Rats Archives – Never Pest

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Will Rats Attack Humans? Will Rats Bite People? Are They Dangerous?

Many people are afraid of rats and with good reason. With a history of spreading disease and leaving destruction in their wake, they are hardly a welcomed sight in a household. Add to this the fact that there is no telling how many may be lurking unseen for every rat that you do see. And then there is always that persistent fear, that you may come upon one of those rodents unaware or that it might find you while you are sleeping and you wonder “Will rats attack humans?” The best way to dispell fear is through information. Having a game plan for how to deal with a situation is also helpful in regaining control of that situation. Your rat problem may seem overwhelming, but with the right information and advice, it doesn’t have to be.

What Attracts Rats?

Historically, rats spread through sea travel (they stow away on ships) and just through proximity. Rats like to live near humans because that is where the food is. You do not necessarily have to be a slob to attract rodents, although the likelihood that they will appear is greater if you are not careful about your housekeeping– especially in the kitchen area. Rats are omnivores and so are not terribly picky about what they eat. In the wild, they have been blamed for the extinction of numerous small bird and animal species whenever they have been introduced to a new environment, especially islands. However, they will also eat plants, nuts and seeds.

The question that keeps many homeowners experiencing an infestation awake at night is “Can rats bite humans?” This cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Rats are an animal first and foremost. And, as with any animal, when surprised or cornered, they will fight their way out if they see no other option. Similarly, there have been cases of rats biting or chewing on babies, bed-ridden elderly people and the homeless. The most widely accepted theory for theory for this is that these vulnerable people went to bed with food residue on their faces, hands or clothes and the rats were trying to lick or chew the food off of the people. In general, however, a rat will not attack a human or any other creature larger than itself without provocation.

Rat Infestations

Once you have a rat infestation, the only thing on your mind is how to get rid of them. The first step is to make sure holes and cracks around your house are sealed up so that they have no way to get in. Some rats can get in holes as small as half an inch. You should also make sure to keep your home as tidy as possible because they are attracted to food sources. Finally, you should set out traps or poison or both. If you have pets or young children, you should consider a bait station for your poison. A bait station is a special kind of trap that you can put poison into. The rats can access it but children and small pets cannot. No matter how you choose to deal with your rat problem, however, you cannot go wrong by calling in professional exterminators.

Knowledge is power. Having a rat infestation is troubling but it doesn’t have to get the best of you. When you know that your family is not likely to be attacked by rodents, that can go a long way to setting your mind at ease. And knowing how to deal with and avoid rats in the future can put you back in control. Having the right pest control specialists on your side doesn’t hurt either.

Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop – Identifying Rodent Droppings

Something is nesting in your house and you need to find out what, exactly, you are up against. The animal sounds smaller than something truly horrifying, like a possum, but it is also bigger than a mouse based on the noises it makes and the damage it has done. There is likely more than one of whatever it is. So like any good do-it-yourself pest fighter would do, you investigate the situation. You go into the crawlspace, attic, basement, or garage where the trouble in going down and come up with some vital evidence: a pile of poop.

The only problem is, you don’t know what kind of droppings you are looking at. You immediately thought it belonged to a rat, but after safely removing some of the feces and looking at it by the light of day you realize it could just as easily belong to a similarly sized animal, like a squirrel. Based on all the information you have gathered on the infestation, it really could be either rats or squirrels. Figuring out what you are dealing with is extremely important since rats and squirrels are expelled from a house through very different processes.

Squirrel and Rat Poop Identification

The first thing you need to do when sorting out squirrel poop vs. rat poop is pull up a droppings identification guide on the internet. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management features a very thorough guide on pest droppings. They recommend taking a close, almost scientific look at the droppings you discover. Consider the shape, length, color, and distribution of the droppings and then see if you can answer these questions:

  1. Is it more pointed or rounded at the ends? Rat droppings are pointier, squirrel droppings rounder.
  2. What is the overall shape of the pellets? If you are dealing with a squirrel it will be shaped more like a barrel whereas what a rat leaves behind tend to be thinner and longer.
  3. What color is it? Rat poop tends to be blacker and darker than squirrel poop, which can be tan or red in color.
  4. What pattern did you find the droppings in? Rats tend to defecate everywhere they run, like a mouse does; squirrels tend to leave their feces in clusters or piles.

