Simple Ways To Deter The Rats Living In Western Massachusetts

Simple Ways To Deter The Rats Living In Western Massachusetts

Our homes are our castles; they are our place of refuge where we retreat after a long day of work or running errands. Many people share their homes with a partner, spouse, children, or grandchildren. We may invite a friend in need to stay in our house or entertain some acquaintances who travel to Massachusetts to enjoy our historical state. People share our home with us by invitation or because they are family, and uninvited guests are not welcome. 

We don't allow anyone to enter our house because we don't know if we can trust them, if they are dangerous, or if they will put the family at risk. What is true for people is also true for pests! We don't want insects, spiders, wildlife, or rodents like rats in our homes in the same way we do not desire uninvited people to show up on our doorsteps. The problem with rats is that they have come to rely on humans for survival, particularly in the winter months or during unusual weather events when food is scarce. Unlike wildlife, rats are commensal and don't mind being in the same space as humans. 

If you suspect rats are in your house or running around on your property, you need the Western Massachusetts pest control services from American Pest Solutions. Our local family-owned and operated company has been removing rodents from local homes since before the invention of the radio, television, internet, jet planes, and spaceships. We have over 100 years of experience in rat control; we know how to get rats out of homes!

Where Do Rats Like To Hide?

Rats are stealthy creatures who forage at night and stay hidden during the day. Rats on your Western Massachusetts property reside in the yard or inside the house. During the warm seasons, rats in the backyard hide in tall grass, gardens, sewer drains, and underneath heavy vegetation. When the temperature drops in the winter, they will attempt to enter a structure like a barn, shed, or house for food and shelter. Because barns and sheds tend to have small openings from the inside and food, these are favorite hiding spots. Inside these structures, they create burrows under walls, concrete slabs, and natural gas lines. 

Rats can enter houses through gaps between pipes and wires coming into the house and the foundation, cracks in the roofline, unprotected vents and chimneys, and underneath exterior doors. Once inside a home, they will locate within 150 feet of a food source. 

Because they are good climbers who access the roof from overgrown trees or shrubs, rats in the attic are common. Rats access the attic through gaps in the roof line or unprotected attic vents. This area is appealing because insulation provides excellent nest material, it is warm and undisturbed, and they can access the house at night. If your home has a loft, you have another favorite hiding location. You probably have rats in the attic or loft if you hear something running overhead while lying in bed.

Rats who enter the house from the ground gravitate to the walls, basement, or kitchen. Like the attic, insulation is available for easy nest creation, and they can be nearby food. Rats create two-inch holes in walls or floors to allow easier access. If you hear scratching in your room at night, you likely have rats inside the walls.

The kitchen is a favorite location for rats due to easy food access; however, this area may not provide the seclusion of walls or the attic. Rats in the kitchen live in the drawers, cabinets, and pantry. You will find rats in the garage and basement in storage boxes, underneath piles of discarded magazines and other debris. 

Is It Possible To Have A Rat-Free Home Without Using Chemicals?

You do not have to use chemicals to keep your house rat free! However, to get rid of rats in your Western Massachusetts home takes a multi-pronged approach. First, determine where the rat infestation is in the house. The way to locate the rat-infested area is to look for pathways. Rats travel the same path to and from a food source, and you can identify the trail by looking for the following:

  • Grease marks: Rats have oily, dark grey fur that attracts dirt and grim from the filthy areas where they forage. As they travel the food trail, they rub against the walls, corners, and objects and leave smug marks. 
  • Droppings: Rats eat up to a third of their body weight daily and create a tremendous output of feces. The dark, soft droppings they deposit are rod-shaped with blunt ends and, when they dry, turn hard and grey. Rat waste is one of the first indications of an infestation, and it will be along one of their runways. 
  • Tracks: Rats leave four and five-toed on dusty surfaces. If the area you suspect is a runway, but there are no prints, dust the area with talcum powder and check it in a couple of days for tracks. 
  • Uneaten food: Rats don't nibble on food like mice but tend to eat until done in one sitting; however, they leave shells and other items behind. 
  • Live rats: Rats have a hierarchy, and although they forage at night, if the nest is large, some lower-level rats have to search for food during the day. 

Traps can be a way to work toward a rat-free home. Set traps along the suspected runway once you identify the pathways. Because rats are large and strong, purchase traps designed for rats. If they are along the trail, you do not have to bait the traps, but if you want to use a little peanut butter or raw bacon, you can; however, do not use too much, or you will attract other pests. 

Another option is to lay glue boards on the rat trails. Some people put glue boards in a box with a piece of bacon or meat inside the container. When the rats enter the container to eat the food, they are stuck on the glue boards and die. 

One word of caution: rats can carry disease, and touching dead rats without proper protection puts you at risk of contracting a disease. At the minimum, wear protective gloves and do not let the dead vermin touch your clothing. Place the dead rat in a bag, seal it, and dispose of it in an outdoor, closed container. 

While these solutions will help stop a few rats, remember that rats are prolific breeders. Within a couple of months of birth, a female rat begins producing its first litter of two to 14 pups; it will make eight litters with an average of seven offspring over the next 12 months and will continue to reproduce until age 18 to 24 months. In other words, a few rats can quickly grow into an infestation too large for traps alone to stop in a short amount of time.

Five Ways To Deter Rats

The best way to keep rats away from your Western Massachusetts home is to discourage them from entering your property. Here are five methods to prevent rats from entering your property and home:

  1. Prune trees and bushes away from the house: Rats are good climbers who use these to access the roof and other areas. If possible, create a two-foot distance between your home and any vegetation. 
  2. Remove debris: Outside the house, eliminate wood and leaf piles, old tires, junk cars,  and appliances. Indoors, clear the garage and attic areas of old magazines and junk. 
  3. Seal openings to the house: Rats can squeeze through holes 1/2 inch or larger. Examine the foundation and roofline where pipes and wires enter the house and close any openings with hardware cloth, sheet metal, mortar, or wire mesh. Use 1/4 inch wire mesh to cover the attic, crawlspace, and chimney openings. Check window and door frames for gaps between the frames and house siding or mortar. 
  4. Install door sweeps: Be sure garage doors have a good seal when closed. If the garbage cans are inside the garage area, keep them closed and do not store trash in exposed bags.
  5. Remove food sources: Rats forage on bird seed, dog food, animal feces, and fruits and berries in the yard. Remove dog food and water bowls from the yard, elevate bird feeders on a pole away from trees and bushes, and remove fallen fruits and animal feces from the yard. 

These five steps will help you avoid a rat problem at your Western Massachusetts home. 

Total Rat Control For Western Massachusetts Residents

Everything we have shared will help prevent a rat infestation and may stop a few rats in the house, but to end a current rat invasion, you need the best rat control company, American Pest Solutions. 

Our trained, certified, and experienced technicians will inspect your home to determine the rat species, likely nesting areas, attractants, and entry points. Our professionals will create a comprehensive rodent control strategy to eradicate the rats from your home using time-tested techniques. If possible, we will seal off entry points and provide preventative solutions based on your unique location. Contact us today for a free evaluation. 

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