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How To Get Rid of Rats

How To Control Rats

Rats are shy, intelligent, nocturnal rodents that seek food, water, shelter and safety in our homes. In many cases rats don't live inside a home but visit during their active hours. Because of that, eliminating the rodents requires a two pronged approach. Catching and killing rats is only half of the job, keeping them out is equally important. We will show you how to get rid of rats in your home and how to keep them out.

How To Keep Rats Out of a Home

First, and most important, block the rat's access to your home. Many people focus on filling holes and cracks inside their home. The problem is that in the typical home there are too many pathways through walls, attics, and crawlspaces for you to block them all. A much more effective method to block access is from the outside of your home. While there are many ways into your home, it is easier to restrict access to rats, mice and rodents from the outside.

To prevent rats from getting into your home, walk around the perimeter of your home to find and block their ways in. Look the following:

  • Find the exterior vents around your home. These exist both along the foundation and eaves of your house. Other vents can be found on gables, the roof and elsewhere. These vents should all be covered with 1/8" or 1/4" galvanized hardware cloth.
  • Inspect the foundation of your home for openings. Anything larger than a quarter is large enough for a rat to pass through.
  • Look for gaps in exterior siding.
  • Cut back plants and shrubs so that they don't touch the building.
  • Remove tree branches that give rodents easy access to the roof. Keep in mind they can jump several feet.
  • Keep garbage cans as far from your home as possible.
  • Block all openings with rigid metal screen or other appropriate material.
  • Inspect around the fireplace for a draft inducer or ash clean out. Make certain these are properly blocked.

Use galvanized rigid metal mesh to block openings to your home. The material is usually known as hardware cloth. Use 1/8" inch or 1/4" mesh; anything larger may let in pests. When screening openings, wait until the afternoon. This gives any rodents the opportunity to exit your home and return to their nest. Attach the metal mesh with heavy-duty staples, screws or construction adhesive. Make sure rats and rodents can't pry open an edge to squeeze through.

In holes too small, you can fill them with construction adhesive or caulking, however, a determined rat will chew through this material. One additional step you can try iis to take some 12 gauge wire and coil it into the opening before sealing it over with construction adhesive. The heavy wire will make it difficult for a rat to chew their way through.

Rats are excellent climbers and can jump a fair distance. Even openings that are well above the ground need to be blocked. Any trim on you house may make a perfect ladder for a rat to climb up the side of your home. Removal of shrubs, ivy and tree branches is important for rodent control.

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