Another key to distinguishing the two kinds of droppings is squirrel poop tends to lighten in color with time, whereas a rat’s poop will stay dark in color. If you find older fecal matter and it is noticeably paler than what you find fresh, chances are you are dealing with a colony of squirrels.

Of course, this comes with a warning about the hazards of handling animal poop; you should always use gloves and thoroughly clean or dispose of anything that comes into contact with the feces. Both squirrel and rat droppings carry diseases. In fact, you should address any droppings in your house while figuring out how to get rid of the pests so that a bacteria like salmonella doesn’t spread through your house. Also use caution when exploring areas of your house where an animal is living– you don’t want to be bitten. When in doubt you can handle the situation safely, call a local pest control company.

Putting the Pieces Together

It is unlikely you will be able to settle the squirrel poop vs. rat poop debate without knowing more about what is living in your house. You can learn a lot from a general pest identification guide– you have to consider what you are looking at belongs to neither a squirrel nor a rat, and a guide like this will help you determine what you should be hunting for and eventually expelling from your house. Figuring out as much as you can about the poop you discovered is important, however, because it may be the clue that pulls together all the other information you’ve gathered on your pest.

 

How to Get Rid of Rats Inside & Outside Quickly

Rats are among the most dangerous and common home invaders throughout the world. Once they have established an in-home ecosystem it can be very difficult to eliminate them completely. However, it is necessary that the infestation is eradicated in as timely a manner as possible. Rodents are dangerous and can transmit a wide variety of diseases through their bodily fluids. They reproduce at an exponential rate and, given the correct circumstances, can overrun a living space. There are many proven remedies for these infestations and any combination of them may be necessary for full elimination.

Resilient Rodents

Rodents, specifically rats, are among the most difficult pests to control. They are highly adaptable and can thrive in any situation in which they find warmth, hydration, and food. They also have a keen awareness to changes in their environment. They are very intelligent and as a result you often need a combination of the following methods to eliminate them.

Improve Sanitation Within your Living Space

Our homes are very desirable living quarters for all rodents and especially for rats. Rats enter in search of shelter from the harsh elements and predators, as well as nourishment. They feed on our garbage and any other food items to which they can gain access. The first step to eliminating these unwanted visitors is changing the environment so that it is not as hospitable to any four-legged invaders. Trash should be properly disposed of and secured in covered receptacles.

A concerted effort among neighborhoods can also go a long way in preventing the occurrence of infestations. This is especially true of apartment buildings or neighborhoods in which homes are close together. neighborhood landscape cleanups and mass cleanings have proven effective on a large scale in many neighborhoods.

Secure the Perimeter

Once rats gain access to your home they are very difficult to eliminate. Therefore, one of the best methods of extermination is prevention. Rats are able to gain access to your home through any opening that is 1/2″ or bigger. It is necessary to close any hole on the exterior that they can fit through.

This is a very important step even if the pests have already gained access. They reproduce very quickly and if you can stop the flux of new rats into your house you will have much fewer to exterminate.

There are many products on the market that can help you secure your home against rodents of all kinds.

  • Copper mesh– Rats often gain access to your home through spaces where utility wires enter your home. Copper mesh can close the gaps around wires, pipes, and holes near foundations.
  • Foam- Foam is another useful tool in the war on rodent invaders. This foam should be sprayed in any and all crevasses on the exterior of your home. It will expand and protect from both the elements and pests.

Baiting Rats

Baiting is a method of pest control that can be very effective in eliminating an infestation. Baiting involves leaving poison in strategic areas of your home in hopes that the rats will ingest the poison and even pass it on to others. This method can be highly effective but does have a few drawbacks.

