How To Get Rid Of Rats – Rat Control Guide

Getting rid of rats might seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be.

All you need is a good understanding of excellent rat control techniques!

Once you understand that, you can clear your home of rats and make sure they do not get back in.

I will run you through some techniques for rat removal in this post, so let’s get started!

How To Get Rid Of Rats pin

Signs of a Rat Infestation

Before you understand how to get rid of rats, it is important to understand the common signs of a rat infestation.

So let’s run through these now.

1. Droppings/Urine

If you see rat droppings or rat urine around your home, then it is one of the biggest signs that you have at least one rat that you need to deal with.

Not only is this a clear sign, but you will also need to clean them up immediately, as they can potentially spread diseases such as Hantavirus to those in your home.

By cleaning the droppings immediately, you can also begin to understand the rat population in your home.

2. Sounds – Scratching Scurrying Mostly

The first sign that most alerts most people to having a rat problem is rat-related noises.

These include scratching, scurrying, and gnawing and usually only happen during the hours of sundown.

If you can hear these noises (especially in your attic), it is a sure sign that you have rats.

3. Gnawed Items, New Holes

Rats have ever-growing teeth, which means they need to chew and gnaw on any item they can find!

They will also gnaw on your possessions to use for nesting materials.

If you have noticed a few chewed items or any new holes throughout your home, then it is a sure sign that you have rats.

4. Live Rats

In fact, this can be live rats or dead rats.

It seems a little obvious, but if you see a rat in your home, dead or alive, then you have a rat in your home!

5. Musky Odor

When you pay a visit to your attic and you notice a strong musky odor, it could be a sign that you have a few roof rats to deal with.

Whilst a musky odor is common for attics and other areas where there is little human activity, it is stronger when you have a rat problem.

rat crawling on furniture

How To Get Rid Of Rats

Follow these 5 tips to improve your chances of getting rats out of your home…

1. Set Some Traps

The best way to get rid of rats who have entered your home is by catching them.

To catch the rats, you will need to use rat traps or bait stations that keep the rats contained.

I have a preference for snap traps. Snap traps kill rats instantly, which is why they are so effective.

Bait your snap traps or bait station with meat or peanut butter for a high rate of capture.

If you are considering the use of poison, please keep the rats contained until the poison has had time to work on the rat. If a rat takes the poison and is remains free, it could die in your cavity walls, or worse, it could be eaten by a predator causing secondary poisoning.

Please, do not even consider using glue traps! They are inhumane and not very good for rat control. They take far too long to kill rats!

2. Seal Entry Points

To get rid of rats in your home is one thing; keeping them out is another! Sealing up any rat entry points is a vital part of this process because it stops them from coming back in.

Entry points include:

  • Holes in brickwork or your roof
  • Gaps where utilities enter your home
  • Cables holes
  • Gaps between your house and the roof
  • Window/Door gaps

You should perform regular checks around your property for any entry points and seal them up immediately.

3. Dispose of Rats that You Have Caught

If you have caught a rat, and it has died, then you will need to get rid of it as soon as possible. Not only does it stop other rats from getting caught in your trap, but it also begins to smell after a few days!

If you have caught a rat in a live-catch trap, you will need to release the rat more than 3 miles away from your home. Rats may find a way back to your home if you do not release them far enough away.

4. Clean Up

Rats can carry several severe diseases. These can be transmitted through rat droppings, urine, or even by any ticks/fleas they might be carrying.

It would be best if you cleaned up after a rat infestation for this reason.

You will also want to clean up after rats because it allows you to identify any potential infestations in the future.

Use bleach, vinegar, and anti-bacterial cleaners in every area where you can see rat activity.

5. Remove Things That Attract Rats

Bird feeders, pet food, fruit/nut trees, vegetables, and food that is not stored correctly will attract rats to the perimeter of your property.

Once they get to your property, they will look for a way in.

By removing these attractions, a rat infestation is much less likely, so:

  • Store food in metal containers outside
  • Remove bird feeders if you suffer from rat infestations
  • Remove or protect any fruit/but trees. Metal trunk covers will help to stop rats from getting hold of your fruits and nuts growing on the trees in your yard
black rat with long tail

Keeping Rats Out of Your Home

Once you have reduced the rat population in your house to zero, you should follow these 5 tips to keep them out…

1. Seal Entry Points

It goes without saying that if you do not have any rat entry points to your home, they will not be able to get in.

Check your home regularly for these entry points and seal them up.

2. Store Food Correctly Inside

Rats have an incredible sense of smell, so they will sense any food sources in your home and will try to gain access.

Store your food in round glass containers or strong metal containers.

3. Store Food Correctly Outside

You should store any food stored outside (pet food, for instance) in strong metal containers.

Having pet food outside will attract rats, and once they get near, they will look to gain entry.

4. Keep Your Yard Tidy

Rats like to move under cover of darkness and roughage. If your yard has many objects for a rat to hide under or travel under, you are offering a rat a route to get close to your home.

Keep your yard or garden clean and tidy, and trim any large bushes that offer rats a place to hide.

It would help if you also considered cutting down any trees that overhang your home. Rats are very efficient climbers and will gain access to your home by climbing a tree to access your roof area.

5. Use Natural Repellants

Many people have had success getting rid of rats by using natural methods, such as:

  • Vinegar
  • Peppermint

You can also consider using ultrasonic repellant options too. These have shown marginal success rates; however, I have heard success stories from many people, which speaks volumes.

rat eating cheese on the floor of a house

Scents to Deter Rats Once They Have Left Your Home

There are several scents that you can use to help deter rats from your home and possessions.

Vinegar and peppermint are common scents that have been used to keep rats away from your home. The strong smell of bleach has also been shown to work.

When using these scents, you must make sure that the odor is strong enough to deter the rats. If you use these in open areas, the scent will dissipate much quicker, rendering the deterrent less effective.

Wrapping up – make sure it is difficult for a rat to get back in!

Understanding how to get rid of rats is one thing, but understanding how to keep them away is by far the most important thing you can do.

Here is a recap of some simple rules:

  • Do not use rat poison unless you plan to contain the rat until it dies
  • Use a lump of meat or peanut butter to bait your rat traps or bait stations
  • Set up a snap trap in all locations where rat activity has been noted (unless you have children and/or pets, then use live catch traps)

Rat control and rat removal are challenging, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. If you feel as if you cannot control the rats in your home, it is time to call in a professional rat control company.

Good luck!