Rats are one of the most highly adaptable (and pesky) rodents that choose to live as close to humans as possible to scavenge for food and water.
If you want to learn how to get rid of rats, here are the steps you can use to manage your rodent issue.
Getting Rid of Rats in Your Home or Apartment
Rats are one of the most elusive of the invasive rodent species that love setting up shop in human dwellings. Much more cautious than common mice, rats may require a bit more effort on your part to get rid of them from your home or apartment.
First, you’ll want to positively identify that it is indeed rats you’re dealing with. Once you’ve done so, you’ll know which sort DIY pest control options to try out. This is an important step to follow as the pest control products for getting rid of rats, such as traps and poisons, vary from smaller rodents like mice.
That said, whether rats or some other species of small rodents, the next step is to find out where they are getting their food and water from and cut off their access to it if possible. Setting traps, applying rat repellent spray, and setting out poison are a few of the most common ways to get rid of rats in your home. We’ll take a closer look at each one of these options below.
1. Set Rat Traps
Setting traps is probably the most common, and safest, option when it comes to DIY pest control options that help get rid of rats in your home. Not only are they reusable, but they’re non-toxic and more affordable than most other options as well.
Rat traps are easy to set. However, there are steps to follow that ensure the best results:
Set and Bait Traps Properly
The market is full of various rat traps, metal, wood, and plastic variations are by far the most common. The majority of traps require baiting and setting of the trigger. A pretty simple procedure, however, one that may cause a minor finger injury or two if you’re not careful.
That said, many customer reviews claim that plastic versions tend to misfire less than traditional metal and wood traps giving them a higher kill-rate and causing less accidental injuries.
Make sure to follow the directions on the package, or in the manual that comes with your traps. Also, take some time to consider the best baits to use on your traps as well. When it comes to rats, they have a sweet tooth so candy, peanut butter, raisins, and anything else tasty works great.
Just keep in mind when baiting your traps that rats are smart enough to pull food off of traps and avoid the killing blow. So make sure that you secure the bait as well as possible.
Place Traps In a Secure Location
The most successful rat trapping campaigns involve several well-placed traps. Not only do you need to place the traps in highly-traveled areas by the rodents, and easy to hide places like under sinks and behind stoves and refrigerators, you need to ensure that pets and children will not be able to reach them.
That means you’ll probably want to avoid placing traps in places like entryways and hallways as well as wide-open spaces. Rather, place them inside holes the rodents have created, in between walls and counters or shelves, and other far-out-of-the-way places.
Furthermore, once your traps are baited, triggered, and placed you’ll want to notify your household that the traps are set and exactly where each one is located. Letting everyone know about the traps will help to avoid accidental poisoning and other injuries.
Use Multiple Traps
If you have a rat problem, or suspect the pesky rodents are attempting to set up shop in your home and want to avoid it, using multiple traps is your best offense. In fact, you should use literally as many traps at once as possible.
Unless you hear your traps snapping down their jaws of death each time they’re triggered by a rodent, your traps will kill one rat per day at best. Also, make sure to hide them as best as possible from the rats or they will figure out how they work and do their best to avoid them.
Check Traps Regularly
With multiple traps in use, you need to check them as regularly as possible. Depending on the level of your rodent issue, this could be as much as multiple times per day or as little as once every few days. At any rate, properly disposing of the dead rodents as soon as possible is crucial both to your health but to allow the trap to kill additional rats as well.
Also, rats are pretty clever, so if they see a dead rat stuck in a trap for a longer period of time they will avoid traps in the future regardless of bait. For all of these reasons, you should create and follow a trap-checking schedule until you properly rid your home or apartment of rats.
2. Use Rat Repellent Spray
Believe it or not, if your rat issue isn’t already at the full-blown stage, using rat repellent spray can successfully persuade rats to leave your home and stay away. All you have to do is whip up a batch of home-made rat repellent in a spray bottle and apply it anywhere you’ve noticed rodents as well as areas like basements, attics, and the foundations of your home.
A few easy-to-make rat repellent sprays that are effective against rats are:
The scent of peppermint is perhaps the smell that rats hate the most. Add a few drops of peppermint extract oil into a spray bottle with water for an excellent rat repellent. Also, put a few drops of peppermint oil in cotton balls and stuff them into any rat holes you have access to. Repeat every few days as needed.
As with humans, and nearly all living creatures, the smell of bleach is extremely displeasing to rats. Mix a solution of water and bleach in a spray bottle and spray entryways to your home, rat holes, and hard to reach places frequented by rodents. Repeat the process every couple of days as needed.
The smell of vinegar is another one that rats just can’t seem to stand. Mix a bit of vinegar with water, or use full-strength vinegar if the situation is critical, and spray down the areas where you’ve noticed rodents. Unless the rodents are seriously entrenched in your home, the vinegar will go a long way in dissuading them from staying around and breeding.
Other scents rats notably despise include ammonia, mothballs, and chili powder.
3. Use Rat Poison Products
After you’ve done everything else possible (cut off water and food sources, set traps, and applied repellant) to get rid of rats in your home or apartment, it’s time to pull out the big guns; rat poison products. Thankfully, there are several options out there to choose from and you don’t need to be a certified exterminator to use them effectively either.
Rat poison should be seen as either a last resort or the final piece in the puzzle, so to speak, when it comes to getting rid of rats due to how dangerous (and some would say inhumane) that it is. That said, use extreme caution when using rat poison products in your home.
Also, keep in mind that rat poisons are not an end-all answer for rodent issues. Rather, they are more of a control technique that helps reduce the number of rodents than an extermination method. This, again, is why poison should be a final option, not the first, for getting rid of rats.
At any rate, each rat poison product comes with specific instructions. Follow these instructions to the “T” Failure to do so may result in the unnecessary poisoning of pets and other wildlife.
4. Practice Prevention
If you’ve successfully gotten rid of rats in your home or apartment, or wish to prevent the issue from ever happening, practicing prevention is an essential step in reducing the risk of developing a rodent infestation.
Here are a few of the most helpful ways we found for preventing rodent infestations:
Secure Trash and Remove Debris
First and foremost, securing all trash in cans/bins and latching the lids closed eliminates one of the most preferred hiding places of rats and takes away one of the most easily accessible food sources all at once. Our trash, their treasure. If you keep your trash secure and covered, rats are liable to scurry on down the block searching for easier food and shelter.
Removing debris from around your yard is also important. This includes wood piles, high weeds, and tall grass, as well as other miscellaneous garbage or discarded furniture that gives them a place to set up nests and breed.
Store Food Properly
Simply cleaning up your kitchen each time your finished with a meal, and otherwise keeping your foodstuff well-secured and stored off the ground and in closed areas inaccessible to rats will go a long way in forcing them out into another location with more readily available food.
This also includes pet food (you can place it in a sealed bucket or container instead of letting it sit out). Make sure you discuss the importance of properly storing food as a strategy to help get rid of rats from your home with everything who lives with you.
Maintain Your Home
Cracks and holes around the foundation of your home are one of the easiest entries for rats to get inside. Furthermore, broken or leaking plumbing supplies rats under your house or in your floors with plenty of water. Windows without screens, such as in addicts or basement windows, should be covered or shut at all times and any extra vents-openings should also be blocked off as well.
Simply keeping your home physically sound and well-maintained reduces the possibility of rats being able to access your home let alone set up shop and breed. Last but not least, applying weather-stripping around doors and windows, as well as door sweeps, will significantly reduce the rodent’s ability to get inside your home or apartment.
Having rodents in your home or apartment is a pain, however, as you can see, it’s a situation that can be easily remedied with the right information and the application of it