Rats! How to Prevent the Pesky Pests

Keeping rats out of your home is important not only to prevent damage to your investment, but to also protect you and your family’s health. Rodents can carry a number of deadly diseases, including Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis and Typhus. The droppings, fur and dander of rats can also cause allergic reactions in many people.

If you’ve seen a rat near or in your home, chances are it’s not the only one. Rats reproduce quickly. Rats tend to live in colonies with a leader, a sort of rat king. Rats will send out a scout to check out a potential food source which makes them harder to catch. Kenney Hermenegildo General Manager of Pest Pros in Pocasset explained, “With mice you can set a few traps and catch them. People think they can do the same with rats but it won’t work. If one rat tries out a food source or a location and it doesn’t end well all the other rats will stay away. They are very smart.”

Rats have neophobia. It’s an extreme phobia of anything new or unfamiliar. They will test out anything new or different to ensure it’s not harmful. They also leave a scent wherever they go. So other rats will follow the trail that they know have been used by other rats.

The best way to ensure that a rat colony doesn’t call your house home is prevention. Pest Pros suggests these simple steps to make your property unattractive to rats.

Eliminate any Food Sources

Having a bird feeder, a chicken coop, or any type of food that left out for other animals can invite unwanted visitors. “We always see rat problems when people have chickens at their home. They will be excess food that chickens don’t eat. Once the rats know there’s a ready source of continuous food the word will spread and they’ll stay nearby,” said Hermenegildo. 

Secure Your Trash

Just like food being left out for birds and chickens, rats find trash very attractive. “It’s important to keep trash in a bin with a lid and if possible not leave it outside,” stressed Hermenegildo

Clean Up

Pick up any garbage or food left overs especially after picnics or outdoor events. “Many times you hear about rat problems in inner cities. That’s down mainly to litter near restaurants. Anywhere where food is plentiful, rats will gather.”

How do I know if I have a rat problem?

Signs of a rat infestation include: rodent droppings, animal gnawings, foul orders, spotting a rat itself, or their nest, or seeing any signs of burrowing in your yard.

How do I get rid of rats?

According to Hermenegildo, rats are one of the trickiest pests to get rid of. Thanks to that neophobia mentioned earlier, rats won’t jump straight into a new food source. “You have to bait several traps in several areas but not set the traps. Get them used to a good food source. “We go out and investigate their travel patterns within your property and set up food in various places. Then we return and see where and what they are responding to before we are able to catch them,” said Hermenegildo. This multi layered approach can only be handled by a professional which is why prevention is the best method.

If you do find yourself with a rat problem, it’s best to get it taken care of immediately. Rats reproduce at an astonishing rate and before you know it your property could be overrun. Pest Pros in Pocasset have been in business since 1999 serving Cape Cod and the South Shore. They are experts when it comes to handling pests such as rats. Contact Pest Pros for a free inspection today.

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About Rebecca Romo

Rebecca Romo hosts Feel Good Mornings weekday mornings from 6-10 am on 99.9 The Q. Originally from New Orleans, she moved to Cape to be with her husband a second generation Cape Codder.

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