there. Just as rodents can find small holes and cracks to squeeze through to get into your home from the outside, they can take advantage of structural damage to travel from the attic into the rest of the house.

Having rats in your home can pose health risks to your family. Rats can cause a variety of illnesses, including monkeypox and rat-bite fever. They also may be home to ticks and fleas that carry other bacteria and viruses.

Rat in the house on the floor

What do rats eat in the attic?

Roof and Norway rats are two of the most common pests in the US. Both species will eat living and dead insects that find their way into the attic. Rats may also go back outside or venture into your home to look for other food sources like plants, bird eggs, pet food, seeds, and nuts.

Do rats leave the attic during the day? 

Rats are nocturnal animals. If they’ve made their home in your attic, they’ll likely stay there during the day. When night arrives, they’ll begin to forage for food and water, which may mean leaving the attic.

How do I know if I have rats in my attic?

The signs of an infestation include:

  • Hearing skittering or gnawing noises overhead at night
  • Rancid smells caused by urine and feces
  • Finding droppings in the attic or around sinks and cabinets in other parts of your home
  • Gnaw marks on wood and other materials in the attic
  • Tufts of insulation, fabric, and other nesting materials in the attic
  • Your pets looking up at the ceiling or otherwise showing interest in what’s going on in the attic

rat droppings in a house

Can rats live in a hot attic? 

Rats do best at temperatures between 64°F to 79°F. However, they can survive at much higher temperatures. Typically, waiting for them to leave or die in summer weather isn’t a wise option to remove rodents from attics. The rats may leave due to the heat but could return if their entry point isn’t blocked.

What’s the best way to get rid of a rat infestation in your attic?

The best way to get rid of rats in the attic is to enlist the help of a pest control professional like Hawx Pest Control. Licensed pest control technicians have the tools and products necessary to address infestations safely.

How long does it take to get rid of rats in the attic?

How long it takes to get rid of rats in your attic depends on the infestation’s severity and the method used for the job. Even once rats are gone, ongoing preventative pest control is vital for reducing the risk of their return.

Rat pest control services

Hawx Pest Control uses state-of-the-art technology and the latest products and tools to address rats. Our professional technicians can locate entry points, so you can make the repairs necessary to help keep rats out in the future. In addition, we can provide you with customized tips on rat control and schedule maintenance visits to lower the likelihood of future infestations.

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