Learn the best methods to deal with a rat infestation in your home, and how Terminix can help with rat control.

how to get rid of rats

Rats in your home are no laughing matter. These rodents carry diseases and can cause damage to your home.

Here are seven facts you need to know if you suspect a rat infestation and want to know how to get rid of rats.

1. Know the warning signs of a rat infestation.

Common indicators of a rat problem include finding droppings or evidence of gnawing, seeing rat tracks, hearing scurrying sounds or squeaking in walls, smelling a musky scent, finding burrows or even seeing dead rats.

2. Keep up with home repair and maintenance.

Controlling a rat problem is as much about prevention as it is treatment. Sealing up holes in interior and exterior walls and flooring can limit their access to your home. A rat can squeeze its body through any space it can get its head through. And by gnawing on it with their powerful teeth, they can make an entry point of any hole having a one-quarter of an inch diameter or larger. Keeping lids on trash cans and eliminating outdoor sources of water make your property less attractive for these rodents.

3. Eliminate ways for rats to climb into your home.

Two of the most common types of rats to cause problems are the roof rat (also called the black rat) and the Norway rat (sometimes called the brown rat). These rats are excellent climbers and will put that skill to good use when finding ways to enter your home. To keep them out, make sure there aren't any tree branches touching or extending over your roof line, trim branches back 4 feet from utility wires, remove vines such as ivy from the walls of your home and consider using metal or heavy plastic around the bottom of trees and pipes that rats might climb to gain entry. Tree guards, which are plastic or metal cones secured to the trunk of a tree, will also prevent rats from climbing.

4. Block access for rats trying to tunnel under your home.

If they cannot climb into your home, rats may try to tunnel below it. One way to limit this type of access is laying a patio or row of paving stones flush with the wall of your home leading away from it. The farther a rodent has to tunnel, the more likely they are to give up. Another method is to dig a small, shallow trench along the side of the slab and hammer lengths of rebar into the ground. Place the rebar a few inches apart and cover the tops with dirt or concrete. Keeping a wide, mowed area around your home is also advisable. Rats dislike covering large amounts of open space with nowhere to hide.

5. Store foods properly to limit rodents' access.

Proper food storage, using airtight containers and heavy-duty garbage receptacles will keep rats from using your space as a food source. Ensuring that foods are stored in rooms that are not easy for a rat to enter will also help prevent them from making your home into their abode.

6. Know the difference between how to catch a rat and how to kill a rat.

There are lethal and nonlethal ways to catch a rat. However, capturing rats in live-catch traps means you will need to find a humane way to relocate them or dispose of them. Lethal methods include traps and baits. Traps allow you to see results immediately, while baits often require a rat to eat multiple doses before taking effect, and there is no way to know where a rat will be when it dies.

7. Pick the right method of rat control for your home.

Some may think it doesn't take much know-how to kill rats, but the method of rat control used can help you avoid having dead rats inside your walls. Some states have rules on the types of traps and baits that can be used, and placement with either method is key. Because of this, it is best to consult with a professional to determine the most effective methods for your home.

Terminix specialsits can make sure the rats in your house know their lease is up.