How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home

If you have problems with rats in your home, use this guide to learn how to get rid of rats and the best traps to use.

Number One Tip: Use Plenty of Traps

The top rule for using any rat trap is to use plenty of traps. You may need more traps than you think is warranted when trapping rats. Usually, the rat population is larger than expected. Make sure that you are catching rats and not mice. A typical mouse trap is not big enough to catch rats. We will review the best rat traps to use for rat control in and around your home.

  • Review these tips for the identification of guidelines. Use peanut butter, unsalted seeds or nuts, bananas, apples, cake icing, and raw uncooked meat like bacon or hotdogs, or raw chicken.
  • We carry several professional lures that combine food-grade materials with no peanuts.
  • Rats will show adverse trap behavior since rats are naturally suspicious of new objects and surroundings. Pre-bait the traps without setting the traps to encourage the rats to the traps.

Trap Placement

Place rat traps in high-activity areas of the rat colony. These areas may include darkened corners, along walls, behind appliances and objects, and all areas where droppings are evident. Since rats need to touch surfaces as they move, place them accordingly. Place rat traps spaced from 15-20 feet apart. Remember to place them touching a wall since rats like to run along walls to avoid detection.

Rats HiddenRats Hidden
Rats-Hiding

Since rats prefer enclosed, safe locations, use Protecta Bait Stations with the the T-Rex Snap Traps. These stations will shelter the rat, encouraging it to the T-Rex Snap Traps. These stations will shelter the rat, encouraging it to enter and protect non-targeted animals and children from the snap trap's harm.

The Victor Snap Traps are fine traps, but their height will not fit into bait stations. If this is the case, you can get a cardboard box, cut holes in it and place it over the Victor Snap Trap. The cardboard box method is not tamper-resistant like the Protecta Ambush Station.

Ambush Station with a Roof Rat trapped with T Rex Trap. The Ambush Station hold both bait and Trapper T Rex Snap Trap.

Rat Trapping Tips

  • Position rat traps to maximize rats' chances to cross over the traps during their natural travels along their runways. Set snap traps extended at a right angle from a wall with the trigger end almost touching the wall. If rat traps are set parallel to the wall, set them in pairs with triggers situated to intercept the rats from either direction.
  • To trap Roof Rats, set traps on tree limbs, under vegetation on a backyard fence or trellis, or other aboveground locations roof rats are known to frequent. Fasten the traps with wire to overhead pipes, rafters, and beams.
  • Rats are often shy of new objects. The placement of unset traps in a new location for a week or two will increase the opportunities for catching.
  • Set out unset rat traps buried in grain, sawdust, or similar materials within an empty cardboard box or pie pan. Place the rat bait in small pieces near it and above it with the hidden trap below. Once the rats start taking the bait, set the traps. This arrangement will acclimate the rats to the traps. Once adapted, set enough traps to kill a large percentage of the population before the rodents become " trap shy".
  • This method is called mass trapping, catching them at a higher rate than they can repopulate and become shy of the trap.
  • There may be a need to have as many as 2-3 dozen rat traps set in a commercial establishment in an infested trash room.
  • By having these rat traps baited with Provoke Rat Attractant, Pro-Pest Professional Lures, or peanut butter in unset traps, a large population would be used to feeding on around the traps. When the rat traps are then simultaneously set after a while of this "feeding," a large kill can be obtained.
  • Even after setting out the unset rat traps to encourage trapping results, you may still have rats that will not go into the snap traps. There are alpha and beta rats in a rat population. The first rats to be caught in snap traps are the beta rats (inferior rats). The superior alpha rats are much more cautious around the snap traps. At this point, use a live trap. Rodenticides may be another choice for you at this point. Rodent baits (the strong single feed baits) are more costly but will cause much more pressure on the rodent population as they readily take the bait and die.
  • Do not touch pets before handling the traps.
  • Avoid handling dead rodents with bare hands to prevent contact with ectoparasites or diseased animals.

