After termites, rodent infestations are probably one of the greatest fears of homeowners, in-terms of property destruction and overall level of phobia. The subtle sounds of scratch or gnawing of wood is enough to send chills up most people’s spines. Seeing a rat in the flesh can literally make you want to scale the nearest piece of furniture or go to battle with a broom in-hand.
They can appear out of nowhere, unlike the cartoons or movies that portray them coming out of a clearly identifiable hole. The truth is, rats can squeeze there a space with the width of a 20 pence piece, and mice even smaller.
A Rat Invasion
Rats have been around way before humans ever walked the Earth, so their years of evolution has led to them being highly evasive and alert to any obvious poisons or traps. They also have the ability to burrow and make their way through any indication of a weakness in your home’s defence.
You have to be weary of rats, not just for their ability to cause damage to your home, but also the risk of transmitting diseases, fleas, and ticks. Rats will often find their way into any boxes or containers that they can chew through and eat just enough before either taking some with them or leaving it, unbeknownst to anyone who might then eat from that same container.
Finding and Eliminating
The signs of a rat intruder can be easy to miss, but they are distinctly rodent. They include their small droppings, usually left where they have entered and where they’ve found food, as a scented marker for them; gnaw marks and discolouring can be left at baseboards and door frames, showing their other attempts to gain entry.
If you have a dog or cat, they will likely have a subtle increase in curiosity near places that a rat could gain entry if they have or are attempting to get inside.
Burrowing outside doesn’t usually mean you’ve found a rat nest, as other creatures make holes in the ground, too. You could call a pest control company to take a look if you are really concerned.
Prevention is the First Step
It goes without saying that you should keep your home, inside and out, as clean as possible.
Never leave fragrant food scraps in the trash overnight, it sends a beacon to any critters on the outside that your place is to be while everyone is asleep.
Keep your cereals and grains in tight containers, never leave them in boxes or bags than can be chewed through.
Go through your home and look for any cracks or holes that might be tempting for rats to try and gain entry. Fill them up with caulking or steel wool.
If you live in a home that is raised with a crawlspace underneath, you can do a bit of harmless chemical warfare by stuffing scented dryer sheets in locations that look accessible to rats. Don’t underestimate the leaping capabilities of these persistent little critters.
If you believe it is too late to successfully prevent rats from entering and you have already spotted them in your home, don’t bother throwing cash down the drain on mouse traps, most of them are much too primitive to ever be effective, you should dial up your local pest control company and get the job done right the first time.
What are some of the methods you use to keep the rodents away at home? Let us know in the comments section below!