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Stopping the Furry Invasion, Rat Trapping Tidbits

Updated on February 2, 2014
EEK! A Rat!
EEK! A Rat!

Rat Trapping Tips, You Mean I Gotta Kill Them?

When you start talking about rat trapping, people get that pinched look on their faces. Nobody wants to do it. It would have been more ideal to have sealed every crevice around the house, cleared away the underbrush, and done all that other stuff to deter rats. But the rats are here now so lets talk about the best techniques for getting rid of rats once and for all.

Before you get started, if you have rats in your attic or crawl space, you may want to think about whether using an Evictor Strobe Light to drive them out would be an option. This is a special strobe light that rodents cannot stand and man it works. Not the cheapest solution but it works for getting rid of rats. You drive them out of the attic and then seal all entry points into the home. No muss, no fuss, no baiting or killing, it's the most elegant solution for driving rats out of an attic or crawl space. If you see that this is not workable for you, then bring out the rat traps!

There are a variety of options for rat trapping. There are electronic rat zappers, the classic wooden snap traps with variations, and live traps. Electronic traps such as the Raticator Plus make a nasty job much more tolerable and you don't have to risk snapping your fingers to set them. (flip the switch). The other big benefit of the zappers is the ease of removing dead animals, just tilt over a bag and it slides out. The downside is they are more expensive than the wooden traps. This makes the wooden snap trap the most widely used trap for getting rid of rats. Every time I have had an animal control or pest control company trap at my house, that is what they use. There are also updated versions of the snap trap, made from plastic and metal such as the Tomcat, but they also are more expensive than the good old wooden snap trap. Finally, there is the live trap for the squeamish and those who can't kill anything. Be prepared to travel some distance with the live trapped rat or it will come right back. We won't even get into glue boards. My advice is never ever use them. They are inhumane (do you want to remove a screaming, dying rat stuck on a tray of glue?) and sometimes the rats drag them off and die where you can't find them. Bad, bad smells ensue. Let's just avoid them. On the same note don't even think about poison inside the home. Poisoned rats have a talent for dying in walls or inaccessible places. The smell in the home can get so bad, you will wish the rat was still alive and running around the house again.

For this guide, we will go over using the zapper or the snap trap effectively. You'll want to know what the best rat bait to use is first. If using a zapper, most people use dried pet food or nuts that can just be dropped inside the zapper. If using peanut butter, bacon or something messy, just put it in a plastic lid and slide to the back of the zapper. The same stuff can be used in snap traps such as hot dogs, bacon, cashews, pet food, etc. Personally I believe the winner for best rat bait is peanut butter. Every pest control company I've seen come to my house always used peanut butter. It sticks to the trigger of the trap and does not rot like meat products. It has a bit of scent and rats just love peanut butter. So the winner of best rat bait is (drum roll), peanut butter!


Drive those pesky rodents away!

Evictor Strobe Light 10K
Evictor Strobe Light 10K

Repels Squirrels, Rats, & Raccoons from Attics & Crawlspaces

 

Evictor Strobe Light Pesky Rodents Are Gone!

Scare the rats and have a laugh!

O.K. you don't really scare rats with the Evictor Strobe Light (it causes eye fatigue), but we like to think it does scare them. But this video above is a really funny presentation about using the Evictor strobe light. If you gotta do something unpleasant, you might as well have fun doing it. Enjoy!

Zap those darn Rats!

The first thing to be aware of is rats tend to use the same pathways or "runs" over and over. You can often see dark streaks on these runs, such as across boards in the attic where their run is. The discoloration is caused by oils on their fur rubbing off and can also be from rat urine. Yuck! When in an attic or crawl space, you can often see trails worn down in the insulation or even little tunnels they have made. We want to locate these places because this is where we are going to set our traps. Place the traps where the rats are, not just in the middle of a room. Be careful if setting traps outdoors or inside the house as they can easily injure a child or pet. Snap traps are powerful and could break a finger. Keep in mind that these traps can catch other critters you may not wish to catch such as squirrels, chipmunks, or other small animals. Keep that in mind and use caution. If in the home, you can make a cover from a box with a very small hole only a rodent can enter but not your pet and place the trap inside. If children are around, then it must be set in an area inaccessible to them. There are special rat trap covers you can buy to keep children and pets safe.

Now that we've located the runs it's time to trap. Set the traps perpendicular to the wall and have the trigger end of the trap towards the wall. If not near a wall, place near or on the rat runs where the rats are traveling or congregating. To kill as many rats as possible, put out a lot of traps at once and keep them baited but not set for several days or a week. Keep re baiting the traps but not setting them so the rodents will become accustomed to feeding at the traps. Rats can eventually become "trap shy" as they are very wary creatures so keeping the traps baited but not set helps to overcome their wariness. Set all the traps at once and hopefully you will kill the bulk of the little devils quickly before they become wary. A little trick I have seen an animal control company use was to cluster some traps with the baited end facing in towards a little pile of dog food. This is like a calling card to come over and check out your traps. It seemed to work well at the time, so you might experiment with that if having trouble enticing the rats to the traps.

Once you've caught your rats, make sure they are dead before attempting to remove them from the traps and always wear rubber gloves. Just pull back the snap enough to release the rodent while holding the trap over an open container or bag. Personally, I like to use a screwdriver to pry open the trap which keeps me from touching the dead rat or accidentally snapping it back on my finger. After you have the dead rat in the bag or container, you can place it in an outside trash can or bury it. You might want to reconsider putting it in your trash can if you do not have trash pickup soon, as a dead rat can start to smell really bad really fast. It is a powerful stench to say the least.

