What You Need To Know About Rat Infestations
Rat infestations are more common than you’d think. While many of us associate rat problems with big cities like New York, rats can really be found just about anywhere, including the countryside and suburbs. Besides being an unwelcome presence, rats can damage your home and spread diseases like rat bite fever, salmonellosis, fleas, and other pathogens or parasites. And, if you’re not properly aware of common signs and prevention methods, the infestation can seem to appear out of nowhere, escalating almost overnight.
Afraid yet? Don’t be. Our experienced pest control team at Black Diamond can handle any type of infestation. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about dealing effectively with rats.
Are all Rats the Same Type?
Most rats that exist in the wild in the U.S. are one of two types – the roof rat or the Norway rat. Interestingly, these two species do not get along and are known to fight until death. Norway rats tend to be larger than roof rats and they frequently burrow. If they are in buildings, generally they are found in basements and first floor areas. Roof rats are more often found nesting in higher locations including dense thicket, trees and shrubs, or attics and spaces along the roof of a house. Roof rats have dark fur and lighter bellies, while Norway rats are more of a brown/gray color. Both types of rats are found in people’s homes, and both can be very destructive.
Typical Rat Behavior
All rats are nocturnal; they tend to sleep during the day and come out at night. Though their vision isn’t good, they have excellent hearing and smell. While rats do make sounds, generally their noises are at a pitch humans cannot detect. If you are going to hear a rat, it is more likely the sound of gnawing, chewing, or rifling for food and nest building. While rats are typically fearful of people, they are known to be much more aggressive than mice. They tend to be very fast when they move, and excellent at jumping, climbing walls, and swimming.
What’s Up with Rats?
In the warmer months, rats and other rodents often live outdoors in wood piles, bushes, trash containers, and tall grass. When the weather starts to get cold, they seek shelter in warm, dry spaces, like your house. In fact, the insulation between walls or the dusty cardboard boxes in your basement are a rat’s paradise.
What makes a rat situation escalate into a full-blown infestation is the presence of food. Just finding crumbs, spilled oils, or loose cereal can be more than enough to kick-start generations of a rat family. Female rats can have over 7 litters in a year, each producing 6-20 babies. Further, rats reach maturity in a month’s time, allowing them to go on and start their own families. In short: rat populations can grow very quickly.
Signs of Infestation
One of the primary indicators of a rat infestation is the presence of a nest. Rats will chew up just about anything to build a nest, including newspapers, clothing, drywall, even electrical wiring and soft concrete! If you notice bite marks, holes, and other subtle damage to items in your home that could suggest a rat presence, take heed.
Other signs of a rat presence are droppings, oily and dark smears on surfaces, and urine. Look for droppings in food packaging, cupboards, and behind appliances. Rat droppings are typically about 0.75 inches long or three times bigger than mouse droppings. Urine may be more difficult to see, but you can often smell a bad, strange odor.
The best ways to reduce the chance of a rat infestation is by prepping both your home and backyard.
Outside, you should clean up potential food and water sources, such as bird seed, overgrown berry/fruit bushes, compost containers, birdbaths and standing water. Also consider removing potential nesting spaces, like leaf piles, hay, and mulch. The more you maintain your yard, the better. There are also rodent proofing construction measures you can take, like sealing in gaps and holes besides windows, doors, fireplaces, basements, crawlspaces, etc.
Inside, you can take action by plugging up any poorly ventilated spaces between walls and floors with steel wool. Also, properly cleaning up your kitchen is key. Seal food in thick plastic or metal containers, wipe up crumbs, put pet food away, and properly seal your garbage bin.
Dealing With Infestations
Oh, rats! You have an infestation! Luckily, our pest-control professionals at Black Diamond can safely and effectively eliminate any size rat problem. We take great pride in offering responsive, personalized, and effective service. Don’t wait, give us a call at 877-DEAD-BUG to get help today!