Hosting rodents inside your home can bring a number of unwanted issues.

Because these pests can carry pathogens that can transmit harmful diseases to humans and pets, as outlined by the CDC, a rodent infestation can pose significant health risks - such as leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis. Not only that, they’re also capable of causing damage to the interior of a home, from chewing through electrical wires, nesting in insulation and contaminating food supplies.

Norway rats can be destructive to the home and the areas around the home. Unlike other rodents, like mice, which rarely grow to be larger than 2 inches in length, Norway rats average about 16 inches in length. Though they prefer to live in outdoor habitats, cold weather may drive these pests indoors in search of warm shelter.

Identifying Norway Rat Damage

A house that is hosting Norway rats may begin to quickly show the warning signs of Norway rat damage. They may dig burrows within flower beds and packed soil located close to a home’s structure, with each burrow entrance spanning between 2 to 4 inches wide. Unfortunately, it only takes approximately three weeks for pregnant rats to give birth to a new litter of babies. With the average litter containing 6 - 10 rat pups, one single rat nest can become a full-blown infestation within a matter of a few weeks.

Getting Rid of Norway Rats A Norway rat infestation can damage your property, put you at risk of contracting dangerous diseases, and may leave your house littered with smelly rat feces. Howe ver, by learning how to prevent entry by Norway rats, you can help avoid a destructive infestation.

Eliminate entry points

During the fall months, as the weather begins to cool down, Norway rats will search for available entry points that grant them access to a warm structure. Any opening on an exterior wall or beneath a door that measures at least one-half inch wide, the diameter of a nickel, will give these pests a way indoors. To help curb this possibility, keep all windows and doors shut and locked, especially overnight. If t here are any gaps underneath your home’s doors, you may want to consider utilizing a door sweep or install a different threshold. If you find gaps around your window, these gaps can be filled with caulk and sealed shut. Keep in mind, it may be best to hire a professional to repair any cracks that require the use of a ladder.

Limit access to water

When the winter hits, access to food an d water outside may become scarce for Norway rats. If they can sense and/or find an available supply of water inside or near your home, they may be more inclined to head indoors. Make sure any cracks within your home’s pipes or plumbing system are in proper working condition and that there are no hidden leaks. Standing water outdoors, like in birdbaths and pet water dishes, can also attract these pests.

Keep food supplies secure

Along with heated shelter, Norway rats are drawn to available food sources. Any home that leave s pet food and birdseed outside or in the garage is at risk of a Norway rat infestation. Keep all pet food and birdseed stored in airtight containers, and clean up any loose pieces of food immediately to avoid attracting these pests.

Any food in your pantry that’s a favorite for Norway rats, like grains, nuts, and seeds, should be sealed shut in airtight containers and kept off of the floor. Norway Rats are omnivores and may also eat insects or any fruit plants in the home.

Maintain a clean home exterior

The best way to help get rid of Norway rats and prevent future rat infestations is by maintaining a clean yard and exterior to your home. Ensure that all shrubs and plants are kept away from any entry areas of your home, including garage doors and windows. Get rid of any yard debris quickly and store firewood above the ground as these areas could provide Norway rats the perfect nesting spot. Additionally, make sure all cat and dog feces in your yard are dispose d frequently.

Norway rats can be a major nuisance, but you don’t have to tackle a rat infestation alone. Rodent control from Terminix can help remove these pests from your home and keep it protected year-round.