Rats often seek the refuge of homes in order to find food, water, and shelter from the heat or cold. While rats may be large, growing up to ten inches long, many can fit through spaces or cracks in walls as small as a half inch. After a home has been infested with rats, it is important to contact a rat professional to eliminate the infestation and prevent future infestations.
Rat Infestation Dangers
Rat infestations pose a greater threat to humans than most other types of infestations. Rats can cause harmful situations in the home by chewing through electrical wires, weakening structures within the home, and contaminating food. There are many diseases that can be spread through the feces, urine, and saliva of rats. Some diseases may also be spread by fleas which may be present on the infesting rats.
Common diseases that may be spread by rats include:
- Rat bite fever
- Murine typhus
- Rickettsial pox
- Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
- Lymphocytic Chlorio-meningitis
Pitfalls of Home Remedies
Many of the attractants and active ingredients found in over-the-counter rat baits do not work, and may even worsen the problem. Systems that use sound to repel rats have shown to be ineffective. While over-the-counter traps and glue strips may work to catch some rats, these systems are inhumane and usually do not work to completely eliminate the infestation. Home remedies such as ammonia soaked rags and mothballs have shown to be similarly ineffective.
Professional Rat Management System
Contacting a rat professional is the best way to ensure the elimination of a rat infestation. Professionals have access to rat baits that are not sold in stores. Professionals will advise and assist home residents in securing the home to make rat management systems effective.
Steps that homeowners are typically advised to complete to help eliminate rat infestations include:
- Sealing holes around baseboards, doors, and walls
- Keeping any food that is not canned or jarred in the refrigerator until infestation is gone
- Being careful not to disturb baits that have been set by professionals
- Keeping trash in containers with lids
- Sweeping, vacuuming, and cleaning regularly
- Removing debris inside and outside of the home that may harbor rats
Rat Baits versus Traps
When done by a rat professional, rat baits can be safer and more effective than traps for eliminating an infestation. Baits can eliminate a greater number of rats at once than traps. Baits also save home residents from having to handle rats which have been caught by a trap. As part of the professional rat management system, exterminators will handle removal of any rats which have been exposed to bait. Traps pose a hazard for pets and children, whereas bait systems are contained in bait stations which remove the risks associated with coming into contact with the bait.