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Effective Rat Control
Rats are one of the most hated animals EVER. Asides from being filthy cringe-worthy creatures, they are also carriers of several diseases – some of which can be fatal. Do you know that rats were the primary carriers of the bubonic plague that killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe and Asia in the 14 century?
But our history with rats goes way longer. The earliest archeologist finds suggest that rats – roof rats in particular – began to live with humans more than 4,000 years ago. And despite the efforts of our ancestors to rid themselves of these nuisance species, they remain with us even till today.
So, what is it about rats that have made them thrive? And by thriving, they are arguably the most successful mammals on the planet, numbering more than humans even. From their high adaptability to survive the harshest conditions to their high fecundity, rats have evolved to become one of the greatest survivors the planet has ever known.
However, all of this is bad news for humans. Why? Because rats will actively try to take advantage of you if given the chance. Just to mention a few, they will gain access into your house through small holes or by chewing through vulnerable spots. In the house, they will chew on wood, wires, and just about anything they can lay their teeth on. They will contaminate food sources, posing severe health risks to you and your family.
Rat control is the process of making your home and property rat-proof. To attain the desired results, rat control can be very challenging. That’s why you need a professional wildlife company that knows what it means to effectively keep rats out for good. A Team Services specializes in rat control – particularly in Los Angeles County and Orange County California.
In this post, we explore everything you need to know about rats. But more importantly, we explore effective rat control strategies that can save you from these nasty rodents.
Rats in California
Rats are found almost everywhere on the planet – and California is no exception. In California (as well as the United States), there are two predominant rat species. They are:
Let’s take a brief look into each of these species.
- Norway rats
Also known as sewer rats, brown rats, or house rats, Norway rats are large members of the rat family, averaging 16 inches in total length, including the tail. The length of their tail is a bit shorter than their body. Their color usually ranges from gray to brown, often with lighter coloring on the underside. Their eyes and ears are smaller than those of roof rats, and they can weigh up to 1 lb.
Norway rats typically live in nests and underground burrow systems found in sewers and creeks. They can also live in buildings, basements, under woodpiles.
- Roof rats
Also known as black rats or ship rats, roof rats are slender, agile, and on average, smaller than Norway rats. On average, they are about 15 inches long, and the length of their tail is longer than that of their body. They can weigh up to about three-quarters of a pound.
Roof rats usually nest above the ground. That’s why they prefer to roost in the upper parts of buildings such as attics and rafters. But they are very adaptable and can also be found under and around structures, as well as in woodpiles or debris.
What Attracts Rats?
Nothing brings more dismay to a homeowner than to hear the squeaks of rats at night, or to see their droppings littered around, or to have them destroy household items. When that happens, the first thing that comes to mind is: What attracts rats? How exactly did these nasty rodents get into my house?
Rats are mainly attracted for the following reasons:
Rats love to eat. And the strange part? They can eat almost anything. Hence, if there’s easy access to food on your property, don’t be surprised if you see rats in their droves.
Some of the most common sources of food for rats include:
- Leftovers in trash cans
- Pet food
- Seed crumbs from the bird feeder
- Plants, vegetables, and fruits in the garden.
- Foodstuff – like sugar, cheese, peanut butter, grains, etc.
Like all living this, rats need water to survive. It’s then no surprise that they are attracted to sources of water. Common water sources that may attract rats include leaky faucets, swimming pools, irrigation lines, stagnant water, and water bowls for pets.
When rats want to build their nests, they look out for three major factors. The first is safety from predators. The second is warmth and comfortability. And the third is proximity to food.
Unfortunately, buildings fit these requirements. For instance, rats love the attic because its height provides safety from predators. What’s more, they can easily tear up the insulation as well as other building materials to build their nest to maximize comfort. And since it’s right in the building, they can easily derive food from leftovers, food crumbs, pet food, and the likes.
It is for similar reasons that rats are also attracted to chimneys and the basement. They also look out for hiding spots like tall shrubs and bushes, woodpiles in the yard, abandoned objects, cluttered garages, and so on.
Damages Caused By Rats
Rats are highly destructive animals. And the destruction they leave in their wake can frustrate anyone. Over the decade, we at A-Team Services have seen it all when it comes to the destructive power of rats.
