What Causes a Rat Infested House

There are few things less repulsive to homeowners than a rat infested house.

This is especially true in densely-populated cities like Denver, which was deemed one of the ten most rat-infested cities in American in 2018. Residents noticed a rat invasion spreading through City Center Park.

Some encountered what they described as giant rats.

In fact, despite its lower population and absence of many major cities, the state of Utah experienced an overpopulation of rats in 2020 due to a mild winter and extensive construction projects over the summer.

Rampant rodent infestation is many residents’ living nightmare. If you’re a homeowner, you need to understand what attracts rats and how to prevent rat infestation in the home.

How To Avoid a Rat Infested House

Let’s talk about what rats are looking for when shopping for a new home to invade.

Rats have the same wants and needs as any living creature. They’re looking for a source of food and water, shelter, and nesting materials.

Rats also appreciate access to house plants (especially fruit trees) and waste. Specifically pet waste. If you start to see your cat’s little gifts disappearing from the litter box, rats are the likely culprit.

In addition to the basics of food, water, and shelter, rats are attracted to certain specific qualities in a home.

Rats are voracious, omnivorous eaters. They appreciate access to a culinary smorgasbord and will go to great lengths to expand their dining experience beyond what’s left on the counter and fallen to the floor.

Rats are maximalist hoarders. They feel at home amidst an array of clutter. The more overflowing trash cans, piles of magazines, and crumbs on the carpet, the better.

Warmth is key for expectant mother rats, especially during frigid winters. Rats seek warm shelter where they can build sweet little nests for their precious newborns. Fireplaces and heaters are prime real estate.

If your home meets all of these needs (let’s face it, many of them do), it can be a challenge to dissuade rats from becoming your unwanted roommates.

Signs of Rat Infestation

How will you know if your home is harboring a rat infestation? Fortunately, rats are not the most discrete house guests. There are many ways you can identify signs of a rat infestation.

  • Evidence of gnawing on household materials like wood and plastic
  • Damaged materials
  • Holes in floorboards and walls
  • Excrement droppings
  • Disappearing pet food
  • Chewed and hoarded nesting materials like paper, string, and fabric

Of course, rats are not the only rodents looking to commandeer a human residence. Check out this detailed pest library to learn about the different rodents that might be scoping out your neighborhood.

Rat Infestation Solutions

The prospect of removing all features of your home that are attractive to rats is pretty improbable. After all, rats are attracted to the same things humans are attracted to in a home.

What you can do is put some preventative measures in place.

Seal All Entry Points to Your Home

Rats are famously skilled contortionists. They can squeeze their seemingly bone-less bodies through spaces as small as the circumference of a quarter.

For this reason, it is imperative that you seal up any entry points to your home where a rat could sneak in. Check your home for holes and gaps on a regular basis.

If you find a spot where a rat might get in, make sure you patch it with materials that will be difficult for a rat to chew through. Materials like wire wool make reopening the hole a challenge for rats.

Store Food in Air-Tight Containers

A rat infestation can be a great way to motivate your teenager to stop leaving food out on the counter and dirty dishes in the sink. It’s time to get serious about proper food storage.

Putting food away in the pantry isn’t going to cut it. If you have rats around, you’ll need to start storing food in thick, air-tight containers.

Anything that comes in a cardboard box (cereal, pasta, crackers) or a bag (chips, nuts, dried fruit) is easily accessible to rats. They’ll chew right through the packaging.

Get In the Practice of Baiting and Trapping

Trapping can be very effective if you notice signs of rats sniffing around your abode. There are several different types of rat traps (live traps, snap traps, glue traps, poison traps) available for purchase online and in-stores.

Keep in mind that a single rat can birth up to 22 babies in a single litter. Their gestational period is less than 30 days. That means one rat has the potential to mother 2,000 babies a year.

If you’re not looking to open a rodent birthing center, you may want to look into consulting a professional exterminator if baiting and trapping don’t produce results within the first couple of weeks.

Properly Seal Your Garbage Cans

Rats are attracted to the smell of food and waste. Does your garbage receptacle gap at the top? Are you in the habit of leaving a trash bag outside the back door before taking it to the dumpster?

Make sure your garbage cans have tight sealing lids. Stop overfilling your trash can and make sure when you take out the trash, it goes inside of a dumpster or municipal bin with a lid that closes tight.

Clean Up After Your Pet

Rats love to decorate their homes with your pets’ waste and not just because of their eccentric aesthetic. Pet waste actually masks the scent of rats and makes it easier for them to go undetected.

If you have a dog, make sure you clean up after them in the yard. If you have a cat, clean their litter box daily.

Assess Leaky Pipes and Water Sources

Leaky pipes and other water sources entice rats. Make sure to tighten any leaking pipes. Then scan your home for other access to water.

Rats are attracted to reliable water sources. A pet’s water dish or a birdbath is a rat’s oasis. Keep them hydrated, and they’ll never want the vacation to end.

When Rats Won’t Take the Hint, Threaten Eviction

No one wants to live in a rat infested house. On top of the ick-factor, rats carry contagious diseases and parasites that endanger you and your family.

You’ve tried eliminating the elements of your home rats are attracted to (food, waste, water, and nesting materials), but the little buggers just won’t take the hint and get out.

It’s time to evict your unwanted house guests.

For quality pest removal in Colorado and Utah, contact Elevate Pest Control or call 435-753-3825 for a free extermination quote.

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