- Rats are among man's worst animal pets due to their abundance, destructiveness, and potential for disease transmission.
- They destroy millions of dollars worth of property each year and consume and contaminate food.
- Rats bite people and are hosts to ectoparasites including fleas, mites, and ticks that transmit disease from rats to man.
- While plague is historically the most infamous of diseases spread by rats, other possible disease include rat bite fever, salmonellosis, murine typhus, and leptospirosis.
- While young mice and rats are similar in appearance they are different species. Mice do not grow up to be rats.
Signs of Rat Infestation
- Gnawings on boxes or containers of easily accessible food and along runways and burrows.
- Runways (rub marks or paths frequented by rats)
- Burrows along the foundation of a house or other dwelling
- Droppings (small, pellet shaped) in areas frequented by rats
Rat Harborage & Food
Rats eat from a variety of sources:
- Leftovers, dirty dishes, and garbage
- Stored foods (ex: boxes of cereal)
- Pet foods and dog droppings
- Grass seed and bird feed
- Fallen or rotten fruit
Rats live in a variety of places:
- High grass and weeds
- Junk, wood, and junk cars
- Your house, garage, or shed
The two measures of rat control are prevention and elimination.
Prevention is the easiest and most effective control measure since it eliminates the problem before it becomes one. Preventative measures that require only a little effort include:
- Properly store garbage which eliminates a primary food source
- Cutting of high grass and weeds which eliminate potential harborage
- Proper removal of junk or Wood which also eliminates harborage
- Elimination of rats can be done with either traps or poison (bait)
Poisoning is the simplest method of rat control, with prepared anticoagulants being among the most effective:
- Warfarin, Fumarin, Pival, Diaphcinone, Brodifacoum, and Cholecalciferol are effective, inexpensive poisons readily available at hardware stores, grocery stores, and from commercial exterminators. It is essential to follow the directions on the label carefully.
- Use: Place baits alongside runways, walls, and burrows. Keep baits dry, check daily and replace as needed.
- Keep children and pets away from poison bait. Trapping is useful when poisoning is too hazardous, or when the odor from uncovered dead rats would be a problem.
- Use: As with poisons, place traps alongside runways, walls, and burrows.
- Bait raps with soft candy (mild chocolate or gum drops), bacon rind, or peanut butter mixed with a little cotton.
- Check and reset traps daily.
- Never handle dead rats with bare hands.
- For best results, always remember to trap or bait first, then clean up the area once rats have been exterminated.