That poor woman has no idea what she’s in for.
In yesterday’s post, we laid down the foundation for why these critters are a hazard for the homeowner. As a species they carry 70 highly dangerous diseases that are transferred in a variety of ways to humans—through bites, feces, urine, and parasites.
What we haven’t covered is how to get rats out of your house if you are suffering from an infestation.
Arguably, the best thing to do is call in professionals. While it’s not the FIY way, there are just certain things that are beyond the homeowner’s capabilities.
But if you want to give it a shot . . .
First off, seal off any means of entry—vents, sewer drains, broken screens. Any hole big enough for a bug to get in is big enough for a rat.
Then figure out where they love to hang out and party. Sprinkle a bit of talcum powder in the suspect areas and should get some clues in the form of footprints.
You’ll probably also find all sorts of other damage in an area you suspect is frequented by rodents. They aren’t polite guests.
Peppermint oil is thought by some to be a natural deterrent. Apparently rats don’t like the refreshing scent. If you surround your house with shrubs high in alkaloid content (such as wormwood or poppy plants), you may be able to keep the little creatures away. I’m just not sure how legal that is in the USA.
You can lay down all sorts of traps and such, but rats don’t tend to go near something that is unfamiliar to them. You can buy commercial traps with various adhesives to restrain the rat until it has a heart attack from struggling to be free. Or there are the snap-traps that are just plain nasty to clean up (I’ve been there). Personally, I don’t like any of these methods.
The best deterrent is to not be a slob. Clean up after yourself. Don’t have pizza crusts, half-eaten cookies, taco residue, and other garbage strewn around your house. Rats love this stuff. And they’ll call their friends, have tons of babies, and spread every nasty disease they carry without even knowing it.
But don’t worry. Not all rats are bad. The pet variety are not exposed to disease. Avoid the feral variety, but when Ratatouille is in the house, get out the popcorn.
by John Barker