During the colder months, rats are looking indoors for shelter, providing them with warmth and a food source. Once inside, they can not only cause considerable damage to homes by gnawing electrical wires, but they can also pose health risks as they are known to carry bacteria, such as salmonella. To help avoid these pests, every homeowner should utilize preventative measures throughout their house for rodent control.
Keeping the exterior of your home well-sealed is the first step to prevent rats from the inside. Check around the outside of your home for any gaps or holes that are leading inside. Make sure to seal around any openings in the walls, especially utility pipes and vents. Consider installing weather stripping for the gaps in doors and windows.
While outside, look throughout your yard for debris such as piles of leaves or excess woodpiles. Rats will often use these to hide or take cover. Consider keeping your woodpiles 20 feet from your home. Try to keep your shrubbery away from the sides of your home and mow the grass frequently.
Rats are always in search of a food source. Eliminating access to food from your property is another great way to keep them from infesting. If you leave your pet bowls outside, consider bringing them inside to avoid attracting them. Make sure to keep all food, including pet and bird food, in airtight containers. Likewise, make sure your trash cans are sealed tightly and take the garbage out frequently.
Suspecting that you have a rat inside your house is always alarming. It’s best to contact a pest control professional who can inspect your home, identify the type of rat, and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.
As the corona virus continues to spread, people around the world are drastically changing their daily routines. Tourism has come to a grinding halt. Restaurants are closed and people are staying home. What many don’t realize is this change in our daily lives is also affecting the ecosystem within cities. As there is less urban traffic, there is less food for pests and rodents – like rats. According to experts, if rats lose these established food sources (e.g. trash in cans in the park or dumpsters outside restaurants) then they will start fighting over any food that remains, even going so far as to kill each other in order to survive.
Because rats are having to get creative in finding new food sources, there is now a trending surge of rats invading homes and essential businesses in search of their next meal. Rats will follow the smell of food into homes, being as bold as necessary to find food in their effort to survive. Rats in homes pose serious risks – they will chew through wires and cables putting you at risk for fires and they carry diseases of their own which can easily be transmitted to you and your family. While there is no evidence that rats themselves can become infected with corona virus, there is some risk for spreading it to humans. Rats are known to crawl through sewer pipes containing human feces which has been shown to contain the virus. They then make their way into your home and contaminate any surfaces they touch with the virus-laden feces, potentially allowing humans who come in contact with these contaminated surfaces to contract the virus. The CDC reports that although this scenario is possible, the risk of transmission by feces is actually quite low.
To protect your family and/or essential business, the following rat prevention tips can help to prevent a rat infestation, limit the spread of disease, and keep your environment a safe-haven, during shelter-in-place orders and in the future:
- Use outdoor trashcans with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal any cracks under doors and other openings to the outside.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows.
- Seal around utility pipes with steel wool and either caulk or concrete.
- Repair any roof damage such as broken tiles or gaps under eaves.
- Keep limbs and branches trimmed back to they are not touching your home or business.
- Declutter any areas where rats may hide including garages, attics, gardens, storage sheds, warehouses, etc.
- Keep food stored in metal or glass containers with tight fitting lids.
- Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
- Sweep, mop, and vacuum often.
- Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight.
- Clean up spilled pet food and bird seed and store in containers with tight fitting lids.
- Keep toilet lids closed as rats have been known to swim up damaged pipes and into toilets.
- Use tightly fitted metal grates or screens to cover drains, especially in basements.
If you notice a rodent problem in your home or essential business, contact a professional pest control company. Rats can cause serious health risks to your family or employees, as well as the risk for fire and other structural damage to your home and property. A licensed wildlife exclusion company will inspect your home to identify your animal problem, determine where they are getting in, remove them, and prevent the animals from getting into your home in the future. They can also inform you of any existing damage or contamination and provide you with a recommendation for repairs or clean-up.
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