Health problems and structure damage are both serious concerns related to rat infestations—not to mention the fact that rats are just disgusting creatures that people don’t want around! Not only are these large rodents able to gnaw through plastic and wood, but they also leave feces and urine around that can spread diseases to your family. The most common species of rats in central Texas are called “roof rats” (Rattus rattus), preferring the warmer climate.
When winter comes, these rats start searching for warm places to nest and you want to do everything you can to keep them from nesting in your home. Two aspects of Houston rodent control are necessary to rid of rats for good: rat prevention and rat extermination.
The first step in getting rid of rats is keeping them out to begin with.
Eliminate Entry Points for Rats
Rats are searching for warm, dark areas to make nests in out-of-the-way places. Rodents of all shapes and sizes may try to get into your attic through small holes or cracks, and they particularly like a damp place that will offer them access to a small amount of water. Keep your attic and crawlspace clean and dry to remove the temptation for them to build their nests in your home.
If rats cannot climb into your home from the top, they may try tunneling in underneath. Keeping a wide area closely mowed around your home helps to prevent the privacy rats need to dig their tunnels as they dislike open space. Laying pavers flush with the exterior walls around the perimeter of your home may minimize the access that rats and other rodents have to your home.
Secure Food Sources
Rats infest places that offer them shelter as well as food sources. In order to keep them away, aim to eliminate opportunities for them to eat. The kitchen is an obvious place to begin by storing food in sealable, hard plastic containers. Don’t forget that rats love garbage, so be sure that your garbage cans have lids that can be sealed to promote rodent control. Storing pet food in sealed containers will keep rats from eating up your cat or dog food. And if you are a composter, make sure that your compost area is far away from your house so that it doesn’t act as an attraction for rats, mice, or other rodents.
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Keep Up On Home Maintenance
Access points for rats to enter your home can be anything as small as a quarter-sized hole in your roof or siding. Regularly inspect the outside of your home for holes or cracks in siding, roof, or crawl spaces under your home, repairing them right away when found. Keep outdoor areas tidy to avoid attracting rats with areas to hide. Remove brush, mow down weeds or tall grasses, and keep wood piles stores securely and neatly away from your house.
Once you discover that you have a rat problem, it’s time to decide on the best form of rodent control.
Understand Signs of Rat Infestation
Before you can get rid of rats, you need to verify that rats are indeed your problem. Of course, visual sighting of a rat is usually a pretty sure sign. Other signs of rat infestation include viewing rat droppings your attic or crawl space, hearing noises in the ceiling or walls at night, seeing tracks, smelling a musky odor, or finding evidence of gnawing on cardboard, wood, or plastic.
Read More: 7 Signs of a Rat Infestation in Your Home
Trapping Rats on Your Own
While it is possible to trap rats on your own by using hardware store traps, this situation may not be ideal. Rats don’t typically live alone, and you may be dealing with a sizeable infestation that will grow faster than you are actually able to catch them. If you do choose to use a trap, avoid using peanut butter or cheese on the traps as these will go bad quickly and rats will avoid them. Don’t forget that once you’ve trapped a rat you need to dispose of it.
Get Help from Professionals
Ultimately, the most sure fire way to get rid of rats is to contact your local pest control professional. Cypress Creek technicians have the experience and knowledge to remove existing pests from your home safely while creating a plan to prevent further infestations in the future.