The bigger, fuzzier and more dangerous version of the cockroaches, rats, constitute a threat to any household they invade. Not only is their bite harmful for humans and pets, but they also constitute an ideal host for lice, fleas, ticks and of course, mites. At the same time, rats are perfect carriers for viruses such as E.coli, Salmonella, Tuberculosis and many more.
On a side note, there are several theories which suggest that the flees that of the rats were the principal factor to promote the black plague – the disease that almost wiped out the human population in Europe – back in the 13th century. Therefore, it is easy to understand why keeping rats away from your home, your family and your pets is extremely important.
Do I have rats in my home?
There are several indicators for a rat infestation, but a thorough inspection performed by a professional pest control company is the only way to be certain. First of all, you will need to pay attention to random scratching sounds that are coming from underneath the floorboards, the inside of the walls or in the proximity of the patio deck. Don't forget to search the areas for rat droppings (1-2 cm, dark colored and tapered).
In addition, an unusually strong ammonia odor is fairly common in the enclosed spaces where rats are hiding. Gnawed cables, walls, furniture and even certain metal objects can also be evidence that your home is infested with a rat colony. In the yard, you should be on the lookout for burrows, mostly underneath compost heaps/decks.
What is the next step?
First of all, you need to determine whether the rats are only present in the garden or if they have gained access to the house as well. If only the yard is infested with these pests, then you will have to do your best to determine the colony to leave. This implies storing the trash in closed containers, getting rid of non-foolproof bird feeders, blocking the doggy-door and eliminating the broken sewage pipes.
Furthermore, you should acquire an ultrasonic repellant system which generates sounds that are extremely painful for the rodents and install it in your home. In essence, you need to make the surrounding environment as uncomfortable/inconvenient as possible and the colony will be forced to relocate.
What if the rats are already inside?
In this case, you've got a pretty big problem on your hands. You might try to deal with the rats yourself utilizing traps and other amateur DIY solutions when their numbers are low. However, rats multiply, well, like rats. If you fail to eliminate the first couple of them, their numbers can grow exponentially.
You also need to remember that you're dealing with rats, not mice. Rats are larger and present far more risks than the infections they carry, especially for children, pets and the elderly. In addition to that, there have been numerous recorded cases of rats chewing through electric wiring and causing fires. Therefore, contact a pest control company right away and you can be certain that the problem will not escalate.