You hear the scratching and scurrying at night. The munching, clawing, and quiet chirping keeps you awake. You’ve got rats in the attic. From one home-owner to another, here are the best tips on ridding your attic of rats.
What Do Rats in the Attic Sound Like
Hearing weird noises in the attic? You may notice some shuffling or scurrying sounds as rats move around your home and attic. Gnawing and chewing coming from the loft are common signs that rats have occupied your house.
Rats and mice are nocturnal creatures, which means you’re not likely to encounter them during the day. They often make their way into your attic to spend the night, and most of them chew through the drywall to get there.
Signs of Rats in the Loft
- Rat droppings –When inspecting your loft or attic, look for brown droppings in corners and along walls. Rats like to nest anywhere dark and cool, so look for brown faeces shaped like grains of rice.
- Noises in the loft – Rats are typically more active at night than during the day, especially during cold weather. You may hear them scurrying around the attic or in the ceilings late at night.
- Gnawing – Rats are known to gnaw on wood, plastic, and metal, so make sure you check for gnaw marks on skirting boards and door frames, especially in attics. They can also chew through wires, so check throughout your home for any holes.
- Smudge marks –Rats are notoriously unhygienic creatures that carry dirt on their fur as they travel through fields, sewers, and pipelines. It’s easy to see the marks of dirt and rodent droppings on wall panels, skirting boards, carpets, windowsills, and floors.
- Rat nests – Rats build nests in more hidden places, such as attics, crawl spaces, or under sheds. They can also be found in the walls of basements and drains. Look for food remains and rodent droppings.
- Rat footprints – Check attics, lofts and high-up areas where dust collects and footprints are easily visible
How to Prevent Rats from Getting in the Attic
In times of rat invasions, you have to determine why, and how rats get into your attic in the first place, and you’ll always be one step ahead of a disaster.
- Care for your garden. The tidier your garden, the less inviting it is to our rodent challengers!
- Prune your high plants and regularly clean debris out of the yard. This will limit the food source for the rats. Also, it sends a strong message – this is a home well taken care of.
- Keep your rubbish stored away from an entrance to your home. If rats find your rubbish attractive, they will just assume it gets even better inside the house. The solution – always keep it with the lid shut, no exceptions! A dab of ammonia in the bag right before it’s sealed off can be quite helpful as well.
- Seal holes. Make sure your attic is sealed tight – this is something you could get pest professionals to do for you, or do by yourself. Buy the insulation foam and locate the cracks. Rats squeeze through even half-inch-long cracks and use every opportunity to do a thorough check.
Read more: Rat Prevention
DIY Rat Control
The DIY method is quite popular in cases of rat infestations and it works quite well with those of small proportions. If you are willing to play the how to catch a rat game, you’re going to need a plan. Here are your options:
- PROs: They are a humane method of catching rats and there are no smelly corpses to dispose of afterwards.
- CONs: They require surveillance and regular check-ups. What’s more, they require a detailed plan as to how and where you’ll set the rats lose.
A great example of a no-kill trap is the bucket trap, not-so-flatteringly called ‘The Stairway to Heaven‘. It’s a 5-gallon bucket filled up to a third with water, a ledge for the rat to walk on and bait at the end of that ledge, right over the trap.
It takes about 15 minutes to make and you can treat yourself to the rest of the peanut butter left in the packaging! You could even end up catching more than one rat in a single night, depending on how smart your enemies are.
Another popular type of no-kill trap is a metal cage with an automated mechanism to shut after the rat enters. It’s equally effective, but it takes the fun out of the DIY!
- PROs: It diminishes the rat population faster and takes less of your time.
- CONs: You need to remove dead rats regularly because the rodents will eventually stop going for the bait if they see more than a few of their friends dead around it. Lethal rat traps are to be bought and not hand-made, usually, because they need to have strong structural integrity, as rats are stronger than mice.
When wondering where to place the rat trap in the attic, look for evidence of a rat trail – trampled down insulation and rat droppings. Placing the rat trap correctly is crucial to the success of your DIY rat control!
- PROs: Requires less time and effort.
- CONs: Not suitable for homes with pets or children, as it kills indiscriminately. Not entirely effective, because some rats have become resistant to it and some just won’t eat the bait. The rats that do eat the poison and die, will die inside the house and you will have to search and collect their carcasses.
If, however, you decide you use the poison method to control your attic rat population – do so wisely and follow instructions. Place the poison in places on your attic only rodents have access to – between walls, crawl spaces, dark corners. Keep your pets and children away at all costs.
How to Get Rid of Rats in the Attic
With a professional rat control team, you actually get all of the described above – combined. Expert rat control comes with the offer to:
- Equip your property to resist rodents: seal cracks, give you a guide on proper yard care and rubbish collecting, locate entry points and nesting grounds
- Handle the rat population: set traps, baits and use pest control treatments if necessary
- Keep a follow-up on the case and make sure the solution is permanent, and not temporary.
The method you choose should depend on the level of infestation in your attic and your particular situation. Whether it’s DIY or with the help of experts, you first need to know all the basics about attic rat control and all the options ahead of you – and we hope we have been of help!
Image source: Heiko Kiera/shutterstock.com