rat close up

Rats are medium sized, long tailed rodents that can cause significant harm to your home and health. They can enter a building through a hole as small as ½ inch in diameter. Here is what you need to know about rat infestation, control, and prevention.

Common Signs of Rat Infestation

Aside from seeing a dead or live rat in plain sight in your home, there are several unique signs of a rat infestation. Common signs include:

  • Rat droppings (spindle shaped and up to ¾ inch in length, usually dispersed randomly)
  • Dirt or grease marks along walls and floorboards
  • Evidence of gnawing on wood or plastic
  • Scurrying sounds (typically at night and louder than those of mice)
  • Squeaking in walls (typically at night)
  • Musky scent
  • Tracks or foraging paths in grass and low vegetation
  • Burrows along fences, under plants and debris, or under buildings


Dangers of Rat Infestation

Rats can cause damage to your home and to the health of you and your family.

Home hazards

Rats will gnaw on a variety of materials in the home, including wood, drywall, paper, cardboard, roofing materials, plastic, and insulation around pipes or in the walls. This, of course, can undermine the infrastructure of your home, and it can cause you thousands of dollars in structural damage. Even more dangerously, rats like to chew on electrical wiring to keep their teeth sharp. This can significantly disrupt the electrical system in your home or even result in a fire. Beyond this, rat burrows can actually undermine building foundations, and they may feast on the bulbs and seedlings on your property.

Health hazards

The health hazards that rats pose are also significant. They can contaminate your food, and their droppings can be a major source of allergens. They can also transmit numerous diseases, either through their bite or through inhalation of dust contaminated by their urine and feces. Rat transmitted diseases include:

  • Hantavirus, a severe and sometimes fatal pulmonary disease;
  • Leptospirosis, which can cause major liver or cardiovascular problems;
  • Rat bite fever, which can be transmitted via a bite, scratch, or contact with a dead rat; and
  • Salmonellosis, which is caused by ingesting food contaminated by rats.


How to Eliminate Rat Infestation

To prevent rat infestation in your home, there are several measures that you can take. Be sure to seal up any and all potential entry points into your home. This includes holes in walls and flooring, cracks along windows and doors, and even small holes around utility lines. In addition, consider trimming the trees around your home to prevent rats from climbing onto your home’s exterior. It can also help to store foods in airtight containers and to keep all trash bin lids closed, making your home less inviting for rats.

Some homeowners attempt to control rat infestation by placing traps, but these traps usually do very little in the face of rat infestation. Rats are very wary of new objects placed in their path, and therefore they have a tendency to avoid traps altogether. If you suspect that there is already a rat infestation in your home, it is important to seek professional assistance as soon as possible. A pest control professional can effectively remove the infestation from the source and help prevent future rat infestations. Give us a call today if you need rat control services.

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