Key Takeaway

Whether using snap traps or glue traps, place them in areas where rats feel comfortable enough to stop and investigate.

Rats feel vulnerable in the middle of a room. Placing traps against walls and behind furniture is a more successful strategy.

Advantages of Using Rat Traps

  • Poison rodent baits may be dangerous to children and pets. Trapping can be safer.
  • For smaller rat infestations, rat traps provide quick results.
  • Easier to locate the dead rat for easy disposal to avoid odors.

Disadvantages of Using Rat Traps

  • If the rat infestation is extensive and severe, trapping can be very time consuming and laborious.
  • FTrapping rat programs are not as cost-effective as rodent bait programs, particularly for controlling large rat populations.
  • Some rat traps, such as the snap traps, can injure people, pets, children, or wildlife if they accidentally encounter the trap. It is advised to use a Trapper T Rex Snap Trap inside a secured bait station, like Protecta Bait Stations or Ambush Bait Station, as an alternate trapping solution.
  • Some rat traps, such as glue boards, are not considered humane.

Types Of Rat Traps

T-Rex Trap
T-Rex Trap

Rat Snap Traps

Advantages of Snap Traps

These traps are relatively inexpensive and will instantly kill a rat

Disadvantages of Snap Traps

The spring on the rat snap trap is powerful ( it could break a finger); keep it out of reach of your pets and small children.

An alternate solution would be using the Trapper T Snap Traps with a protective bait station. The T Rex traps are designed to fit perfectly in the Protecta Bait Stations or Ambush Bait Station.

Improvements have been made over the years from the typical wooden snap trap. The T-Rex Trap (pictured above) is easier to set and more versatile.

Rat Glue Traps
Rat Glue Traps

Rat Glue Traps

Advantages of Glue Traps

Rat Glue Traps are safer to use than snap traps unless the snap traps are placed in protective bait stations.

Rats are less likely to become "trap shy." The glue boards have a lower profile, so the rat is less suspicious of the new object.

Less costly than snap traps.

Glue Traps can be used inside in a variety of places.

Disadvantages of Glue Traps

One disadvantage of glue traps is that they need to be kept in a dry and dust-free area.

They may be inhumane to the rat; the rat may not die immediately.

How To Set Rat Glue Boards

After inspecting the rat-infested areas, place the rat glue boards in those areas. Place the glue traps directly in their runways. Rats usually travel along baseboards and walls since they use the walls for guidance. Place glue traps where there has been rodent activity.

We carry Trapper Rat Glue Traps, Catchmaster Cold Temperature Rodent Traps, Trapper Plastic Tunnel, Trapper Cardboard Tunnels, Maxcatch Giant Glue Boards, and Trapper Glue to make your boards.

The Rat Glue Books open like a book and, with its unique design, offers flexibility in placement.

The Trapper Tunnels that come in plastic or cardboard will cover and protect the glue from dirt and dust. It will also hide caught rodents from sight.

If glue gets on your pet's paw, coat it with vegetable oil. This oil will dissolve the glue.

Where To Store Glue Boards

Avoid storing glue traps in vehicles during warm weather without placing them in a cooler. The glue will melt in hot weather.

Live Animal Traps

Live traps are the most humane way of trapping rodents. Bait it with peanut butter or Propest Professional Lure and carefully release it outside. Use gloves when handling the traps.

We carry the Safeguard Squirrel-Rat Live Trap #50450-1 and the Havahart #1025. Both these live traps will catch rats or squirrels.

When to Use Rat Traps

  • Use rat traps when poison baits may pose a potential hazard to children, pets, or wildlife.
  • Use rat traps where rodent baits are not allowed due to the possibility of food contamination.
  • Use rat traps when rodents exhibit bait shyness.
  • Use rat traps when dead rodents may create odors.

After Trapping the Rat

  • Wear gloves when disposing of the rat. Daily, check the traps and replace the traps if needed.
  • If you are concerned with any health threats from the dead rodent, use a household disinfectant.
  • See tips on cleaning rodent traps and disposal of rodents.

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.