Common Problems Norway Rats Cause

Norway rat on a basement floor.

Before we talk about the problems that Norway rats can cause, we should take a look at the habits and habitats of these destructive pests. Norway rats are a bit lazy, but they are very smart. They have learned that if they live in close proximity to people, they can meet their basic needs with little effort and with a much smaller threat of dealing with predators that may be looking for a rat fricassee. This is why these rather large rodents prefer to live in urban areas where they can benefit from humans by using their houses for nesting, feeding, and breeding sites.

Since Norway rats are very poor climbers, you will find them in basements and lower-level floors of your home. You will recognize them by their brownish-gray fur and by their size. These rats are around 10 – 12 inches long including their tail. You would think that due to this large size they would be easy to spot, but this is far from the truth. They are fast and they are expert hiders and know how to sneak about without being detected, especially if they are fairly new to the recesses of your home; but it won’t be long before they breed and a large colony shares your home. Each female will produce five litters per year with 7-14 pups in each litter. This means that a single female Norway rat finding refuge in your home can turn into no less than 35-70 offspring sharing your space in a year and keep in mind that some of those offspring will be female which will be able to reproduce 5 weeks after birth. The multiplication factors here are mind-blowing.

Now that you understand a bit more about these furry rodents, there is one more fact that you need to understand. Norway rats are dangerous pests. They not only threaten the safety of your home, but they can also introduce dangerous diseases to you and your family. Because they are rodents, they have front teeth that never stop growing. They maintain a healthy length for these teeth by constantly gnawing and chewing. Some of their favorite chew toys include drywall, insulation, structural beams, furniture, boxes, pipes, personal items, and wiring. Aside from the obvious damage to these items, comes the perhaps not so obvious risk that they will chew on live wires inside your walls and spark a fire. They have also been credited with creating conditions that lead to water damage and mold issues.

The mold issues alone are enough to make many people sick with cold and allergy-type symptoms, but this is not where the real health danger lies. Norway rats can carry and transmit serious diseases such as murine typhus, leptospirosis, and salmonellosis; and since Norway rats do not receive veterinary care, they come packed with fleas, mites, and other parasites that are more than capable of spreading the diseases that Norway rats are infected with and adding a few of their own pathogens to the mix.

There are some precautions that you can take to make it more difficult for Norway rats to enter your home and to make sure they don’t find food and water sources if they do enter. These include:

  • Sealing cracks, crevices, and gaps on the outside of your home, especially along your foundation.
  • Trimming trees and bushes to keep them from touching the exterior of your home.
  • Keeping clutter down in your yard and in your home.
  • Fixing leaky pipes or fixtures inside and out.
  • Keeping food in sealed containers or in the refrigerator instead of out on your counters.
  • Storing trash in tightly sealed outside receptacles.
  • Vacuuming regularly, especially under kitchen appliances.
  • Cleaning between your stove and counters on a regular basis.

Even when you are diligent to put all of these safety measures in place, you are likely to come face to face with a Norway rat at some point. They are resilient and resourceful creatures that will not give up easily. The surest way to keep Norway rats from your home and avoiding the destruction and disease that they cause is to contact a professional pest control company for year-round protection. American Pest Solutions offers comprehensive, industry-leading solutions that will keep Norway rats and other pests from choosing your home as theirs. Not only do we utilize safe, EPA-registered products, but we also implement integrated pest management strategies that will help you to identify and correct any areas or conditions that are drawing Norway rats to your property and into your home in the first place. For more information about our effective rat control measures, our comprehensive year-round protection plans, or any of our other industry-leading services, simply give us a call or a click today.