It is ok to reuse the trap once you've caught a rat though some people advise washing the trap after a kill. My observations are that this is not necessary and I've seen pest control companies reset and reuse the same traps with success. Just make sure you are wearing those rubber gloves when resetting a trap after a kill as rats ain't sanitary when they are alive and dead is worse. They can harbor diseases so just don't take a chance.

When you feel you have trapped most of the offending rats, make sure you seal every crack and crevice that they might have entered through. Continue rat trapping after you have sealed the home to ensure you are getting rid of rats remaining inside the house. Follow these guidelines and hopefully the job will be done quickly and efficiently. Rats are extremely destructive so it is always best to act rapidly when a rat problem is detected. Happy hunting!

Up close look at the Evictor Strobe Light and Replacement Bulb

They Really Aren't This Cute

Evictor Strobe Light

How To Get Rid Of Rats In Your Attic

So you just heard the bad news. Your ears alerted you to the pitter patter of little feat. No, I'm not talking about babies and children. I'm talkin' rats in your attic! Maybe you just found out they are up there. Maybe, like me, you have battled them unsuccessfully for years. Whatever the case may be, you just want them gone!

In my previous article, I covered all about trapping rats. This time I'm going to let you in on an amazing product that just might solve you're problems when nothing else can. I'm talking about how to get rid of rats in your attic without ever setting a trap.

Let me digress for a moment. Many years ago, not long after we first moved into our present home, we discovered there were rats in our attic. Yuck! So, we hired an exterminator who came out and trapped a bunch of rats and told me to plug up various little cracks and crevices. Well, "that wasn't so bad" we thought. We thought wrong. This was the beginning of and 18 year war on rats in our attic which the rats kept winning.

We had pest control companies, wildlife control companies and I personally sent many a rat to the happy hunting grounds myself. All to no avail. The wildlife company would come out, put out a zillion traps, catch a bunch of rats and seal every entry point they could find. (talk about some really ugly and bad looking seals using wire mesh and tar!) We would be rat free for a couple of months and it would start all over. You see, our house was cedar so it was easy for the rats to just chew a new entry hole back into the attack as soon as we sealed one up. It seemed hopeless.

I cleared underbrush around my house, ran trap lines and sealed holes it seemed forever. It just seemed there was no solution. My wife and I eventually decided to have the cedar removed and put up stucco and concrete board on the outside, to make our house a rat proof fortress.

Then, about a year or so before we had our house redone, I read an article from a pest control trade paper about a company in my area who had begun using strobe lights to drive rodents from the attics and crawl spaces of their customer's homes. At first they just tested the lights. But then, after great success, they incorporated the lights full time into their rodent control arsenal for the particularly tough cases like mine. I made it my mission to find out about these lights and try them out.

This was a few years ago and the company back then sold the lights under the name Squirrel Evictor as it was marketed heavily for squirrel control (it is now sold under the name Evictor Strobe Light, by the same company) Anyway, I bought the appropriate number of lights for my large and twisty, turning attic. A miracle happened! Within 2 weeks, I was no longer hearing the little scratching and chewing sounds in the attic. It was unbelievable. After 18 years, thousands of dollars, and endless time wasted, our problem was solved. We no longer heard the little monsters and remained rat free, but we still went ahead and proceeded to remodel the exterior of the home. Still we went for a year or so with the old cedar siding that had always been so easy for the rats to chew through, and they left and stayed out. I quit going around the house looking for new holes in the siding as the rats were gone.

The lights work with a slow strobe effect, much slower than party style strobe lights. They are totally blinding. The manufacturer says they cause fatigue in the rodent's eyes and they cannot stand it and leave. I like to think it just scares the you-know-what out of them. It eventually trains them that your attic is not a safe place to have a party.

One of the main things with the lights is you need to know you have good coverage. You can't have spots where the lights don't reach as the rodents will just congregate there. The bulbs last for at least a year or more and are easy to change. Another problem is that of ambient light. If you have light sources in your attic or crawl space, these may need to be shielded somehow as it dilutes the effectiveness of the lights. They need to be in darkness to mess with the rodent's eyes. Personally I have soffits that let in light, but it still seems to work anyway. It is something to consider though.

So, If you are sick of constantly searching for how to get rid of rats in your attic and like me have tried it all, you gotta try this. (oh yeah, works on squirrels, raccoons, and other furry critters). Check out the link below and read more about them on Amazon. you can go over the reviews by users and see how their experiences stack up against mine. Shine a light in the eyes of those pesky rodents and let them know it's time to leave!

Giant rats invade the U.S.

Unless you live in the Florida Keys, it is unlikely you will have one of these giant Gambian rats in your attic. They've taken up residence in the keys since 2000. They get upt to 3ft. and 9 pounds, HUGE!
Unless you live in the Florida Keys, it is unlikely you will have one of these giant Gambian rats in your attic. They've taken up residence in the keys since 2000. They get upt to 3ft. and 9 pounds, HUGE!

Learn More About Rat Control Devices

Rat Control Reviews is a site written by the author, Randy Parsley, dedicated to honest reviews of rat control devices. I have a unique knowledge after battling with rodents in my attic for over 18 years and trying almost everything under the sun. I won the battle and you can too.

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      Johne496 

      4 years ago

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