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If you see a rat scurry through your yard, or you find evidence of rat activity, such as droppings or chew marks, what should your next step be? You might think that we would say call us immediately! But, at All-Safe Pest & Termite, our goal is always to equip you with everything you need to know about solving pest problems. There are many things you can do about rats. You'll have to roll your sleeves up and do some work, and some rodents won't take "go away" for an answer, but in some cases, you may be able to solve rodent problems on your own. But if you'd prefer not to crawl around in dirty places, apply metal flashing and other exclusions, or have a rodent issue complicated by factors beyond your control, it is best to reach out to us for assistance. Let's break this process down into steps.

1. What To Do When You See A Rodent

You can learn a lot by seeing a rodent. If it is brown, it is a Norway rat. If it is black, it is a roof rat. Norway rats are burrowing animals that prefer to create burrows underneath piles of objects in your yard, or underneath a structure. Roof rats prefer to live in trees and are more likely to infest your home and stay inside your home.

For Norway Rats

  • Explore your yard for holes or areas that are dugout. This will give you an indication of where the rodents are living.

  • Remove objects from your yard or store them away inside. This can make your yard less interesting to these rats.

For Roof Rats

  • Trim tree branches away from your roofline to remove this access point.

  • Apply something pointy to areas of your home where powerlines attach.

2. What To Do When You See Rodent Activity

When you come across rodent droppings or areas of your home that have been chewed, you're not going to be able to tell if you have Norway rats or roof rats, but you will be able to tell if you have mice or rats. It is rare for mice and rats to infest a structure together, requiring different control methods. 

What To Consider

  • Rats leave larger droppings than mice.

  • The droppings left by a mouse are likely to be about 1/4 of an inch long and be pointed at the ends.

  • The droppings left by a rat are likely to be about 3/4 of an inch long and have blunted ends.

  • Mice can get through a hole the size of a dime.

  • Rats require a hole the size of a quarter.

3. Apply Exclusions

No matter what rodents you have, the next step is exclusion. This is hard work. You have to get into low places that are dark and dirty and climb up into high places that can present a hazard. This is for you to evaluate. If you choose to tackle this, here are a few tips:

  • Do a detailed inspection of your exterior doors. These are notorious entry points.

  • Replace weatherstripping and door sweeps that aren't getting the job done, take the doors off and adjust them if they aren't sealing properly, and address any holes in the wood frames around your doors.

  • Crawl under your deck and inspect the area where your foundation wall meets your sole plates. If you see rotted wood or wood holes, you need to seal things up. Apply a high-quality caulking material to repair the wood to prevent access.

  • Inspect around any foundation penetrations. What is a foundation penetration? It is anything that penetrates your foundation such as a water main or a wire conduit. If these have gaps around them, apply caulking material to seal the gaps.

  • Inspect your roofline. If you find holes, repair your eaves, fascia, soffits, or shingles to keep roof rats from entering (or re-entering).

  • Inspect around roof penetrations. These are exhaust pipes, skylights, etc. If you see any gaps, patch them up.

4. Consider Attractants

  • Make sure trash is stored in covered containers and keep your containers free of odors.

  • Move bird feeders away from your exterior or remove them altogether.

  • If you have trees that drop nuts, don't bag nuts up and put them near your home.

  • Remove them from your yard or store them far from your exterior.

  • Refrain from feeding pets or other animals outside.

  • Address standing water or containers in your yard.

Plano, Texas Rat Control

You can get control of rats by taking the steps above. Rats are motivated by the availability of food and harborage. But sometimes, trapping is required to get complete control. This is where we can help. If you've done everything and rats are still creating problems, or you don't have the time or inclination to address vulnerabilities and attractants around your Plano, Texas home, reach out to us. We have rodent control professionals that are experienced and trained in the deployment of tamper-resistant rodent traps. We can help you get control of rats even in unusual circumstances.

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