How To Get Rid of Rats

If you have an active rat infestation, follow these guidelines to control and kill your rat population.

Rat control is never an easy task, but thankfully, there are different options to get rid of rats. For years we have told our customers that there are two treatment options when you are dealing with rats : poison them or trap them. We have various rat traps and rat baits to choose from, so you can find the perfect solution for your specific needs. The first step in rat control is a thorough inspection. This inspection will help determine where to place the rat traps and rat bait.

The most common rats in the USA are Norway Rats and Roof Rats. A quick look at the habits of both will help you understand how to inspect and control the rat population.

Norway rats are larger than the smaller and sleeker Roof Rats. Roof rats have bigger ears and a longer tail than the Norway rat. Also, the roof rat has a pointed nose, and they are excellent climbers. Roof Rats inhabit attics, upper stories, and exterior vegetation. Norway rats occupy lower portions of the building and the ground.

Roof Rats are predominant in coastal areas. Generally, Roof rats stay within 100 miles of the coast and in more temperate climates since they do not do well in cold temperatures.

Rat Control Treatment Steps

1. The First Step for Rat Control is Sanitation, Inspection and Exclusion

The first step is a complete inspection with proper sanitation and exclusion procedures. The next step is choosing between using rodent baits, rat traps, or a combination of both methods.

  • Inspection is an essential 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 eliminate the rats by making it difficult for them to enter the home or structure. Rats are easier to exclude than mice because rats are typically larger. Mice can enter an opening as small as 3/8" wide. All openings greater than 1/4" should be sealed to exclude mice. For rats, all openings greater than 1/2 inches should be sealed.
  • Please also read the section on Sanitation, as it is an important consideration in rodent control.
  • Rats (especially Roof rats) are wary of new objects, new foods, or environmental changes. They are always exploring surroundings and notice changes, and are suspicious by nature. Their suspicious nature is why traps and bait stations may be avoided for a day or two. They approach new food or objects with caution. Within a rat colony, they may be a few extra cautious rats and manage to avoid traps or eating rodent baits.

2. The Second Step for Rat Control is Trapping or Baiting

The most effective method to get rid of rats is trapping them and placing rodent baits.

Reducing Rat Populations By Trapping

Trapping does have some advantages over baiting. It provides an alternative for those who do not want to place rodenticides. If the rat population is small enough, trapping can yield quick results when done properly. Finally, trapping ensures that you can dispose of the dead rats before their odor becomes a problem in an inaccessible area.

Key Takeaway

Trapping is more labor intensive but ity is the best way to avoid odor problems associated with rodent baits.

Get Rid Of Rats With Rodent Bait

Rodenticides are poison baits and should be used in areas where domestic animals and children can't access them. For protection against accidental poisoning, use tamper-resistant bait stations that hold the baits in place and keep children and pets out. It is a national law and guideline to use tamper-resistant bait stations in areas where children or pets can access. We carry single feed bait (requires just one feeding for a lethal dose.) Rat Baits come in pellets, meal, and block forms.

Key Takeaway

Rodent Baits are less labor intensive but may result in an odor problem.

There is no rodenticide that makes them die outside or controls their odor.

Get Rid Of Rats With Rodent Bait

Rodenticides are poison baits and should be used in areas where domestic animals and children can't access them. For protection against accidental poisoning, use tamper-resistant bait stations that hold the baits in place and keep children and pets out. It is a national law and guideline to use tamper-resistant bait stations in areas where children or pets can access. We carry single feed bait (requires just one feeding for a lethal dose.) Rat Baits come in pellets, meal, and block forms.

Roof Rat and Norway Rat Descriptions
Roof Rat and Norway Rat Descriptions
Black Rat and Brown Rat
Black Rat and Brown Rat
Geographic Locations of Roof and Norway Rats
Roof Rat and Norway Rat
Roof Rat and Norway Rat

Roof Rats (Black rat, ship rat, ship rat)

  • Sleek, agile
  • Belly color: gray, white
  • The fur is grayish-black to solid black
  • Weighs 5-9oz
  • The tail extends to the snout when pulled, fine-scaled and uniformly dark
  • Head is pointed
  • Ears are long enough to reach eyes if folded over.
  • Lives above ground and are good climbers but may expand nests to underground burrows
  • Read More: Roof Rats

    Norway Rats (Sewer rat, brown rat, house rat, wharf rat, water rat and gray rat)

  • Large and robust
  • The belly is mostly gray
  • Weighs 12-16 oz
  • Body fur is coarse; reddish to grayish brown
  • Nose is blunt
  • Ears are small and do not reach eyes when pulled down
  • Lives in colonies, often ground-dwelling (burrows along foundational walls), may nest inside (usually lower floors).
  • Read More: Norway Rats

    Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.