Signs of a rodent infestation
The first step is to play the detective, and confirm that the mysterious signs you’ve been noticing are in fact evidence of a rodent infestation. Other nocturnal animals like possums often make scratching sounds on roofs, and these can be mistaken for rat noises. If you’re in doubt, look for the following signs:
- Droppings. Rats are prolific toilet-goers, and leave up to 40 droppings per night, often concentrated in specific areas where the rat has been spending its time.
- Scratching noises. Rats are most active at night, so you might hear them while you’re falling asleep.
- Rub marks. Because they have poor eyesight, rats tend to run along skirting boards and other established routes. In the process, the dirt and oil from their bodies often leaves a smudge mark.
- Holes and nests. Rats like to keep themselves busy, and often tear up insulation and cardboard to make nests in attics, or dig burrows in the ground around your house. “Safe” areas like the neglected space behind your washing machine are also common rat hideouts.
How to get rid of rodents
Dealing with a rat infestation isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun Sunday afternoon. It takes time and patience, and can often be frustrating if you don’t have any professional experience. Nevertheless, here’s our recommended process for DIY rodent removal:
First, you need to find out approximately where the rats are residing. The signs of infestation mentioned above are a good way to hone in on their hideouts. Once you know their location, you’ll gain the advantage in this protracted and difficult war.
Before you eliminate the rats in your house, you need to prevent their friends from being able to replace them. Any openings into your house bigger than about 1.5cm should be sealed. For mice, seal any openings bigger than 0.5cm.
Another important step is to eliminate any potential food sources in and around your home. Rubbish bins should have a tight-fitting lid. Cupboards and pantries should be sealed. Try to avoid leaving food items like cat biscuits out overnight, because rats will be delighted by this.
- Trapping or Baiting.
Strategically placed, well-prepared traps can be effective at dealing with small infestations. But rats are fairly intelligent animals, and larger populations will have no trouble frustrating your best trapping efforts unless you’re adept at predicting their behaviour. Snap traps and live traps designed specifically for rat control are your best bet, but glue boards are generally ineffective because of the rats’ size and strength.
Baiting is another option. Rodenticides should be kept away from children and pets, however, as they can be very dangerous. We don’t recommend trying to use lethal baits without the guidance of a professional.
A quick note on mice: although rats are the most meddlesome invaders, mice are another very common intruder in New Zealand homes. They’re sometimes harder to deal with effectively, because they’re able to fit through the tiniest spaces. But the process described above is fairly effective for mice and rats alike.
Sound too complicated?
If all this is sounding like too much hassle, we can help. Our pest control specialists have been dealing with rat and mice infestations for more than ten years, and we’ll drive anywhere in Auckland to provide you with a free, no-obligation inspection and quote.
If you want to get rid of your rodent infestation once and for all, contact our friendly (but not rat-friendly) team today.