Getting rid of rats in your home

At this time of year there is usually a huge surge in the rats and mice population. This year appears to be a bumper one for the rodents. Warmer weather at an earlier time of the year means that breeding has started early. Rats can cause havoc in a garden or home. In the garden they eat fruit and crops, including citrus and root crops. Control now is essential to avoid an infestation during the summer.
The steps for rat control is sanitation, inspection and exclusion. Inspection is a vital first step in getting rid of rats. Once you know the location of the rats, you can set traps or place bait.
Exclusion is an important rodent control technique. It will get rid of the rats by making it difficult for them to enter your home. Rats are easier to exclude than mice because rats are typically larger. Mice can enter an opening as small as ½cm wide. All openings greater that 1cm should be sealed to exclude mice, and for rats, greater that 2cm should be sealed. Where there is an abundance of rodents you usually have an abundance of shelters and food available to them. It has a great impact on reducing the rodent population if you remove or reduce these. Likely access points for rodents are where utility lines come into walls, as well as openings around air conditioning, drain pipes and vents. Look for broken basement windows, warped doors, and unscreened vents as possible points of entry. All spaces beneath doors should be checked if the opening is too large and reduced if needed. Roofs should be checked to see the sheathing is complete.
The second step for rat control is trapping or baiting.
Trapping does have some advantages over baiting. It provides an alternative for those who do not want to place poison around their home. But rats are very in- Getting rid of rats in your home telligent and soon learn to avoid traps. There is also the disposal of the rat once it has been killed in a trap. Poisons can be laid outside so the rodents take them before entering a house. The active ingredient in most poisons make the rodent thirsty and they go to a source of water, so make sure there is a bucket or pool outside to provide this for them. They will then die somewhere that disposal is not essential.
The third step is sanitation. Keep all stored food sealed and any food scraps placed into a container that has a lid. On the farm, do not throw scraps over the fence as this will be a banquet for rodents! Less access to food scraps means that they will take a poison bait more readily and control will be easier.

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