During the winter months, rats often seek protection from the rain and cold weather in homes and outbuildings. Don’t let these destructive animals choose your home to overwinter in this year! Safeguard your living space by sealing potential entry points. Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks, gaps, or openings and use caulk or weather stripping to seal them. Pay special attention to areas where pipes and wires enter buildings, and around garage doors. Additionally, ensure that vent screens are intact and fit tightly. Rats can squeeze their bodies through holes the size of a quarter (half inch) so be sure to look closely when inspecting your home.
Maintaining cleanliness is another key strategy. Rodents are attracted to food sources, so store all food items in airtight containers, and promptly clean up crumbs and spills. Regularly empty trash cans and keep compost bins tightly sealed. It's essential to address any leaks or standing water, as rodents are drawn to water sources as well.
Implementing proper storage practices in and around the home is crucial. Keep firewood, clutter, and debris away from the perimeter of the house, as these can create hiding spots for rodents. Regularly inspect attics, basements, and crawl spaces for signs of infestation, such as droppings or gnaw marks, and take prompt action if any are detected.
By adopting these preventative measures, you can create an environment that is less attractive to rodents, reducing the likelihood of an infestation during the winter months. Regular maintenance and vigilance are key to ensuring a rodent-free home and protecting the health and safety of your family.
If you have taken all preventative measures but still have rats in your home, the best way to eradicate them is by using snap traps. It is important to keep in mind that rats have an instinctual aversion to new objects or changes in their environment. Any sudden changes, such as placing new snap traps in an area, are met with suspicion, at least until the rat adjusts to the alterations.
One way to address elusive rats is through pre-conditioning. This involves placing bait on unset traps to associate the object with food, making the rat more likely to interact with it later. Allow the rats to feed on the bait for several days and then set the trap.
When setting snap traps, focus on areas where rats are likely to travel or where there are signs of their presence. Here are some effective locations:
Along walls: Rats often travel along walls, so place traps perpendicular to the wall with the baited end facing the wall.
In hiding places: Set traps in hidden areas, such as behind furniture, appliances, or in cabinets. Rats prefer secluded spots.
Near entry points: Place traps near possible entry points like gaps or holes in walls, floors, or around pipes where rats may be entering the home.
In attics and basements: These are common rat hideouts. Set traps along their pathways or near nests.
Remember to use enough traps, be patient, and regularly check and reset traps as needed. Always follow safety precautions when handling traps.
If you think you are experiencing a rodent issue, we can help. Contact us at 707-285-2200 for a free rodent inspection. Learn more about rodents and ways to reduce populations: www.msmosquito.org/rats