How To Get Rid of Rats

Dealing with rats in your home is not only unpleasant but can also pose health risks. These rodents can carry diseases and wreak havoc on your property. You can tackle this issue using various methods such as traps, repellents, and proper sanitation. Here’s how you can take action to get rid of rats for good.

Why You Should Get Rid of Rats Promptly

You might wonder, “Why should I rush to deal with rats?” Well, rats can be more than just a nuisance. They can carry diseases like leptospirosis and salmonella. Moreover, they can chew through your belongings and contaminate food. So, the sooner you act, the better.

How To Get Rid of Rats

Spotting Signs of a Rat Infestation

Before you start any extermination plan, you need to confirm that you actually have a rat problem. Droppings, gnaw marks, and scratching sounds are clear indicators. If you find any of these signs, it’s time to take action.


Rat droppings look like tiny, dark grains of rice. You’ll often find them in corners, under the sink, or near food sources.

Gnaw Marks

Rats have strong teeth, and they can chew through almost anything. Therefore, if you see gnaw marks on furniture or food packaging, it’s a red flag.


Scratching and squeaking noises in the walls or ceilings usually signal that rats are present. If you hear these sounds, especially at night, you’re likely not alone.

Preparing Your Home

Before you set traps or use repellents, you need to make your home less inviting to rats. Store food in airtight containers and clean up crumbs or spills immediately. Additionally, seal up any cracks or holes in your home’s structure where rats could enter. This will make your extermination efforts more effective.

Types of Rat Traps

Once you’ve prepped your home, it’s time to pick the best type of trap for your situation. There are mainly two types: snap traps and live traps.

Snap Traps

Snap traps are the most common and are effective for killing rats instantly. Place them in areas where you’ve seen signs of rats, like near droppings or food sources.

Live Traps

Live traps catch the rat without killing it. After capturing the rat, you can release it far away from your home. However, make sure to check local laws, as some places have restrictions on releasing trapped animals.

Using Repellents

If you prefer a non-lethal approach, repellents might be your best bet. These come in various forms, such as sprays and electronic devices. However, their effectiveness can vary. Sprays usually contain natural oils that rats dislike, like peppermint. On the other hand, electronic devices emit a high-pitched noise that rats can’t stand but is inaudible to humans.

Using Rodenticides to Get Rid of Rats

If you’re still dealing with persistent rat problems, you might consider using rodenticides, a type of strong rat poison. Unlike regular bait, rodenticides are formulated with potent chemicals designed to eliminate rats more effectively. However, they come with increased safety concerns. Here’s what you need to know.

Types of Rodenticides

Rodenticides come in various forms, like granules, powders, and even liquid concentrates. The key ingredient in most rodenticides is an anticoagulant, which interferes with the rat’s ability to clot blood, ultimately causing its demise.

How to Use Rodenticides

Just like with other forms of bait, location is everything. Place the rodenticide where you’ve observed the most rat activity. Always use a bait station to house the rodenticide, which will help to keep it away from pets and children.

Safety Measures

Using rodenticides requires you to be extra cautious. Always read and follow the instructions on the label. Moreover, if you have pets or children, keep them far away from areas where you’ve placed the rodenticide. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all rodenticides must be placed in a tamper-resistant bait station to minimize risks.

Signs of Effectiveness

You’ll know the rodenticide is working when you start to find dead rats. However, be prepared for the possibility that some may die in hidden locations, causing an unpleasant odor. Always wear gloves when handling dead rats and dispose of them properly to prevent the spread of disease.

Pros and Cons of Using Rodent Bait

While rodent bait can be highly effective, it’s not without drawbacks. The poison can take several days to work, during which rats can die in hidden areas, causing a foul smell. Plus, there’s the risk to non-target animals and humans if the bait is not handled carefully.

So, if you decide to use rodent bait, follow all safety guidelines and monitor the situation closely. This method can be very effective when done correctly, helping you get your rat problem under control once and for all.

When to Call a Professional

If you’ve tried traps, regular bait, repellents, and even rodenticides but still can’t get rid of rats, in such cases, don’t hesitate to call a professional exterminator. Pest control experts can offer more potent solutions and can ensure that the application of rodenticides is done in the safest way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Rid of Rats

How Can I Tell If I Have a Rat Problem?

You’ll know you have a rat problem if you find droppings, hear scratching sounds in the walls or ceilings, or see gnaw marks on furniture and food packaging. These signs are a clear indication that rats have made themselves at home.

Are Rat Traps or Rodenticides More Effective?

Both methods have their merits. Rat traps provide a quick, humane way to kill rats, but you may need multiple traps to deal with an infestation. Rodenticides are potent and can eliminate multiple rats, but they come with significant safety concerns, especially if you have pets or children.

Can a Cat Really Help in Rat Control?

Yes, a cat can be a natural and effective way to control rats. Cats are instinctual hunters, and even their scent can deter rats. However, getting a cat is a long-term commitment and not just a quick fix for a rat problem.

How Often Should I Check Rat Traps or Rodenticide Stations?

It’s a good idea to check rat traps every day to remove any caught rats and reset the traps. For rodenticide stations, checking every 2-3 days is advisable. Always remember to wear gloves when handling traps or rodenticides.

When Should I Call a Professional Exterminator?

If you’ve tried multiple methods, like traps, repellents, and rodenticides, but still can’t seem to get rid of rats, it’s time to consult a professional. They can assess your specific situation and implement a targeted plan to eliminate the infestation effectively.

Further reading: How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Home

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