Rats are rodents that can cause serious problems in your home and garden. They can damage your property, spread disease and even bite your pets. It’s important to know what attracts them to your home so that you can take preventive and pest control measures.
What Attracts Rats to Your Home?
Food: the Main Attraction for Rats
Rats are constantly on the lookout for food, as they need to consume food regularly to survive. If you leave food accessible, such as food scraps, food wrappers or even garbage cans, you will increase the chances of attracting these rodents to your home.
The foods most likely to attract rats and mice are:
- Fruits and vegetables, including fruit that has fallen from trees or vegetables that are left in the garden after harvest.
- Seeds and grains, such as rice, pasta, bread or birdseed.
- Meat and dairy products, including scraps and pet food.
- Sugar and sweet foods, such as candy, cakes and sweetened beverages.
To avoid attracting these rodents, be sure to store your food in airtight containers and clean your kitchen regularly, including appliances and countertops. Don’t leave food scraps lying around and make sure garbage cans are securely closed.
Shelters: a Good Environment for Rodents
Rats like to hide to build their nests. They look for quiet, dark, predator-proof places where they can breed and protect themselves. Places that provide good shelter for rodents are often the following:
- Attics, basements, garages and sheds, where they can find straw, cardboard, paper or even clothing to build their nests.
- Woodpiles, hedges, brush and leaf piles in the garden, which provide an ideal outdoor hiding place.
- Air ducts, pipes and drains, which allow them to move easily in your house.
Water: a Source of Life for Rodents
Rats and mice need water to survive, and they are constantly looking for available water sources. If you have water leaks, overflowing gutters, puddles or containers filled with standing water, you increase the chances of attracting these rodent pests.
To prevent their presence, remember to check your plumbing and gutters regularly, and repair them if necessary. Also, avoid leaving standing water in your garden, such as in watering cans, flower pots or ponds.
The Risks of Having Rats in Your Home
Rats can cause many problems and health hazards for humans. These animals proliferate rapidly and can cause serious property damage, not to mention the infectious diseases they can transmit.
Diseases Transmitted by Rats
Rats are vectors of many infectious diseases that can have a health impact on humans. Indeed, these rodents are carriers of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other pathogens that they can transmit directly or indirectly through their feces, urine, saliva or flying insects that parasitize them.
Some of the diseases transmitted by rats include:
- Leptospirosis: This bacterial disease is transmitted through the urine of contaminated rats. It can cause flu-like symptoms, jaundice, hepatitis or kidney failure and can be fatal if not treated in time.
- Plague: This disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted by infected fleas on rats. Although rare today, it can cause fever, chills, swollen glands and internal bleeding.
- Salmonellosis: Rats often carry Salmonella bacteria, which can contaminate food and cause acute gastroenteritis in humans.
- Tularemia: This bacterial disease is transmitted by rat bites or contact with rat carcasses. It can cause skin ulcers, swollen lymph nodes and pneumonia.
In light of these risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends increased vigilance and action to prevent the spread of rats and limit the risk of disease transmission.
Material Damage Caused by Rodents
In addition to the health risks, rats and other rodents can cause serious material damage to homes and infrastructure. These animals have very sharp teeth that allow them to gnaw through almost any material, including wood, plastic, electrical wiring and pipes.
Some of the most common damages caused by rats include:
- Damage to wooden structures, such as framing, flooring and furniture.
- Fires caused by gnawing on electrical wiring, which can cause short circuits and sparks.
- Water and gas leaks caused by gnawing pipes and ducts, resulting in water damage and explosion risks.
- Contamination of food by rat feces and urine, resulting in economic losses and health hazards.
Thus, the presence of rats in a house or building constitutes a real risk for the safety of people and property.
How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home?
If you find rats or mice in your home, it is essential to act quickly to prevent them from reproducing and causing more problems. Here are some solutions you can set up to get rid of these rodents:
- Traps: There are different types of traps, such as spring traps, sticky traps or electric traps. Choose the trap that best suits your situation and place it near areas where you have spotted rodents.
- Baits: Poison baits can be used to kill rats and mice. Use them with caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Ultrasonic devices: These devices emit high-frequency sound waves that disturb rodents and cause them to leave the area. They are safe for humans and pets, but their effectiveness may vary depending on the configuration of your home.
- Professional pest control: If you can’t get rid of rats or mice despite your best efforts, it may be necessary to hire a professional pest control company near you. They have the expertise and equipment necessary to eliminate these pests effectively and permanently.
Solutions to Prevent the Presence of Rats in Your Home
To prevent the risks associated with the presence of rats, it is important to put in place measures to prevent and control the rodent population. Here are a few tips to avoid the invasion of rats and protect your health and your environment:
- Keep your home and environment clean by removing trash and avoiding leaving food lying around.
- Regularly inspect at-risk areas, such as basements, attics, vents, for rats and nests.
- Plug holes and cracks in walls, baseboards and doors to prevent rodent entry.
- Use natural repellents, such as peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus essential oils, to keep rats out of your home.
If, despite these actions, you still notice signs of rats in your home, then you should call one of the many pest control companies near you.
Calling a Pest Control Company
When faced with an invasion of rats and other rodent pests, it is often necessary to hire a professional pest control company to protect your home and keep your pets safe. Here are the steps followed by pest controllers once they arrive at your home.
Identification of the Presence of Rodents and Diagnosis of the Infestation
Before proceeding with the rat control protocol of your home, it is essential to accurately determine the presence of rats and other rodents, as well as the extent of the infestation. To do this, specialized companies will carry out a complete diagnosis of your home, taking into account several elements.
- First of all, they inspect the premises for signs of rodent activity, such as droppings, claw marks and damage to materials. They also pay attention to the sounds the animals make as they move around, especially in walls and false ceilings.
- Next, pest control professionals evaluate the risks associated with the presence of these pests, taking into account the diseases they may carry and the damage they may cause to the structures of your home.
- Finally, they will prepare a detailed estimate, taking into account the size of your home, the degree of infestation and the recommended treatment methods.
Use of Mechanical and Chemical Traps to Eliminate Rodents
Once a diagnosis has been made, pest control companies set up traps and other devices to eliminate rats and other rodents in your home. Several types of traps are used depending on the situation and the client’s preferences.
- Mechanical traps are simple and effective devices for capturing rodents without the use of chemicals. They work by closing on the animal when it grabs the bait. Mechanical traps can be reusable or disposable, depending on the model.
- Chemical traps, on the other hand, contain toxic chemicals that kill rodents when they ingest the bait. These traps are generally more effective than mechanical traps in killing large numbers of rodents quickly.
The choice of treatment method will depend on your situation, the extent of the infestation, and your safety and ecological preferences.
On this site, you will find contacts to find a pest control company near you.