Baiting requires the use of very strong poisons that are hazardous, usually fatal, to humans and domestic animals. This means that the placement of these materials must be in an area in which human and animals, other than the desired pests, can not ingest them accidentally. Another way to prevent accidental ingestion is through the use of secure bait stations that have been widely accepted to decrease accidents.

Another drawback to this method is that one does not always know when a rat has been poisoned. This can lead to a rotting rat carcass in a not readily available area of your home that is only known because of the rancid odor.

These caveats notwithstanding, the baiting method can be safe and very effective if done in the correct fashion.

Safe Baits

“Safe” baits are also available on the market and they claim to drive rats away in a manner that is safe for humans and the environment. These safe baits employ the use of essential oils to drive the rats away. many of these products have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency responsible for the regulation of environmental hazards. Unlike poisons, if effective, these baits will not leave you with the task of finding and removing dead rats from your home.

These environmentally friendly baits are often mixtures of a variety of essential oils, including; eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary. These oils are natural and completely safe for use among children and animals. The efficacy of such methods have been debated, but the only way to see if it works in your situation is to try it for yourself. There is no risk involved, except for the money you spend.

Trapping Rats

Trapping is a useful alternative if the rat population is not too great. Traps are set out in areas that are accessible to both rats and humans. These traps can be baited with a variety of foods to attract the rodents. Some common bait foods include; apple, potato, bacon, peanut butter, etc.

When employing the trap method you will always know when a pest has been killed, and you will not have a rotting carcass in an inaccessible area of your home. Trapping eliminates the need for hazardous poisons and in that way it is a great deal safer than baiting. This makes it a more attractive option for safety conscious families and pet-owners.

To reiterate trapping is not always a feasible option when a large population of rodents is present, though it may be used effectively in concert with other methods in that situation.

Call a Professional

Sometimes the best, or only, way to solve an infestation is by calling a professional to deal with the pests. There are many knowledgeable exterminators with years of experience in the pest control business. They will be able to inform you of your options and customize a plan specifically to your needs. They have access to state-of-the-art methods and are informed of the latest industry breakthroughs. They also have access to personal protection equipment that may not be available to the lay person. This combination of factors may provide you with the best results and the least amount of headache.

An infestation of any kind can be a very stressful event. The danger and disease that rats cause can make their presence even worse. Baiting, trapping, and calling a professional are a few ways that you can combat the rodent army. Often a combination of these methods are needed to control, and hopefully eliminate, your rat problem.

Improved sanitation and closure of any external entry points are necessary to prevent further infestation. It is imperative that your home is not a place in which they can find the warmth, protection, and sustenance that they desire.

A rat infestation may be embarrassing, but it is not the end of the world and it is not permanent. if you employ the methods outlined here, and use the knowledge that you have gained you will be able to rid your home of these unwanted guests.

Using Dogs for Rat Control

Some dogs like the Jack Russels can be well trained because it is ingrained in their instincts,  to hunt and kill rats.  This is a great solution if you do not want to use potentially dangerous chemicals or traps around your property.

 

 

Rat Poop: Rat Dropping Diseases & Clean-Up Tips

Rats are intelligent creatures, which is one of the reasons why you may have one as a pet. The rest of you who do not have these creatures as a pet, may find them to be pests, the reason why is because non-domestic rats will sneak into your home and dine away on your food or crumbs on the floor and leave behind droppings. Their droppings are potentially harmful to human health since they tend to carry a wide variety of diseases. Finding methods to keep rats away and at bay is the best way to keep the critters droppings away, but first you have to understand what the creatures are exactly.

What are rats exactly?

Rats are small rodents that can way up to a pound in size and are usually black, brown or white in color. The creatures are commonly thought of as large mice because they have similar features, but mice are much smaller. You can find these tiny mammals living in most areas of the world living a lifespan of up to three years. The little critters with tiny round ears, round black eyes, pink noses with whiskers, small hands for grabbing food and long tails love living particularly in rural areas where food and water sources are plentiful. If you have rats running around your area its because there is an abundant amount of food and water for them to live off of, which means you are probably also experiencing a lot of rat poop too.

