Rats are clever and resourceful animals. They have lived for centuries in human settlements or inside structures made by humans. If it was easy to keep rats away, we wouldn't have any rat problems. Unfortunately, they're not easy to keep away. The reason we still have rat problems is that most people don't know all that much about rats. As common as rats are, they're still somewhat mysterious. Why are they so mysterious? Rat are mostly active at night. If you're up during the day and asleep at night, you're not awake when rats are awake. But, even if you're up at night, you still may not see rats. These critters spend most of their time in hiding places such as crawl spaces, attics, storage rooms, sheds, landscaping, structural voids, and voids underneath structures. If you currently have rats on your property, you may not know it. Let's look at how to detect rats, the dangers of having rats on your San Diego property, and what works best to get rid of rats. We'll also look at how professional rodent pest control in San Diego can help you keep rats away.
How To Identify A Rat Infestation
When you see a fat, brown rat waddling across your yard, you know you have trouble. But rat infestations are rarely obvious until long after rats have damaged your property and/or caused sickness. It is best to catch signs of rats early. Here are our best recommendations.
Droppings: There are many pests that leave droppings for you to find. How do you tell rat droppings from the droppings left by other pests? In most cases, the size of the droppings is all the evidence you need. Rat droppings are about a half an inch long, which is larger than almost all other pests. You could have problems telling squirrel droppings from rat droppings because they're about the same size, but it is actually easy to distinguish them from each other. Rat droppings are pinched on both sides. Squirrel droppings are rounded on both sides. That is probably more than you want to know about animal feces! But wait, there's more. Rat droppings are dark brown or black. Fresh droppings will be moist, old droppings will break apart like powder. Use gloves and a mask when examining the droppings you find because rodent waste can have disease-causing organisms.
Holes: Rats create holes in many places. These holes can help you diagnose your pest problem and determine that rats are the culprits.
- Look for holes dug in your yard. Brown rats dig burrows in the ground and have a preference for creating their burrows underneath piles of junk or organic debris.
- Look for holes in exterior building materials. Rats are big rodents. They need a hole the size of a quarter. Mice are small rodents. They use holes that are only about the size of a dime.
- Look for holes in food packaging. Rats eat hearty food, such as meats, cheese, dry dog food, etc. While it isn't conclusive evidence that rats are to blame (because rats and mice both create holes in food packaging), holes in packages containing hearty foods will help you piece together the puzzle.
- Look for holes in baseboards, sheetrock, and other interior building materials. Once again, you're looking for holes that are larger than a quarter.
- Look for holes in soffits and around your chimney, pipes, and other roof penetrations. Black rats make these holes. Squirrels can make these holes too, so this won't be conclusive evidence.
When you look for holes in your home, look in low, protected locations and in secluded spaces. Rats are sneaky. Most of their holes are not out in the open.
Grease Marks: The fur of a rat is often greasy. As rats run along baseboards and climb in and out of holes, they leave dark stains. The more rats you have, the darker the stains will be. Mice leave stains too but they're closer to the floor or ground. You'll have to use your best judgment to determine which of these two pests are exploring your property.
Noises: Rats can make noises in your home. While this is not always the case, it is helpful when they do. You can use these noises to figure out whether or not you have a rat infestation.
- Nocturnal noises are made by nocturnal animals, like rats and mice. Squirrels are diurnal. They make noises during the day. It is rare to hear squirrels at night.
- Rats are larger than mice, so they are a little louder. If you hear loud bumps and thumps in your attic, you probably have black rats. If you hear loud noises inside your walls, that is another sign that you have rats.
When you find evidence of rat activity around or inside your home, what do you do? What is the best way to deal with rats in San Diego?
The Damage And Dangers Rats Can Create
Your response to rats should match the level of danger rats pose to your health and property. While we can't tell you exactly how much of a threat the rats on your property will be, we can tell you that rats are not good to have around.
- One rat can have hundreds of seed ticks on its body. When it gets inside, it can spread ticks to every floor of your home. Certain tick species transmit harmful diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and meat allergy. While not all ticks are infected, it is best to keep them out of your home.
- One rat can chew on a wire in your home and cause a fire. If a fire breaks out in your walls, it presents a threat to everyone living in your home and can lead to a catastrophic loss of property.
- You're not likely to have one rat. It is more likely that you'll have a group of rats or several groups of rats. The more rats you have, the greater the risks.
- Rats can contaminate the things they touch because city rats pick up harmful organisms in sewers, trash bins, compost heaps, drain pipes, and other dirty places.
When you find evidence of rat activity, it is time to take action. But what action should you take? Should you try to control rats yourself? We don't recommend this. Do-it-yourself rat control usually falls short. Once again, it has to do with a lack of knowledge. Rat control tips on the internet are often offered by individuals with no rodent control training, and they are based on circumstantial evidence. Let's look at why this is bad.
Why DIY Rat Control Often Fails
When you catch a rat and you no longer find rats in your traps, you might think you've won. If you apply a product to drive rats away from your home and you stop seeing rodent droppings, it is easy to conclude that you were successful. Both of these are examples of circumstantial evidence. Do you know that you can still have a large rat infestation and not catch a single rat? Do you know that rats can learn to avoid things that smell bad to them? These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistaking the results of DIY rat control. Rodent control is complicated and often requires a multi-pronged strategy. You can't just lay traps down and catch rats until they're gone.
Call The Professionals At The First Sign Of Rats
When you detect rats, contact a licensed pest control provider. A pest control professional doesn't simply lay traps down to catch rats. They use field-tested strategies. At Habitat Protection, we go above and beyond what many other service providers offer.
- We perform detailed inspections and look for activity, pest routes, conducive conditions, entry points, and other essential factors.
- We provide sanitation services. Sanitation treats the source of your problem. In many cases, poor sanitation in hidden locations is the reason why rats move in.
- We seal entry points. While rats can chew holes to get into your home, they're more likely to make small holes larger. Exclusion work removes the small holes and provides long-lasting protection.
- We use tamper-resistant bait stations to collect and remove rats. These stations also help monitor rodent activity.
- We may apply ContraPest, a fertility-control product.
- We may remove contaminated insulation and perform clean up in attic spaces.
When you want a comprehensive solution to rat problems in San Diego, Habitat Protection is the right choice. We know the trick to keeping rats out of your home for good. Connect with us today and speak with one of our agents about your rodent problem. We can help you figure out the services you may need for your property. We'll also schedule a certified technician to visit your property and evaluate your rodent control issue. You don't have to live with rats. We have the answers to rat problems.
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