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HOW TO GET RID OF RATS IN YOUR HOME
Stop the invasion; call hawx pest control today!
While domesticated rats can be very cute and smart pets, uninvited rats are something else entirely. Besides gnawing on your belongings and defecating in the crawl spaces of your home, they also carry disease. For these reasons and many more, it’s best to take action at the first signs of a rat problem in your home.
Much like mice, rats are notorious home invaders and prolific carriers of some of the worst diseases man has ever seen. In fact, it was rats that were responsible for spreading the Black Death, or the world’s second bubonic plague pandemic that wiped out nearly one-third of the global population in the year 1347. While rats don’t necessarily carry this disease (and we have since developed medicines for effectively treating it), they do still carry diseases like Salmonella, Tularemia, and Leptospirosis. They are also a host for other pests that carry disease, such as ticks that carry Lyme disease, typhus, and West Nile virus.
Rats are an unfortunately common pest, and that means keeping them out of your home can be tricky. That is, unless you have the experience of the rat control pros at Hawx Pest Control on your side. We know and have dealt with a wide variety of rat problems in the past, and we know how to effectively eliminate these vermin and keep them out for good. Our methods are thorough, effective, and guaranteed—we’ll successfully remove your problem for good, and our preventive methods help them stay away properly. When it comes to protecting your property, we take our job personally. Our mission is to help you not only live your life in comfort, but with peace of mind from knowing that your home and business are safe as well.
Understanding common rat behavior
Once you know what’s going on in those little rat brains, it’s easier to stay one step ahead of them, especially if they’re thinking of entering your home.
Socially, rats can live solitary or in a group. If they live in a group, there’s usually a hierarchy among the rats from dominant to subordinate, based on strength. Note, this is not based on gender; instead, males will mate with available females who are also within their determined dominance group.
When a rat feels threatened, they will get violent. You may hear them squeak or scream as they bite you. This is why we highly recommend you don’t try and get rid of rats on your own. Professional pest control services, like Hawx, know how to handle rats safely so that no one is left injured or infected.
Are rats dangerous?
Beyond the potential property damage they can cause to your home, they can also be dangerous to your family’s health because they carry and spread disease. Illnesses and infections including the following may occur as a result of a bite or contact:
- Murine typhus
- Lyme disease
- Ratbite fever
Note: This isn’t a full list of all the germs and viruses rats can carry.
What do rats look like?
Unlike mice, rats are easily identifiable by their bigger size and disproportionately large heads. Their tails have coarse, light hairs on them with a defined pattern you can see. They can be brown, black, or gray in color, which also helps them blend into darker areas and stay hidden. Their ears are rounded and usually fairly small, especially when compared to their large head size.
How long do rats live?
In the wild, rats only live for about 1–2 years. Compared to their domesticated counterparts that have an estimated lifespan of 4-5 years, wild rats’ lower quality of life and scarcity of food and shelter are likely reasons for their shorter lifespan.
What do rats eat?
Wild rats that enter your home will happily eat any human or pet food that is left unattended. They enjoy plants, fruit, and seeds that they can easily find in nature. Some rats eat insects and other animals, dead or alive.
One way to moderate a rat population near your home is to better manage leftover food and store it properly or throw it out in a secure receptacle.
Where do rats live?
Most rats can thrive in warm climates, but some can tolerate temperate climates where they then live in trees. In your yard, they often find refuge in wood piles or any other accessible hiding place that offers shelter from the elements.
Inside your home, they can live quite comfortably off the contents in your garbage can. They’ll make shelter by borrowing scraps, fabric, or other malleable materials for their nests that they build in your rafters or crawl spaces.
Types of rats
In the U.S., there are four common rats that you may find in your home or around your yard:
- Norway rat (brown rat)
- Roof rat (black rat)
- Marsh rice rat
- Woodrat (pack rat)
Commonly used for lab experiments, Norway rats are your run-of-the-mill brown (or gray) rat that you might see running around a city. They’re big in size, measuring about 13–18 inches long, including their dextrous tail.
You can find these types of rats throughout the U.S. They eat birds and bird eggs, all types of plants, and insects. But these types of rats will generally eat anything that is available to them.
Also known as the black rat, this breed is extremely common. They get their name from seeking solace in the upper part of building structures as well as their typically dark brown or black color. In addition, they have lighter-colored underbellies.
Smaller than the Norway rat, roof rats measure only 6–8 inches in length, including their longer-than-usual tail. Roof rats tend to be found in coastal and tropical climates.
