When you suspect a rodent infestation, reaching for the rat poison seems like the first logical choice for getting rid of the unwanted houseguests. But rats are sometimes resistant to the poisons you can get at the store.
Rats can be very dangerous, spreading more than 35 diseases worldwide. You don’t want to mess around with leaving rats in your home for too long.
Waiting too long to call an exterminator can cause the problem to grow out of control. Knowing when to give up the DIY route in favor of a professional is important in keeping your family safe and reducing rat-inflicted damage to your home.
Look for signs of rats still being in your home. Many specific signs show that rats are still alive and moving around or causing damage.
If you notice the following signs, it’s time to call a professional exterminator to handle your rat problem.
1. The Smell of Dead Rats
The problem with using regular household rat poison is that the dying rodents likely remain in your home. That produces an unbearable stench that can infiltrate your entire home. Finding and eliminating rat carcasses can be difficult.
The other problem with dead rats in your home is the potential for additional infestation. Maggots often feed on the carcasses. Other rats may also feed on them.
Even though you eliminated some of the rats, you may continue to have a pest infestation in your home. If you smell dead rats, contact an exterminator to help you contain the problem.
2. Rat Droppings
Fresh rat droppings are a sign that the rat problem is still ongoing and the rat poison didn’t do the job. Rat droppings are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, which is larger than mouse droppings, and are usually pellet-shaped. Younger rats tend to have smaller droppings, so you can tell if the rats are multiplying and you’re dealing with juvenile rates in addition to the adults.
The droppings are typically shiny black in appearance, and fresh droppings are a darker black color. As the droppings get older, they dry out, get crumbly, and start to look more gray than black. If the droppings appear fresh, you likely still have live rates in your home.
The number of droppings can help you determine how large of an infestation you have. Droppings tend to be near areas where the rats are most active. This can help you figure out where the rats are spending most of their time.
3. Scratching Sounds
If you still have live rats in your home, you may be able to hear them moving around in various places. Rats are nocturnal, so your best chance of hearing them is at nighttime when they’re more active.
Rats often hang out between the walls in your home and in other hidden areas. If you listen closely, you may be able to hear the rats running around in those areas. They’re larger than mice and other pests, so they may be a little easier to hear, but you won’t likely hear them if there’s lots of noise in your home.
You might also hear chewing sounds. Rats tend to chew frequently because it keeps their teeth from continuing to grow. They often chew wood and may chew through walls.
4. Smudge Marks
When rats come out into the open, they tend to stick close to the walls. Rats also tend to be dirty and have grease on their bodies. That results in smudges left along the walls.
The smudges appear brownish like dirt. Look for the marks along the baseboard and lower parts of the wall. If they smudge when you wipe them, it means they are likely fresh and you still have rats moving around in your home.
You may also see tracks left by rodents. These are most often visible in dusty areas of your home. You may see marks from their feet and their tails.
If you suspect rats are traveling in a certain area, try placing some unscented talcum powder on the floor in the area. Give it a day or two and look for tracks in the powder.
5. Fresh Gnaw Marks
In addition to hearing the chewing sounds, you might see fresh signs of chewing. This can take place in the structure of the home or on food and other loose items in your home.
Keep an eye on your walls, doorways, insulation, wires, and other areas of your home. Rats will chew through almost anything. You may also notice chew marks on your food containers.
If you notice new marks, you likely still have active rats in your home. Fresh chew marks appear light. They tend to get darker the longer they are around.
The size of the chew marks can help you determine if they’re from rats or mice. Rats are larger overall, including their teeth, so larger chew marks are most likely from rats.
6. Live Rats
You can’t deny that the rat poison is failing if you see a live rat in your home. Rats are larger than mice and may be easier to see because of the size. Still, rodents tend to scurry away quickly, so you may not get a good look at the rats even if they come out into the open.
Rodents only tend to come out when they’re forced out due to a large number of other rodents in the home. If you see a rat inside your home, that could mean there are many more hiding in your walls or attic and the rat you see was forced out due to overcrowding. Call an exterminator right away if you spot a rat to take care of the growing problem.
Skip the Rat Poison, Call an Exterminator
When rat poison comes up short, it’s time to call an exterminator.
Whether you have the strong stench of dead rats or signs of a continuing infestation, the easiest way to get rid of the pests is to let the professionals handle it.
Contact us for residential pest control so you can reclaim your home.
Interested in learning more about rat trapping and poisons? Please visit the following resource links: