There is nothing more disturbing than your home being infested with rats. In addition to hearing scurrying and squeaking sounds late at night in your attic, they carry contagious diseases, contaminate your food, and destroy home furnishings..
Maybe you’ve been hearing strange noises in your attic, walls, or ceiling. Or you’ve discovered feces or chew marks in boxes stored in the attic. It’s likely that you have an unwanted rodent living there for free!
Unfortunately, if you have one rat, you probably have more. That’s why you should act fast before the problem gets out of hand.
Rats in attic spaces are a common problem for many homeowners. Should you tackle this issue yourself or call in the expert? In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get rid of rats in the attic and make your home rodent-free.
How Do You Know if You Have Rats in Your Attic?
It can be quite difficult to know for sure whether you have rats or not, especially if determining rats in attic spaces as they are awkward to navigate.
Additionally, rats are nocturnal and shy, so the chances of seeing a live rat running around in your attic is pretty slim.
However, there are signs that point to a rat infestation in your attic. If you notice any of the signs below, don’t freak out, take a deep breath and contact a trusted pest control service:
- Urine odor: Rats urinate frequently and if you have a few of them, you’ll likely perceive an pungent and unpleasant smell. The stronger the smell, the closer you are to the location of the rat infestation.
- Droppings: This is the most evident sign that you have a rat problem. Droppings are usually 12mm long, dark, and pellet-shaped. If you notice a rat dropping in your home, call your local rat exterminator immediately.
- Noises: Unexplained scratching sounds or rustling coming from the attic, ceiling, and walls, could be a sign of a rodent infestation.
- Teeth and chew marks: Rats are prolific chewers. Check for teeth marks in your furniture, cardboard, paper, and other wooded areas in your attic.
- Rub marks: A rat’s tiny feet will leave oily marks around wooden areas and leave tracks as they run around in the attic searching for shelter and food.
- Rat nests: Rats in attic spaces love to build nests out of long forgotten papers, fabric, and just about anything else.. They’ll shred documents, clothes, and boxes to build nests to live in. You’ll find nests in dark areas near areas that remain untouched like walls and crawl spaces.
- Unusual pet behavior: If your pet suddenly behaves differently, barks, meows, or paws at a particular area, then something may be living there. Pets usually become more active and alert once they sense rodents.
Nobody wants to live with rodents. If you even think you may have a rat or rodent problem, you’ll want to hire a professional right away. Rats do not just leave on their own accord, unless they no longer have access to food and water. As long as you’re living in the home, they will too.
This is especially true for rats in attic spaces, as they may go undisturbed for years since it’s not a high traffic area.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of rats in the attic first we need to learn more about these pesky creatures.
The most common rats found in the attic are Roof Rats!
If you’ve discovered rodents, Roof rats are most likely the cause of your home infestation. A female can have a litter of up to eight babies at once. Rats usually get an average of five litters per year, so imagine how fast they spread!
Roof rats are common in warm areas and generally prefer to live in the attic. They are agile and can climb as high as five feet. They can squeeze through holes the size of a quarter and they get into your attic through:
- Trees near the home
- Traveling along power lines
- Imperfections in your house foundation and surfaces.
Once they get into your home, they see your attic as a welcoming place and the perfect hiding spot, and they’ll do whatever they can to get into it.
Like other animals, rats have natural predators. Aside from looking for food, they enter into homes to find shelter and hide from predators like snakes, dogs, cats, owls, predatory birds, etc.
Let’s take a look at their size, appearance, diet, and nesting areas:
Roof rats, which are also known as palm rats, fruit rats, and ship rats are small in size with tails longer than their bodies. They can grow up to 32 cm in length, inclusive of their tail.
Roof rats are generally black in color. They have smaller, sleeker and smoother furs with large ears, little hair, and sharp faces.
Rat Nest Areas
Unlike other species that build their home underground, roof rats are good climbers and build their nest above ground level. When out in the open, you’ll likely find them in trees, shrubs, and dense vegetation areas. They nest in areas like attics, cabinets, pool areas, garages, and ceilings.
Rats are similar to squirrels in this aspect. They eat mainly nuts and fruits, rather than high-protein food. But if they’re extremely hungry, they’ll devour just about anything such as paper, candle wax, vegetables, pet food, plant seeds, insects, etc.
Wherever they choose to stay, one thing in common – they need enough water to survive there. They can even chew through plastic water pipes and irrigation lines to get access to water.
Roof rats stash their nuts and other food items in their nesting places for future purposes.
Damages Rats Can Do
Rat in attic spaces means danger!
Generally speaking, rats are aggressive. When they feel threatened, they can bite and chase you. A bite from a rat can expose you to illnesses and diseases, including rat-bite fever which is transmitted through their bite and scratch.
If you have a rash-bite fever, you’ll experience symptoms like vomiting, rash, headache, fever, and muscle pain.
Although rats have not been linked to Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, there is a high potential that these rodents carry this virus. Hantavirus spreads to humans when they inhale rat urine, feces, and droppings.
You can also become ill if rats contaminate the food in your fridge. When a rat leaves their droppings in leftovers and you accidentally eat it, you’ll likely get food poisoning,’
Aside from spreading illness to humans, rats also cause other significant problems in your home, yard, and attic. For such little creatures, they do cause quite a lot of damages around the house. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Rats can feed on newly planted crops, fruits, and vegetables in the garden even before harvest time.
Rodents have an insatiable appetite and they’ll feed on any pet food items that come across.
Rats urinate and drop their feces in pantries, cabinets, and cupboards.
They contaminate 10 times more than the food they consume. They’ll nibble and partially eat anything leaving the rest unfit for consumption for humans and pets.
They gnaw on plastic containers, wooden items, chew clothes, papers, books, toiletries, etc.
They cause structural damage to properties when trying to get in. If they can’t find a hole, trust these rodents to make one.
Rats in attic spaces are bad! They’ll destroy any valuables such as paintings, antique furniture, family photos, and important documents.
Rats even build their nest on electrical appliances, chewing the wires and insulation, which can cause the electrical appliance to short circuit, exposing you to fire hazards!
The more hidden and dark an area is, the more rats find it comfortable – like your attic area. If you’ve spotted signs of rats, you need to know how to get rid of rats in the attic and eliminate them before they take total control of that area.
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How do Rats get into Your Attic?
Since rats can cause damage into the thousands of dollars, it’s important to determine how they entered your attic space to begin with.
The best way to control a rat infestation is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Rodents can easily enter your home through a small opening. And once they do, the first place they try to access is your attic.
The reason why attics are so convenient for them to build their home is that:
Rats prefer to be close to food sources. While you don’t store your food there, rats find furniture and old decorations quite tasty.
Rats have natural predators. They usually come into homes to find shelter and protect themselves from wild animals like snakes, birds, etc.
Because of the heat in the attic, rats find it a perfect breeding place.
Rodents are shy in nature and they prefer spaces that are enclosed. If you have boxes and cabinets in your attic, they’ll chew their way into it to hide.
Even an empty attic will work fine for them since humans and pets rarely climb up there.
Rats in attic spaces are also common because of the insulation. There are all kinds of fluffy materials rats can use to create safe pathways and escape routes in the attic.
Once you have confirmed that you have a rat problem, the first thing to do is to find and seal off their entry point. Here are common entry points for rats:
Check the exterior of your home and look out for any sign of cracks in your walls. If you notice any, you should fill the hole with waterproof sealant to block their entry point and prevent them from coming in again.
- Holes in your roof
Rats usually enter attic areas through holes or faults in the roof/ceiling. They can chew the plugs to create a hole the size of a quarter. If you suspect you have a roof rat in your attic, check for any signs of holes and block it.
Vents usually have openings and spaces, and rats can squeeze through it and make their way to the basement or attic. The best way to prevent this is to cover your vents with metal screens.
- Sneaking through the chimney
When the weather starts to get cold, rats tend to sneak inside homes through chimneys to search for food and shelter. It’s a great idea to have your chimney professionally cleaned and sealed to block any possible entry points.
These are just some of the common entry points for rodents, but you should check your home thoroughly or hire a professional to find weak areas rats might take advantage of.
Anothe thing, rats have strong teeth and can chew water pipes, bricks, woods, and plastics. So there a lot of ways a rat can find their way into your home.
Did you know that rats are excellent swimmers? Yeah, they are! They can find their way through toilets, sewage, and water pipes. Be sure to install screens on your drainage to prevent them from entering through it.
