Rats are classified as a pest species due to their habits of living in houses, gnawing, and spreading diseases. The most common complaints include the following:
Rats living in an attic
Rats scratching inside the walls
Rats raiding the pantry
Gnawing of electrical and communication wires
Concerns over health risks
For these reasons, people have these rodents trapped and removed.
The first and most important thing you have to do is find out how the rats are getting inside the building. There are holes all over – missing roof vent screens, plumbing stacks, gaps between the roof and fascia board, gaps in the siding, areas where pipes go into the house, etc. etc. You will never solve a rat problem until you find all of these openings, and seal them shut with steel, which rats are unable to chew through.
Only after you’ve sealed the openings shut, you should start trapping and removal. I highly recommend snap traps, not live cage traps, certainly not glue boards, and most definitely not poison! Never poison rats, it doesn’t solve the problem and it just creates more problems.
Monitor the situation. Check the traps periodically, remove any dead trapped rats, and reset the traps. Listen for rat evidence, like their scurrying and running noises in the attic, and scratching in the walls. Look for fresh droppings. Check the repairs done, to make sure no new areas have been chewed open. If you’ve sealed the house correctly, then you shouldn’t trap any new rats after just the first three days.
Once you’re satisfied that there is no more evidence of rats, and you are not trapping any new rats, you should clean the attic or whatever area they were living in, to remove the contamination and biohazard, and also to eliminate the rat scent, which will attract new rats to try to chew their way into the house in the future.
NUISANCE CONCERNS: Rats and mice may be the most commonly known nuisance mammal species worldwide. They can be important agricultural pests, but the real concern is their tendency to feed on human food stores, often contaminating what they do not eat. They also chew, and can destroy electrical wires and pretty much anything they get their teeth on. The wire chewing can cause electrical shorts, or worse, fire risks. Sometimes they chew on PVC plumbing and cause water leaks. Most of the calls that I get regarding rats has to do with the noise people hear the rats making up in the attic or in the walls. They leave behind a lot of waste in the form of urine and feces. They’re also known carriers of zoonotic diseases of course.
MICE AND RAT BEHAVIOR: Though than can live in a variety of natural habitats. Roof rats tend to live up in trees, whereas Norway Rats and mice live at ground level or even in underground burrows. However, these rodents are known for their association with and dependence on humans. They very frequently live in people’s homes or other buildings, especially if these buildings contain or are near food sources. These rodents establish a relatively small home range, and don’t travel very far. They are nocturnal, and wait until night, when everything is safe and quiet, before venturing out in search of food. They eat a variety of foods, but often prefer grains. They have rodent teeth that continually grow, and they gnaw on objects in order to wear down the teeth. They can be somewhat territorial, though high population densities can mess up territories.
MICE AND RAT DISEASES: Everyone knows about the now-rare Bubonic plague, or “Black Death” of the Middle Ages, but there are over 30 different types of disease are associated with rats and their droppings. They include Rat-bite fever (Streptobacillus moniliformis bacteria), which is transferred from the bite of a rat, the Rickettsia virus, which is similar to chicken pox, Hantavirus, which can cause febrile illness in humans and sometimes kidney, blood, or respiratory ailments, Eosinophilic Meningitis – an infection of the brain, and caused by rat lung worm. The droppings of rats can cause Leptospirosis or Salmonellosis, and rats and mice also bring parasites into the home.