Why is rat poop so dangerous to humans?

As mentioned in the beginning, rat poop harbors diseases. Some of those diseases are potentially deadly. Those diseases are:

  • South American Arena viruses such as Argentine, Bolivian, Sabia and Venzuelan hemorrhagic fever
  • Tularemia
  • Salmonella Poisoning
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Meningitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lassa Fever
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Plague

How do you contract one of these diseases from rat poop?

You contract one of these diseases from rat poop by simply being exposed too it or ingesting it through breathing in rat dropping dust or though food that has be exposed to it and consumed by you. If you become ill and think it has because you have been exposed to rat droppings due to a high number, living in your space it is wise to see a doctor for medical treatment right away. Again, some of the diseases rats carry are potentially dangerous if left untreated since most of the diseases cause respiratory issues, digestive problems and even neurological disorders.

What are some of the methods to help prevent and rid rats away?

Some of the most common methods people find useful for preventing rats are by spraying around their home with rodent deterrent sprays. Some even find the electronic sonic rodent device you plant into the ground or plug in your outlets inside your home to be effective as well. Other methods that are helpful to try are:

  • Go Get Some House Cats or Farm Cats as Friends to Help Hunt and Repel the Rodents Away
  • Spraying Feline Urine Around Home or Outdoor Picnic Areas
  • Using Rat Traps to Capture or Kill the Rodents
  • Making sure No Food or Water Sources are Easily Available such as Filled Trash Bags and Birdbaths
  • Filling on Cracks and Craves in the Home to Keep Rats from Crawling Inside
  • Spray Vinegar in Rat Entrance Ways
  • Remove Rat Nest from Homes (always wear safety gear when doing this task, or hire professionals to do this job properly)
  • Plant Mint, Lavender, Garlic, Onion or Cayenne Pepper Plants in Gardens and Around Home since Rats Hate the Aroma these Plants Give Off
  • Spray Inside of Home with Lavender, Tea Tree or Mint Essential Oil Sprays Daily

What are some end thoughts to keep in mind when it comes to rat droppings?

The reasons for keeping rats away is not just their droppings, but because they can build their homes inside your home creating nests. Rats living inside the walls of any home create hidden potential dangers. Rats tend to chew on electrical wires, which can lead to an electrical fire than can destroy a home in minutes. Finding methods that work to help prevent and repel rats away is essential for keeping you home and family safe. If you find that, you have a large rodent infestation in your home it is time to call in some professionals to help you exterminate the creatures from your home as safely and as quickly as possible before you end up with even more issues. The only time you should be okay with a rat hanging out inside your home is even it is domestic and your furry little friend that loves sitting on your shoulder or running in their spinning rodent wheel for exercise.

 

Controlling Norway Rats : Identification & Removal Tips

The Norway rat was originally unintentionally brought to the Unites States by settlers who came on ships from Europe. They go by many names; house, brown, barn, gray, sewer or wharf rats and weigh about one pound. They have whitish gray fur on their belly and their fur is coarse, brownish or reddish gray above. Since their arrival in the United States in 1775; the Norway rat has spread itself across all 48 states.

According to the Wildlife Damage Management at Cornell University, the Norway rat likes to live in close proximity to people. They can be found in urban or suburban areas; cellars, stores, docks, sewers, warehouses and slaughterhouses. When on farms they will inhabit granaries, silos, livestock buildings and kennels. The rat will burrow to make its nest under buildings and other structures, along stream beds or around ponds. They will look for somewhere they have access to food and water to make a home that provides shelter.

