Rats can be a tricky pest to get rid of, especially if poison isn’t working. Here are the best rat traps you can try to eliminate this problem for good.
If you have tried rat poison, but it has failed to eliminate these pests, there are probably some good reasons for this. But you may be at a loss for what to do next.
The good news is that there are a lot of basic DIY options for you to consider. Keep reading to find out why poisoned baits can be ineffective in eradicating rats in your home and to learn about the best rat traps to try as alternatives.
Like mice, rats are rodents. There are about 60 species of rat in the world, but only two invade homes in Mississippi.
The Norway rat, which has shaggy brown or gray fur, is the larger of the two. It can grow well over nine inches in length, not including the tail, which can add another six to eight inches. Norway rats are accomplished diggers and burrowers.
The roof rat has a more slender body, usually with either dark brown or black fur. They can grow to be six to eight inches long, with another six to eight inches of tail. As their name suggests, roof rats prefer to live in high places, like attics or ceilings.
It is a common misconception that mice and rats only enter filthy homes with a lot of food waste. But rodents can seek shelter in almost any attic, basement, or other space in a building.
How Do You Know When You Have a Rat Problem?
Rats are nocturnal, and they live in secluded spaces, like attics or in walls. So, you may not see them but only hear them moving around.
You may spot rat droppings, usually near where human or pet food is stored or around trash cans. Rat droppings look like those of mice but will be two or three times the size.
Another sign that you have a rat infestation is wires or wood that have been gnawed or markings on your walls. Rats also leave behind an unpleasant smell from droppings and urine. You may notice this coming from cabinets or in other spaces in your home.
Once you hear or see indications that rats are present, you will want to act as quickly as possible. Rats reproduce very rapidly. A female rat can have up to six litters of five to 12 pups a year.
And rats reach sexual maturity in only nine weeks. It is easy to see how a rat infestation could get out of hand very quickly.
Disadvantages of Poisons
Rat bait is a poison that the animal ingests. It kills them gradually by either causing their blood not to coagulate or by attacking its nervous system. Baits come in pellet and liquid form.
Rat poison is illegal in some parts of the United States. And there are general, national restrictions on its use as well.
One big concern about poisons is that the rats could have it on their bodies and then scurry to areas where food is kept. Or, they could drag it out onto your floor, where it could be consumed by pets or stepped on with bare feet.
One of the reasons poison is not very effective is that not all rats may find and eat it. So, you could end up killing off a few without eradicating the problem.
There also is some indication that rats can learn to stay away from certain baits after other rats are killed by it. In general, rats could learn what the baits look and smell like and avoid them altogether.
One of the biggest disadvantages of poisons is that you cannot control where the rat dies. In fact, they are very likely to do so in the walls or attic where they live. So, then you have a decaying carcass that is difficult to find and remove.
Take Basic Precautions
Before we get to traps, there are some basic things you can do to both disincentivize rats from staying in your home and inviting other ins.
Find Out Where They Live and What They Eat
If possible, try to identify where the rats may be living. Check under kitchen sinks or in other little-used cabinets. Even if the rodents are in your walls, you may be able to identify where they are entering.
This may be a good opportunity to clean out cabinets and pantries. Remove any remnants of dry food that may be in them. Put your pet food inside a sealed plastic or metal container.
Seal Off Points of Entry
One thing you will want to do, regardless of the rat eradication method you choose, is to find and seal the hole the rodents are using to enter your home. Rats can fit into tiny spaces, so inspect closely.
If you changed internet or cable companies recently, and now you have a rat problem, that may not be a coincidence. If there are holes that are too big for existing or old cables, seal them up or buy covers that will seal off the space.
This also is true for air conditioning or heat pump units. They need large holes for the equipment to pass through and leave gaps that rats can use for entry.
Check for gaps around doors or window frames. If you have rats in your attic, you might check your roof for any new holes. Air vents, cupolas, or other deteriorating structures are a good place for rats to sneak in.
Rats have strong teeth. So, even areas that are only beginning to decay are attractive entry points for them.
You will want to do your best to seal up any holes you find around your home. You can do so with caulking, concrete, or metal screens. For a quick fix, stuff steel wool in smalls spaces–rats cannot chew through this material.
This can be a preventative measure as well. Every few months, walk around your house and see if any new holes have popped up.
Best Rat Traps
Now, for getting rid of the rodents. There is a range of traps available that you can use in your home. Most are inexpensive, so you do not have much to lose by giving them a try.
Traditional “snap traps” are a tried-and-true rat control measure that has been around for a long time. In fact, Victor brand has been selling mouse and rat traps since the 1800s.
Snap traps use a spring and catch that allow you to set the trap. When triggered, it kills the rat instantly.
They are inexpensive, and you can pick these up at your local hardware or home goods store. Note that rat traps are at least twice the size of standard mouse traps.
There is a reason that cheese is the typical bait used in snap traps: it works. But anything with a strong smell can be a good lure as well. Roof rats are fond of peanut butter, which is easy to spread on the trap catch and is harder for rats to swipe without triggering the trap.
It is a good idea to wear gloves when setting a rat trap. This helps keep your scent off it, which could scare away the animals.
Rodents may be smarter than you think. Even with a trap holding an alluring piece of moldy cheese, rats may be leery of it.
One way to fix this is to leave the trap out without setting it. After a day or two, the rats will begin to feed off of it. You can also entice the rats by leaving bits of food near the trap to lure them in.
When moving around at night, rats hug the walls. Other than areas where you think the rats may be lurking, a good place to position a rat trap is along a wall.
Also, use plenty of traps in all areas you think rats have been. A good rule-of-thumb is to place them 15 or 20 feet apart. But be sure to position them out of reach of small children and animals.
Other Mechanical Traps
There are more child-safe traps that catch and suffocate the rat when triggered. Others are simple cage traps that allow you to capture the rat alive. These can be some of the best rat traps for people who do not wish to harm the animals.
This is the most humane option. But you do have to worry about the rats returning to your home once you release them.
Glue boards are another good alternative if you are concerned about children or pets finding the traps. They are simple, flat pieces of plastic or cardboard with a layer of glue on top. The rat sticks to the glue when it tries to cross the surface.
Glue traps should be placed in similar locations as you would a snap trap. They are safe to use. And, unlike traditional snap traps, you do not run the risk of clamping your fingers in them.
Also, rats tend to be less suspicious of glue traps since they appear to be nothing more than a thin piece of paper. And they are the most inexpensive rat control option.
One disadvantage of glue traps is that they do not immediately kill the rat. Some people consider this inhumane.
Note that the intent is that you dispose of the board and rat together. If you wish to not harm the rat but release them, a cage trap would be a preferable option.
There are box traps that electrocute rats that enter. Like other traps, you bait them with things like peanut butter or cheese. These are useful if you do not like the sight of a rat corpse in an open trap.
Call a Professional
Given how inexpensive and effective rat traps are, you cannot go wrong by giving them a try. With the information above, you may be able to eliminate your rat problem with ease.
But it is never a bad idea to call in a professional to handle the job. Our Synergy² specialist will assess the extent of your problem and prescribe the best rat traps for the situation. We can help avoid the headache of DIY guesswork.
Also, your pest control service may include rodents. If you already have a treatment plan, check to see what immediate treatment solutions may be available.
Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you. We have over 270 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here at Synergy² Jackson Pest Control!
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