Have many of your neighbors had trouble with rats? Once rats move into a neighborhood, they often go from house to house, expanding in numbers as they find more new homes to nest in. But while your chances of a rat infestation are higher when rats are prevalent, such an infestation is not inevitable. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent the rats from settling into your space.
Don't feed pets outside.
If you can keep rats out of your yard, you'll have an easier time keeping them out of your house. Rats are often first attracted to pet food that is left outdoors. They love cat food as much as your cats do, and they will eat birdseed if they are hungry, too. If you have outdoor animals, such as horses or chickens, and thus cannot avoid having animal food outside, make sure you store the food as securely as possible. Place the feed bags in latchable plastic or metal containers as soon as you get them. (Rats can gnaw through unopened feed bags.) Also, try to feed your animals only what they will eat in one feeding so that extra, uneaten food is not sitting around waiting for the rats.
Fix plumbing leaks.
Rats, like all mammals, need moisture to survive. They are often attracted to homes where they can get food and moisture in the same place. If you have a plumbing leak in the basement or elsewhere in the home, you're more likely to get rats. So call your plumber at the first sign of a leak. In fact, it does not hurt to have your plumbing looked over every year or two to ensure that weakened sections of the pipe are caught before they start leaking.
Seal foundation cracks.
Rats often enter through cracks in the foundation of your home. They can squeeze through some pretty narrow cracks! Look over your foundation for cracks, and if you find any, either seal them with caulk or hire a foundation repair company to come fix them. (A foundation repair company will be necessary for a crack wider than 1/2 inch or so, since caulk alone may not stop the crack from expanding.)
Set a live trap.
Usually, rats send a scout or two over to a new area before they move their whole family in. If that scout returns and informs the other rats that your home is a great place to be, you'll soon have a full-blown rat infestation. On the other hand, if the scout rats never come back to their current home, the rats won't all move in. The most humane way to deal with scout rats is to set a live trap -- or a few live traps -- around your home. If you catch a scout rat, go let them loose a few miles away. Check the traps daily so that the rats do not suffer for too long in the traps.
Use rat repellent.
There are plenty of preparations meat to deter rats from entering your property. The effectiveness of these products varies. Some contain urine of other animals. Others are pheromone-based or contain essential oils. Look for a product with good ratings and reviews, and apply it around the perimeter of your yard. Also apply it around the base of your foundation. With two barriers or rat repellent, the pests should stay away.
If you do spot rats in your yard or home in spite of following the tips above, contact a pest control company ASAP. Rats reproduce quickly, and if you don't address the problem now, you'll have hundreds more to get rid of in a few weeks. For more information, contact companies like 1st Solution Pest Control.