No one wants pests of any kind in their home, but rats are probably the worst. If you have rats in your home, you want them out NOW. Many people don’t know that houses and other buildings around the water are actually more prone to rats, despite often times being “nicer” homes. In fact, heavy rainstorms and flooding is actually why rats invade homes in the first place, looking for food and shelter. Once inside, they will gnaw through many types of materials in order to find refuge including lead sheathing, cinder blocks, aluminum siding and even concrete. While this is perhaps costly, it does not affect your health. However, they can also spoil food by contamination with their feces, urine, or fur. They can also introduce disease-carrying parasites such as fleas and ticks into your home. Clearly, these are not something you want inside your home for long.
Step 1: Exclusion
Killing your current rats, only to have new ones come in will be an never-ending cycle. Stop any more rats from entering. To stop them from wiggling in, all openings greater that 1/2" should be sealed.
Step 2: Wait
You want to set traps, but this can’t be done the first day you see a rat, unfortunately. Rats are wary of new objects, new foods or changed in environment. They are constantly exploring surroundings and notice changes and are suspicious by nature. This is why traps and bait stations may be avoided for a day or two.
Step 3: Set Traps
The most effective methods to get rid of rats is trapping them and/or placing rodent baits. If the rat population is small enough, set a few traps can yield quick results when done properly. It also saves you the health hazards of using any poison in your house. However, “rodenticides” are very effective poison baits that can be used in areas where domestic animals and children can't access them. These rat baits come in pellets, meal, and block forms.
There are many reasons why a homeowner can’t or simply doesn’t want to handle the rat infestation on their own. If you don’t want to handle poison and potentially-messy traps on your own, but want the rats gone- contact a pest control expert right away. The longer your rats stay, the more difficult it will be to completely remove the colony.