There’s nothing more unsettling than knowing your home is infested with rats. Not only does their scampering make for an annoying sound when you’re trying to sleep, but they are known for carrying contagious diseases and spoiling any food they can find in your home.
If you think you may have rats in your attic, it’s important to act fast before the problem gets worse. If left unattended, the rats in the attic will multiply by the day as they continue to breed and reproduce at will, making the risk of disease spreading in your home much worse.
To put it into perspective, a pair of rats can have between 5 to 7 litters per year, with each litter resulting in 8 to 12 pups, a term used for baby rats. In a year, a rat can have over 80 pups, turning a small infestation into a much larger problem for homeowners.
Removing Rats in the Attic
When trying to determine how to get rids of rats in the attic, it’s important to understand why they are there in the first place.
The rats that are scurrying around your attic right now are likely roof rats. This type of rat is a natural climber and prefers to nest in trees and attics. Attics provide these rats with warmth, protection from predators, and water.
Like many animals, rats will go to extreme lengths to get to safety. Once rats find an entryway into your home, they’ll chew through wires, ducts, and insulation until they find refuge in your attic.
Now safe in your attic, the rats will now grow, mate, and poop (a lot). The average rat will poop approximately 40-50 small round pellets per day, emitting a foul smell throughout your home over time.
The rats in the attic will also begin to destroy any personal property you have stored up there, along with any wiring and piping that may run through the attic. While small, rats teeth never stop growing, giving them the ability to chew and gnaw their way through wires, plastic, wood, lead, and other tough materials.
If you don’t take action soon, there’s a risk that the rats may do significant damage to your home’s infrastructure, resulting in costly repairs and even more frustration.
Seal Any Holes or Crack from Rats
Unsurprisingly, rats are pretty good at exposing small openings on the outside of your home. It’s important to seal up any holes that mice, rats, or other unwanted guests may use to enter your home.
So, you’re likely wondering how to seal holes from mice and rats, especially considering that they can squeeze themselves into holes the size of a quarter. As a general rule of thumb, if rats can stick their head through a hole, they can likely force the rest of their body in. To do so, you must check the likely sources; the windows, the garage, cracks in the wall, and the gaps under the door.
Once you find any cracks or holes you suspect could be an entryway for rats, it’s time to fill, seal, or cover them with material that rats will not be wanting to chew through. Materials we use include:
- Hardwire cloth
- Expansion foam
- Copper mesh
- Metal flashing
- Fitted foam
We here at The Bug Master suggest filling any small holes with steel wool for best results. For larger holes, the we recommend using cement, sheet metal, or something stronger to permanently patch these bigger holes, making sure they don’t reopen in the future.
While sealing holes may not get rid of the rats already in the house, it will at least stop more rats from entering your home. If you have trouble finding the holes or cracks, it may be worth calling a professional with free rodent inspections to help spot them.
Make Sure Ivy Tree Limbs Are Trimmed
Roof rats use their climbing skills to make their nests above ground, out of sight from predators. If you have ivy trees located close to your home, it’s important to make sure you’re maintaining them and trimming them on a consistent basis, as ivy trees are a common home for roof rats.
Even if there’s an ivy is several yards from your home, you should consider trimming since roof rats nest in ivy and are extremely agile. Roof rats are not only known for their climbing, but they can also jump up to four feet from branches to rooftops.
Their skills were also noted by the University of California, who reported that rats, especially roof rats, have an exceptional sense of balance. They found that they will use branches, nearby wiring or cables to make it to your roof and into your attic if they feel the need to. It’s well known that rats will travel long distances, going above and beyond, just to get food and shelter.
Keep Firewood and Piles of Debris Far from Your House
Piles of wood and debris are often used as shelter by rats, critters, and other unwelcome wildlife that may be lurking around your home. The shelter of the wood mixed with the proximity to things like garbage cans makes for the ideal living conditions for a community of rats.
Another reason why rats seek shelter in wood piles is that they are full of spiders, slugs, and other smaller animals that are a part of a rat’s diet.
To keep rats away from your home, it’s important to make sure that there are no large piles of wood or debris close by, as rats view them as safe harborage areas. Also, homeowners should elevate any piles of firewood they may have since they may be hiding a secret burrow entrance that leads into your house.
Store Food in Tightly Closed Containers and Seal Garbage
The truth is, once the rats in the attic find out where you keep your food, it’s game over. If you’re under the impression that you have a rat problem in your home, it’s important to invest in rodent-proof containers to keep your food safe.
Most of the boxes and containers that our food comes packaged in are no match for rats. The cardboard or flimsy plastic can easily be chewed through and compromised by rats. There’s nothing worse than opening your pantry, only to find out that rats have chewed small holes through the groceries you had just bought.
Whether you store your food on the counter, in the pantry, or in various cabinets around your kitchen, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping it safe in rodent-proof containers that keep your food fresh, while keeping rats away.
Once your food is safe, it’s also a good idea to seal your garbage can to stop rats from going through the trash inside your home.
Once your food is safe and secure, it’s also smart to seal the garbage cans outside of your home. Not sure how to keep rats out of trash cans? Fortunately, it’s not that difficult.
Most trash cans are already made out of strong material to keep the bad smell in, and pests out. But still, it’s important to make sure the lid is sealed shut while it is sat outside your home.
Here are a few ways you can make sure that your trash cans stay rodent-free:
- Screw-on Garbage Lid: As smart as rats are, they fortunately don’t have the ability to unscrew a garbage can lid. This is an easy way to keep rats out of trash cans around your house.
- Heavy Objects: Looking for a more DIY approach to keep rats out of your trash? Try placing a heavy object on the lid when it’s closed. This will stop them from being able to squeeze their way into your trash.
- Bungee Cord: Want to get creative? Another idea would be to secure the lid with bungee cords to keep it secure and impenetrable from pests or rodents.
Going the extra mile to make sure your food and trash are safe will decrease the food options for the rats that live in your attic, likely driving them out over time as they search for more food options.
Contact a Rodent Control Professional to Thoroughly Inspect your Attic
One of the only ways to truly eliminate your rat problem for good is to hire a pest control professional to take care of the problem.
An experienced professional will do much more than simply lay traps in your attic and leave, hoping the problem will solve itself over time. Instead, rodent control professionals will follow a rigorous, three-step process to ensure that your rat problem will disappear.
- Inspection – First, the professional will inspect the damage of your home and determine the species of the rodent that in infesting your home. This will give them a better sense of what they’re up against and create a plan of attack.
- Trapping – Next up is the trapping process, which involves trapping the rodent, in this case, rats in the attic, in a centralized location where they can more easily be dealt with. This is done with strategically place baited traps to lure rats out of your walls. It’s importing during this stage we want to leave escape paths open to give one more chance to leave your home unharmed.
- Exclusion/Prevention – Once the rats are eliminated from your home, it’s now the job of the attic pest removal service to prevent future infestations. Depending on the level of infestation, an exclusion is usually done towards the end of the trapping process to prevent more rats from entering the home.
If you have a rat infestation, we strongly recommend that you have us or another experienced team of professionals take care of it as soon as you notice the issue.
We have remedied numerous infestations that could have been prevented if the homeowners had reported the issue sooner. The longer you wait, the harder the issue is to fix.
Here at The Bug Master, we make sure that all of our service specialists are equipped with the tools and knowledge to handle infestations of all shapes and sizes. Located in Texas, we are constantly helping local home and business owners eliminate their rat problems.