They eat small animals, like birds, insects, seeds, and nuts. However, they’re especially attracted to dog or cat food that’s been left unattended.
Marsh rice rats
Native to Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, the marsh rice rat thrives in marshy climates, of course. It’s recognizable by its long tail and grayish-black fur. Given its native habitat, these rats are naturally great swimmers and divers.
Known for their typical “rat-like” appearance, woodrats are also known as pack rats, because of the way they build nests out of found objects. They’ll also “trade” one object for another by dropping it if they find something better.
The danger with these types of rats is the tendency for them to build large nests and distribute their droppings nearby in what are known as designated “latrine areas.” This means your infestation problem could include a rat’s nest and a rat’s smelly latrine area in close proximity to your house.
Signs of a rat infestation
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s not difficult to recognize the signs of a rat infestation. Keep an eye out for:
- Clustered droppings around the sink and in cabinets
- Rancid smells coming from invisible sources
- Chewed-up surfaces or food packaging
- Nesting material gathered up and left around your home
While all of these would definitely signify an infestation, it’s wise to reach out to a pest service to assess the severity of the problem.
What kind of damage can rats cause?
Rats like chewing on any and all surfaces they deem to be either food or good for nesting. This can include wires, books, and structural materials that hold your home up. Chewed wires are also a known cause of housefires.
Rats also defecate a lot, which means it will be all over your home. If left uncleaned, rat poop can create an opportunity for infection to occur.
How to get rid of rats
Whether these fuzzy intruders are stationed inside or outside of your home, there are some easy things you can do before you have to call in a professional.
If you find yourself looking at a rat infestation, try the following tips:
- Remove their food sources (if you can find them)
- Remove their shelter (find out if they’re nesting and where)
- Seal gaps in your structure to keep rats out
- Observe your pet’s behavior (they might lead you right to a rat’s nest)
- Set traps in areas you think might be frequented by rats
If these methods don’t work, a professional rat treatment may be needed. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to remove rats by hand. That may cause you to get injured, infected, or both.
Getting rid of rats outside
To get rid of a rat that is living outside of your home, you can try dry ice which humanely addresses rats that live in or around a porch. This is a great way to manage a rat infestation without poison. Smoke bombs can also work, but be careful not to set them off near trees or anything flammable.
Getting rid of rats in your walls and ceiling
The trick to getting rid of rats who are hiding behind walls and ceilings is to think about all possible entry points and then seal them off. Trimming tree branches in addition to sealing open gaps in your structure are both important (especially since rats are prone to seek higher shelter).
Make your home as repulsive to rats as possible by storing trash in sealed containers they can’t access as well as keeping an eye on pet food that is left out. Remember to also remove anything in your yard that rats may be able to use for nesting. Dispose or compost fallen leaves, wood chips, and loose fabric scraps.
how we handle your rat problem
Handling a rat problem effectively is fairly difficult—despite their large size, these creatures can hide in remarkably small spaces. And while they tend to avoid confrontation, they can be aggressive when threatened. They can also reproduce remarkably quickly, with females birthing several live young in every litter. Likewise, each litter is born in only a few short weeks, meaning a single female can produce dozens of young over the course of a single year. If not properly handled right away, what starts as a small rat problem could become a major headache in a short amount of time.
We handle all types of rat problems, including:
- Norway rats: Also sometimes called the “brown rat” or the “sewer rat,” the Norway Rat is the largest common rat in the country, growing up to 15 to 20 inches in length. They are somewhat misnamed because they are most commonly found throughout the American Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest.
- Roof rats:Roof rats are generally between five to seven inches in length, with a tail that can reach up to a further eight inches. They are more common in tropical and coastal areas, but are not uncommon in colder areas either.
- Woodrats: Also called pack rats, they have a distinctive grayish-brown coat and a long, hairless tail. They generally live in the western half of North America, from Canada all the way down to New Mexico.
- Marsh Rice Rats: These are some of the smallest common rats in the country, measuring roughly up to 12 inches total in length. They are common in tropical climates, including the lands surrounding the Gulf of Mexico (from the east coast through to Texas).
commercial rat control
If you own a business, a rat is likely the last thing you want to see. Rats will almost immediately cause a total failure of any health inspections, as will even signs of a rat’s presence, such as droppings or urine. Even if your business doesn’t receive regular health inspections, nobody wants to work in an office or environment that has a significant problem with these types of intruders. Therefore, keeping rats under control is of the utmost importance. Whether you have a small location or a large facility with extensive infrastructure, Hawx Pest Control is equipped to help you keep these pests away and keep your business running like usual.