The Norway rat will eat just about anything. If given a choice they would select a balanced diet by choosing fresh food over stale or contaminated foods. They would choose meats, fish, nuts, grains and fruit. They require half to one ounce of water daily when feeding on dry foods, but less when moist foods are available. They love the food they will find in your garbage as it offers a balanced diet and satisfies their moisture needs. The Norway rat is also primarily nocturnal so you will see them come out to search for food around the time it gets dusk. When their population becomes to large; the Norway rat will come out during the daylight to search for food.

Signs of the Norway Rat

The Norway rat tends to stay out of sight during daytime, unless as stated their numbers get to high and they have to compete for food. You will notice droppings that are capsule shaped if they have entered your area. The rat will leave these along frequently used pathways. They will gnaw on your utility lines and other objects if they are in your home. You will also notice rub marks or grease stains they leave along the wall as they run along the edge of your rooms.

How to Prevent Norway Rats

They will seek shelter in your home looking for the three things they need to survive; food, water and shelter. If you reduce as many of these as possible they will not want to move in with you.

Reduce their food source

You can do this by putting a secure lid on your garbage container and make sure you empty it regularly. If you have bird seed or pet food; keep it stored in an air-tight container and to keep them away from your house, clean out bird feeder bottoms often. It is not unusual to see a rat eating pet feces in a yard; so pick up any waste you have and dispose of immediately.

Eliminate their water source

Make sure you do not have pipes that leak and remove any containers with standing water during the night. If you have a pet, empty their water bowels every evening when your pet retires with you. Don’t keep woodpiles or overgrown weedy areas close to your house for them to find shelter in.

Make sure all entry-ways are sealed

You should never leave doors or windows open, especially at night when the Norway rat is out searching for food sources. These rats can fit through incredibly small openings so do not even leave them cracked. Any cracks or gaps in doorways or chimneys should be sealed and you should place a screen over your dryer vent.

How to get rid of Norway Rats

One effective method of getting rid of the Norway rat is to trap them and set out rodent baits.

Traps

Trapping has the advantage over baiting as you don’t have to deal with rodenticides. If your problem is small enough, traps will be effective and yield a quick way to get rid of the rats. Trapping also allows for you to dispose of the dead rats before their odor can become a problem.

  1. The first rule in using a rat trap is to put plenty of traps out. Usually the population is larger than you see or think so put out a lot of traps.
  2. Make sure it is a rat trap you are using as a mouse trap is not large enough to hold rats.
  3. Place the traps in high-activity areas. This will include darkened corners, behind appliances, along walls and in any areas you’ve seen signs of their droppings.
  4. Rats look for enclosed safe areas so use the Protecta Bait Station as your choice of trap. These offer shelter to the rat; enticing it to enter and also protects non-targeted animals and children from harm of the trap snapping.
  5. When setting the traps; to maximize your success in catching them, place them along their runways and extended at a right angle. Position it so the trigger end is almost touching the wall. If you set them parallel, put them in pairs so the rat will can be caught coming from both directions.
  6. The rat is going to be shy of the trap at first as they are of all new objects. Once the trap has sat there for a week or two they will grow accustomed to it and it will then become effective for you.
  7. You can get the rat used to the area before setting the trap by placing a food source there for them. Once they get used to finding food they will feel more comfortable with the area and you can then set the traps to catch them.

Rodenticides

These are poison baits and can only be set out where they will not endanger domestic animals or children. For safety reasons there are rules and regulations to using rodenticides and the need to place them in tamper-resistant bait stations.

  • Determine the size of your Norway rat population and where their activity is located. Look for droppings, gnaw marks, grease marks, urine stains or other signs of their activity.
  • If you discover you have a chronic problem it is suggested you use; Final Pellets/Blox or Contrac Pellets. These are suitable in situations where rats have become abundant and a quick removal is necessary.

There are a lot of good reasons to get rid of the Norway rat if they have chosen to use your home as their own. Aside of the damage they can cause; rats are also a serious health risk to you and your family with the different diseases they can carry. Use these tips to keep the Norway rat away from your home and remove them if they have already entered.