Introduced to the United States aboard ships in the 1700s, the brown rat goes by many names. Scientifically, it’s Rattus norvegicus, but you will hear it referred to as the common rat, sewer rat, Norway rat and a host of other aliases.
Call it what you will — it’s thriving in Boston. In fact, Boston has been named one of the 10 most rat-infested cities in the world by Animal Planet. If you haven’t had run-ins with these scurrying creatures yet, chances are you will.
So if you’re wondering how to get rid of rats in your home, look no further.
Know Your Enemy
Rats can live almost everywhere people can live, and have spread to every continent except Antarctica. They are also true omnivores, and will eat almost anything, though grains and cereals are their preferred food. In most cases, rats live in large groups, often underground in areas like basements, tunnels, and sewers.
They also commonly find their way into the lower floors of buildings, and will move to higher floors as populations rise. Rat populations, as it happens, rise very quickly. The average female rat can have four to seven litters a year, each containing up to 14 offspring.
An Ounce of Prevention
Prevention might not sound like much help if you already have a rat problem, but the steps used to keep rats out of a building are also useful first steps to getting rid of the rats you already have. After all, removing rats does little good if more rats can simply move in to take their place.
Follow these steps:
- Sanitation:Eliminate rats’ food sources by keeping all food locked away, and maintain a clean house (especially the kitchen). Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids inside your home and out, and keep outdoor areas and garages maintained as well.
- Inspection:Carefully check your entire house or apartment, looking for tell-tale signs of rat activity, such as droppings and damaged food. You will also need to identify rats’ entry points into your home, such as cracks and holes around windows, doors, vents and spots where pipes and wires enter your home.
- Exclusion:Find all openings that lead into your home, and seal them using metal mesh or sealing foam. Rats can squeeze through a 1/4-inch space, so you’ll have to be thorough.
How to Get Rid of Rats
- Trapping: Rat traps work best if you have a minor infestation, and they take time. Unlike mice, rats do not easily fall for baited traps.
It takes a while for rats to feel safe around foreign objects, so start by leaving unbaited, unset traps for a few weeks in areas where rats commonly travel — near den entrances and along walkways where you have seen droppings — to allow them to become accustomed to the traps. Then, replace the traps with baited, set traps to start catching your pests.
- Poisons: Rodenticides kill rats much more quickly, and are more effective against large-scale infestations. Some poisons work immediately, while others take a few days to take effect.
In any case, use extreme caution while handling rat poisons. Use tamper-resistant bait stations to prevent accidental poisoning, and do not use poison if you have pets or small children in your household.
For professional assistance and more information on how to get rid of rats in the Boston area, contact Bain Pest Control Service today. We’ve been providing expert pest control in New England since 1926.