[Quick Hits] Rats...Lots of them August 2010

Departments - News Coverage

September 24, 2010

1. Gerald Wright, 1st Choice Pest Control , Norfolk, Va.

I have this account that called me back in early April or thereabouts. She said, "I am having a rat problem and I need your help." Major understatement! So I go out to inspect and find that there are roof rats everywhere. They were in the house, garage, attic, everywhere! Rats were running out in the open in the garage while I was doing my inspection. I recommended to her a trapping program, and checking them every couple days till the problem was solved. She agreed. After only two visits I had caught and killed 25 rats! After a couple more visits the count was at 29. Then about three or four visits later I hadn’t caught anymore. So I made some recommendations regarding dog food, making repairs, reducing clutter, closing the garage door (which was wide open every time I have been there), etc., and declared the rats gone.

Three months go by and she calls me. "I have rats again. Can you come out and get rid of them?" So I go out (garage wide open as usual) and set up traps again. I catch 7 more over 2 or 3 visits, but now nothing. They say they are seeing them in the house every night but no rats in the traps. I am guessing they have become shy of the traps seeing so many of their fellow rats with their heads smashed. I told her another option is baiting, and explained we cannot control where they might die. She does not want to do that because she is very worried about the smell. I think she should be more worried about rats living in her house, but that’s just me. I have put out some glueboards and will see if we catch any that way, but can anyone help me with a way to get them into these traps again? I’ve tried different baits in the traps. Chocolate, chunky peanut butter and dried fruit.

Also, do you think the rats became shy during the first series of visits and maybe I hadn’t quite gotten them all?

2. Mickey Ferrell, HomePro Pest Control, Chesapeake, Va.
When I’m having a hard time attracting them to the traps, I like to place traps unbaited on runways. I’ve nailed traps to walls or used zip ties to hold them to pipes. This seems to catch some of the smarter rats. Good luck.

3. Richard Alexander, Pest Express, Centennial, Colo.

I’d place several live traps. Prebait daily with little trays of jams, fruit and fresh water. Place them where the rats are, not where it’s convenient to you. Adjust your placements and add traps as you figure out how many rats you have. Change the food attractant if you need to, but keep checking daily. After a week or two you can set the traps for capture.

Meanwhile, the homeowner should take care of vines, shrubs, trash, storage items and sealing attic vents or you can charge them to be the handyman.

If you spend an hour a day looking at this situation and making little fixes as you go, you’ll likely find out everything to solve the problem.

4. Jeffrey Ledford, Eco-Pest, Wichita, Kan.
Food only blocks inside bait stations. Treat bait stations with DeTour gel where rats have to go through gel to get to food. Your rats will soon be gone.