Here are some of the most common damages caused by rats:
- Damage to building materials
Once a rat gains access to your house, its first task is to build its nest. For that, it will need all the materials it can get – and that means tearing off the insulation and chewing through wood, pipes, wires, and so on.
Damaged insulation reduces the heating efficiency of your home. Damaged wooden beams reduce the structural integrity of your home. Damaged wires expose your house to a fire hazard. Damaged pipes result in water leakage that compromises your home quality.
- Damage to properties
If rats invade your settlement, they can destroy your clothes, food, plastic, and any other thing they can chew through.
No one likes the squeaks of rats, especially at night. Not to mention the smell of rat droppings and urine. But with a rat infestation, get prepared to face all of these.
- Risk of diseases
Rats are carriers of several diseases, many of which are harmful to humans and pets. Examples include rat-bite fever, salmonella, tularemia, and hantavirus, among many others.
Rat Control Methods
Rats are also very intelligent animals. Hence, to get rid of them, you need to outsmart them. This starts by having an adept understanding of rat behavior. This not only helps you to easily identify the source of the problem, but it also helps in the design and implementation of effective control tactics.
Over the past ten years, A-Team Services have gotten rid of rats in hundreds of homes and businesses in Los Angeles County and Orange County California. And now, we share some of the most effective ways for getting rid of these nasty pests:
- Seal potential entry holes
Listen carefully – rats are not magicians. They simply cannot get in if there are no spaces for them to take advantage of. However, the main issue is that rats can elongate their bodies to pass through small holes – holes as small as 20 mm.
That’s why every effective rat control starts with a thorough inspection of the entire property to identify how they are getting in. You should look out for spaces between broken walls, overlapping, and tile roofs, broken sewer systems.
These holes should be sealed with caulk or hardware cloth. Ensure you use a strong material so that rats won’t chew their way back in.
Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to get rid of rats? Trapping is your best bet. There are several types of rat traps. Some of the most common ones include:
This is the most preferred rat trap. It works by delivering a devastating impact on the rat as it tries to pick up the bait. Effective bait options include bacon or peanut butter. Ensure you set the trap at areas frequented by rats. Also, set multiple traps to increase your chances of killing them.
This is a relatively new type of rat trap. Instead of delivering a devastating impact like a snap trap, an electric trap sends a lethal electric shock to kill the rat.
Although inhumane, glue traps are also effective for catching rats. Glue traps contain a strong adhesive. Once the rat climbs on the board, it is unable to break free. You can then kill the glued rat by hitting its head with a heavy object.
There are several kinds of rat poisons (or raticide) in the market, including bromethalin, cholecalciferol, zinc phosphide, and strychnine. However, based on our experience at A Team Services, rat poisons come with a whole lot of problems. Hence they should be avoided.
First, they are inhumane, leading to a slow and painful death for the rat. What’s more, the dying rat will retreat to a hidden corner of your house and die, making it difficult to find the carcass. Also, unintended wildlife, pets, and even children can unintentionally consume rat poison.
No matter what you do to get rid of rats, as long as there’s easy access to food and shelter on your property, rats will keep returning. That’s why rat prevention is important to make your yard unattractive to them.
Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Secure your trash cans properly.
- Take your pet food inside, especially at night.
- Sweep away seed crumbs from underneath your birdfeeder.
- Seal all entry holes to your yard and house.
- Fence your garden to protect plants.
- Remove abandoned objects from your yard.
- Mow your lawn regularly.
- Remove woodpiles and debris from your yard.
- Cut off tree branches overhanging your roof to deny rats entry to your attic.
A Team Services Rat Control
Are you currently dealing with a rat infestation problem? Have you tried all you can, but the rats keep coming back? It’s high time to get the professionals involved. A Team Services can help devise and implement a control strategy that’s guaranteed to deliver the results you long for.
Asides from effective rat removal and control, we also provide decontamination and repair services. Decontamination helps to kill the pathogens left behind by nuisance rats, while repairs help to restore your house to the state it was in before the infestation.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to put an end to the reign of rats on your property.