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Rat infestation signs

Rats are known to spread disease, damage property, and contaminate food. If they are able to gain entry into your home or business, they can cause an infestation and also introduce other unwelcome parasites like fleas, lice, and ticks.

Acting at the first sign of a suspected rat in your home can reduce the length of time needed to effectively control a house infested with them. These rodents are able to breed quickly and a small problem has the potential to develop into a serious infestation if left unmanaged. Below we take a look at what causes a rat infestation, signs of rats in your home, and some actions you can take to prevent an infestation.

Call Ehrlich today at 800-837-5520 if you are worried about a rat problem.


What causes a rat infestation?

The short answer: Once rats have created a nest in your home, they can multiply fairly quickly, causing an infestation.

They can find their way into your house through any external opening in your roof, doors, or siding, being able to squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. If that doesn’t work, they have very strong teeth to gnaw on the opening to make it larger. Once inside, they have easy access to their two life necessities: shelter and food. It is pretty difficult to get rid of rats once they are in your home. If not controlled right away, it only takes a couple of rats to quickly breed and create an infestation. Once a nest has been made, you will need a professional to eliminate it for you to ensure a potential infestation does not spread any further.

Signs of rats in your house

The most obvious sign of rats in your home is finding a live or dead rat. They typically stay out of sight, so seeing one out in the open is usually a good indication the nest became overpopulated and that there may be an infestation in your home. The main signs of rats include:

  1. Rat droppings
  2. Scratching noises
  3. Footprints
  4. Rub marks
  5. Damage
  6. Nests
  7. Burrows

Rat droppings

Rat droppings are usually found in concentrated areas as they produce up to 40 droppings per night. Brown rat droppings are dark brown in a tapered, spindle shape about 9mm - 14mm long. They can resemble a large grain of rice. Black rat droppings can be up to ¾” long and are capsule-shaped. Rat droppings can carry unwanted pathogens that can transmit diseases, like hantavirus, to humans.

Rat droppings

Scratching noises

Are you hearing noises on your roof? Black rats are agile climbers, giving them their common name - the roof rat. Hearing scratching noises on your roof is typically a sign of this pest as black rats can easily gain access into attics, loft spaces, and upper floors of buildings.

Brown rats, on the other hand, are less adept climbers. You may hear them scurrying under your decking, sheds, or floorboards. They are more likely to be identified by a grinding noise they make with their teeth known as bruxing.

Scratching noises

Footprints or running tracks

It is common to see footprints and tail marks in dusty, less-used areas of buildings. Shining a strong flashlight at a low angle should reveal any rat tracks. To establish if an infestation is active, sprinkle fine flour or talc along a small stretch of floor near the footprints and check for fresh tracks the next day.

Footprints or running tracks

Rub marks

Rats use established routes along baseboards and walls due to their poor eyesight. Grease and dirt on their bodies leave smudges and dark marks on both objects and surfaces they repeatedly brush against.

Rub marks

Damage in your home

Rats have teeth that grow continuously, so they need to gnaw on wood and plastic to keep them trim. You may notice ripped food packaging, as they tear open food, leaving visible teeth marks. They also have the potential to cause fires by chewing through electrical cables.

Damage in your home

Rat nests

Rats build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper and fabrics. Nests will often contain their young, and are usually located close to a food source. You may find a nest in your kitchen or laundry room behind or under appliances as these provide warmth. They can also be found in lofts, attics, under eaves, and even in cavity walls.

Rat nests

Rat burrows

Brown rats are well known for digging and excavating extensive burrow systems for shelter, food storage, and nesting. Look for burrows in compost heaps, under decking or garden sheds, or in garages.

Rat burrows

Where do rats live in your home?

Rats love to make your house their home, both inside and outside. They can make any space a nest utilizing your leftover scraps. Black rats love to nest in attics and lofts whereas brown rats make their nests under your deck or in any crawl space.

Where do rats live inside?

  • Lofts and attic spaces - Check for shredded loft insulation, chewed items, and rat droppings inside stored items and in the corners. They love to make nests in attics as attics provide both shelter and warmth.
  • Kitchens and laundry rooms - Check behind appliances like stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. They are drawn to the heat produced by your kitchen appliances, as well as the accessibility of your cabinets for food and shelter.
  • Out of sight - Check crawlspaces, suspended ceilings, and even cavity walls.

Where do rats live outside?

  • Decks - Check for any signs of damage from gnawing and burrowing.
  • Sheds - Look for entrances to burrows around the edges of sheds.
  • Garages - Check for gaps around door frames or holes gnawed at the bottom of wooden doors. Also, check around the internal door and any vents that could give entry into other internal areas.
  • Garbage cans - Check the lid and base of the bins for holes and gnaw marks.
  • Vegetation - Look for rat holes among tree and shrub roots in overgrown vegetation.
  • Drains - Check for damaged drain covers and any holes next to them.

Have you spotted the signs of rats?

If you think you have a rat-infested house, it is important to act quickly to control the level of infestation and reduce the health risks posed by this rodent.

At Ehrlich, our qualified local specialists are backed by global knowledge and innovation. We are able to provide the most effective services to get rid of rats. We can also advise you on how to deter rats in the first place and avoid a rat infestation in your home or business.

Call us today on 1-800-837-5520 or contact your local office to arrange for effective solutions to get rid of rats quickly.

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