If you have a garage, you should check for possible entry points around that area and block them to make it difficult for them to enter. Because once they find their way into your home, your attic isn’t safe anymore!
How to Get Rid of Rats in the Attic
If you hear or notice signs of rat infestation – or maybe you want to prevent future rat problems – what measures can you take?
If you’re wondering how to get rid of rats in the attic, there are many things you can do to make it less hospitable for them. It’ll be worth the effort and time to keep your family safe from these little creatures.
Here are a few measures you can adopt to get rid of rats in attic spaces and prevent them from coming in again:
Store Food in Tight Lids and Seal Your Garbage Can
If rats in the attic find a way to access your food, they’ll do everything they can to stay there for a long time.
There is nothing more frustrating than opening your cabinet to find out that rats have nibbled on your groceries. If you notice signs of rat infestation, you should get tight containers with strong lids to store your food – both human and pet foods.
Whether you keep your food in the kitchen, or pantry make sure they’re safe and impenetrable. The best way to do this is to make use of rodent-proof containers.
Once your food items are safe, the next thing to tackle is your garbage. Rats rummage through trash cans to find leftovers to feast on. Seal your garbage cans and keep them outside your home.
When the rats find nothing to eat, they’ll get tired and move to another home in search of food. Mission achieved!
Clear Out All Nesting Materials
Rats use pieces of clothes, old papers, cardboard boxes to build nests for themselves. If you want to get rid of rats from your attic, then clear out any unwanted debris and nesting materials from there.
If you’re storing newspapers, consider keeping them in a plastic container with secure lids. Remove all piles of leaves and dispose of them. This way, they wouldn’t find any materials to make their home.
Rats also see firewoods as a safe place. The shelter it provides including the insects that they find in piles of wood makes an ideal living environment for these rodents.
To keep rats away from your home, clear out any wood that serves as an entry point for these rodents.
Make use of Traps
Thinking of how to get rid of rats in the attic? Another great method is to make use of traps. There are several of them sold online, including:
- Live traps –This trap makes it easy to capture and get rid of rats without harming them. They have a special mechanism that immediately closes the trap once a rat is captured.
- Glue traps – These are traps coated with steaky adhesives. While these traps are common, most times, they can be ineffective. Large rats can pull themselves free and the smaller ones will suffer from exhaustion.
- Snap traps – These old-fashioned traps uses spring bar to kill rodents instantly. Once the rat comes close to the bait, the spring immediately comes down in a split second.
Whichever trap you use, keep in mind that they are only as effective as the bait. Rats enjoy peanut butter, nuts, sugar, and protein foods. Try keeping them close to the wall of the attic to make the trap undectectable.
However, we recommend calling a pest control professional like SafePro to handle traps. Our experts use a variety of methods to get rid of rodents that are safe and human for humans and rodents alike.
Trim Tall Trees
One common way rodents get into your attic is by climbing tress to jump on your roof. Then they’ll find (or dig) a hole in your roof to get into your attic.
If you have trees around your home, it’s important that you trim and maintain them regularly. Tall trees look beautiful, but a rat infestataion isn’t.
Keeping branches trim and pruning trees and hedges will make it harder for a rat to gain access into your home.
One impeccable charactics of rats, especially roof rats, is that they can maintain balance. They’ll hold on to a branch or nearby cable to build their nest above ground. But if there are no branches, they can’t climb.
Conclusion: Ask Help From A Professional Rat Exterminator to Properly Inspect your Attic
There is only so much you can do by yourself. Rats are difficult to get rid of. And if you don’t eliminate 100% of them, they’ll continue to multiply. Just two rats will increase to twenty in a short span of time.
If you have the telltale signs of rats, then it’s time to call in SAFEPRO Pest Control experts.
Our experts have handled rat infestations all over Texas area and we can help you look in and around your home to find their entry points and seal them. We’ll also provide you specific advise to prevent them from entering again. We make use of non-toxic and environmental friendly measures to protect you, your family, and your pets.
Rats cause headaches and sleepless nights for many homeowners. We’re here to help you get rid of them forever!
Give us a call at (214-773-9548) or visit our website SafePro Pest to find out how we can help you today!