Rats in or around your property can be extremely disturbing and potentially hazardous to health. Unfortunately, it is also a common problem within the United States with two breeds of rat in particular being especially prevalent. These are the Norway rat, and the Roof rat. Either of these breeds may carry any number of diseases that are harmful to adults and children alike, they may bite, and they may chew through electrical cables causing house fires. Although rat-poison is a relatively effective way of getting rid of rats, many people choose not to use it. This is usually because rat-poison can cause illness and potentially death in any children or animals that may consume it. Fortunately there are many other ways of eliminating rats from your property.
1. Get A Cat
Cats are extremely good at hunting and killing rats. They hunt all kinds of small furry animals naturally and will enjoy helping out with your rat problems! If you are not a cat person then…
2. Get A Dog
Many breeds of dogs will enjoy hunting and killing rats but, due to their breeding, terriers are particularly effective at it. And, most people seem to agree that the best terrier for catching and killing rats is….(drum-roll please)…the Jack Russell Terrier. These are small dogs, originating from England, that make good family pets but that take a good amount of training to become obedient.
3. Set Humane Rat Traps
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of actually killing rats, then a humane rat trap may be the solution for you. These can be found at most hardware or grain stores and enable you to catch rats without killing them. Simply bait with cheese or peanut butter and leave them lying around your property in places you suspect rats are frequenting. There are, however, two main downsides to these traps. The first downside is that once you have caught a rat, you must ensure that you set it free several miles from your property so that it does not return. The second downside to these traps is that you should really check them hourly so that the rat can be released quickly. This is because if they are left in the trap for any longer than this then they are at risk of death from dehydration, starvation or stress. This constant checking and releasing may prove too time-consuming for many people.
4. Set Traditional Rat Traps
A traditional rat trap, often called a snap-trap, is a very effective way to catch and kill rats. In fact, it is so effective that its basic design hasn’t changed for over one hundred years. In addition, the death for the rat is usually instant and reasonably painless. As with a humane mouse trap, bait with cheese or peanut butter and place in areas where you think rats may be. Make sure the bait covers the entirety of the trigger so that the rat cannot steal the bait without activating the trap.
5. Set Glue Traps
Glue traps rarely prove more effective than snap traps and have the disadvantage of being rather inhumane as the rat dies a slow and painful death. Moreover, once the rat has been trapped by the glue you are left with the problem of what to do next. Kill it yourself? Try and extricate it from the glue?
If, however, you are set on using glue traps then place them to the edge of any rooms in your house, near the walls, as this is where rats tend to scurry.
6. Keep Your Property Clean
If you make sure to clean up any and all food spills, you will have gone a long way to making your property unattractive to rats. Generally speaking, rats will not choose to live in any area where there are not attractive food and water sources.
7. Seal Off Entry Points
Rats are extremely adept at entering houses through the smallest of holes or cracks. Ensure that all potential entry points are sealed. Pay particular attention to you basement and attic where gaps may have opened without your knowledge.
8. Feed Pets Inside
This may seem counter-intuitive but is actually a good preventive method. Feeding your pets inside will enable you to see and clear up any spilled food quickly and efficiently. Food left outside for pets, however, may be left on the ground unnoticed for days, or until a rat finds it! If you have no alternative to feeding your pets outside, then clean up as best as you can and do not leave food bowls outside. Rather, bring the bowls in for prompt cleaning.
9. Place Bird Feeders A Long Way From The House
Spilled and even non-spilled food from bird feeders can attract rats. It’s basically an easily-accessible source of never-ending food. Either position any bird feeders well away from the house or, preferably, eliminate them completely.
10. Cut The Grass!
Keep a clean area of a meter or so from the edge of your house: no long grass and no bushes. This will prevent rats from burrowing into your house undetected and will also ensure that they do not make nests near to your house.
11. Keep Chopped Wood Away From Your Property
In particular, do not keep wood stacked against the wall of your house. Wood stacked against the house not only provides a suitable environment for rats to nest in and to breed but also allows rats to burrow into your house undetected.
12. Become A Sharp Shooter
This is not a particularly effective way to control rats unless you are a very good shot and have a lot of time on your hands. However, a high-powered air gun will prove powerful enough to kill most rats. Be aware though, that anything less than a kill-shot will result in a painful death. In addition, any rat death or wounding may be extremely messy. And, of course, there is always the possibility of an accidental discharge that may result in extreme injury or death to you, your family or your friends.
13. Encourage Barn Owls To Nest Near Your Property
If you are fortunate to live in the country then this is an excellent way to control your rat population. Barn owls relentlessly hunt and consume rats and other small rodents and make the environment extremely unsuitable for rats to nest in. If you are doubly fortunate enough to also own a barn, then erect nesting platforms within the barn. These are simply horizontal planks of wood high from the ground where barn owls can nest. Alternatively, build a wooden structure that approximates a small dog kennel some 20 feet or so up a tree and nail a plank of wood in front of this kennel for the owl to perch on. If you are lucky enough to persuade a barn owl to nest near you, then he will eliminate rats at an astonishing rate.
14. Keep Waste Bins Away From The House
Refuse can prove irresistible to rats and ensuring that any outside bins are placed well away from the house will minimize the possibility of a rat infestation. In addition, empty bins within your house on a regular basis ensuring that no waste food stands within your property for more than a couple of hours.
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