How Can I Control Rats Around My Home?

I smell a rat… why do I have rats in my home and how can I get rid of them?

Rats cannot live without food, water, or shelter.  You can get rid of rat problems by following these simple steps: And if you still have an issue with rat control, Call Summit Environmental Solutions (SES) to have our expert exterminator come out and give you a free estimate!

Step one: rodent proof your home and storage buildings!

  • Check the outside of your house for holes or gaps the size of a quarter or larger
  • Repair all openings using rodent proof materials:1/4 inch 18-22 gauge wire hardware cloth
  • Install metal weather stripping under doors to remove gaps

Step two: remove food sources from your property!

  • Keep garbage cans covered at all times
  • Pick fruit, nuts, and vegetables as they ripen, and throw away or compost fallen fruit on the ground
  • Feed pets during daylight hours only, and remove uneaten food right away
  • Avoid storing food in garages and storage sheds at night unless in rat-proof covered metal containers

Step three: inside your home use traps, not poison bait!

  • Poisoned rats may die inside walls or attics, creating odors and attracting flies
  • Use snap traps when rats are inside your home
  • Place traps at entry points, or where you have seen rat droppings
  • Use CAUTION when placing traps around children or pets
  • Bait the traps with peanut butter or the food the rats have been eating
  • Tie down traps to prevent injured rats from dragging the traps away and dying inside your walls
  • Check traps at least twice a week

Step four: outside your home use poison bait!

  • Keep bait away from children and pets
  • Rodent proof your home BEFORE using poison bait
  • Always read the label and follow directions when using poisons
  • Multi-dose, anti-coagulant poisons are the most effective, and the rat may need to feed on the bait for several days for it to work
  • Place poison bait in an enclosed bait station, where rats and their droppings have been found
  • Make sure bait is in a protected area, such as under woodpiles or thick vegetation where rats may be hiding
  • Check bait stations twice a week and add bait when necessary
  • Place dead rats in sealed plastic bags and put them in the trash
  • Move to step five when rats stop eating the bait

Step five: get rid of rat habitat!

  • Remove all trash and debris
  • Stack woodpiles, lumber, and household items at least 18 inches above the ground, 12 inches away from fences and walls
  • Trim trees, bushes, and vines to at least 4 feet away from the roof
  • Remove heavy vegetation such as ivy, bougainvillea, and pyracantha away from buildings and fences
  • Thin vegetation to allow daylight in and remove rat hiding places

The Vector Control program distributes Rat Control Starter Kits to residents within San Diego County during our site inspection.  The Vector Control program is NOT a pest control company and does NOT provide poison bait. This kit will enable you to control rats yourself and provide examples of some of the material needed to perform exclusion.  This kit includes:

  • Tamper-resistant Trapping Station
  • Rat Control Brochure and Instructional DVD
  • 1 Rat Snap Trap
  • 1/4″ Sample Hardware Cloth (used for exclusion)

Why should I get rid of the rats?

If you have rats or mice around the home, beware that they may attract snakes! Rats are a wonderful food source for these reptiles and they will make your home, their home quickly.

Rat bites and scratches can result in disease and rat-bite fever. Rat urine is responsible for the spread of leptospirosis, which can result in liver and kidney damage. It can also be contracted through handling or inhalation of scat. Complications include renal and liver failure, as well as cardiovascular problems.

Rats and mice can cause structural damage to homes, apartments, offices, and virtually any type of building through gnawing, nest-building, and defecation: … They will tunnel into insulation inside walls and attics, either to make a home or to gather soft materials for their nests.

RAT POOP DESCRIPTION: Skinny pellets, usually about 3/8 inch long and 1/8 inch in diameter, rounded tips and maybe slightly bulging in the center. with some size variance. Fresh ones are dark brown, but they get lighter with age. Looks very similar to a squirrel, only a little bit thinner and darker, on average.

Depending on the situation, rats could pee every few minutes. They produce a large amount of urine it seems, as they will dribble it EVERYWHERE. They pee most frequently when they are in new, uncharted territory, or when a new cage mate is introduced into the mischief.

They sleep in your attic all day, and then at dusk, they wake up and start moving around, and that’s why you hear them after dark. Rats leave the attic during the night, to go out and forage for water and food. Then they return to the attic. They usually don’t leave the attic for very long.

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