RATS: Nine strategies to keep your home rodent-free 

Rats may be seen more this time of year; in fact, an estimated thirty percent of Americans have had a rodent problem in their home.* Deterring rats from invading your home is essential to protect your property, prevent potential health risks, and maintain a safe living environment. Rats can cause significant damage to structures and spread diseases, so taking proactive measures to keep them away is crucial. Here are some effective strategies to help you prevent rat infestations and keep your home rodent-free.

  • Seal Entry Points: Rats can squeeze through small openings, so inspect your home thoroughly for any cracks, gaps, or holes in walls, doors, windows, and foundations. Seal these entry points with sturdy materials like steel wool, caulk, or metal plates to prevent rats from gaining access.
  • Keep a Clean Environment: Rats are attracted to food sources, so ensure your home is tidy and free of crumbs, spills, and food debris. Regularly clean kitchen, dining, and storage areas to eliminate potential food sources. Store food in airtight containers, and keep pet food securely sealed.
  • Proper Waste Management: Dispose of household waste in tightly sealed bins. Avoid leaving garbage bags outside overnight and maintain proper waste management practices to reduce potential rat attractants.
  • Trim Vegetation: Overgrown shrubs, trees, and bushes near your home can serve as hiding spots for rats. Keep vegetation trimmed and maintain a clear perimeter around your property.
  • Store Firewood Smartly: If you store firewood, keep it away from the house and elevated from the ground. Rats may use the woodpile as a nesting area, so limiting their access to it will help deter them.
  • Use Rat-Repellent Plants: Certain plants like mint, lavender, and marigolds have natural repellent properties against rodents. Plant these around your home’s perimeter or near potential entry points to discourage rats from coming close.
  • Secure Bird Feeders: Bird feeders can attract rats and other pests. If you have bird feeders, use ones with rat-resistant designs and regularly clean up any fallen seeds. Do not leave bird seed in the feeder when rats are most active at night. 
  • Employ Traps and Bait Stations: Traps and bait stations can be effective in controlling rat populations. Place them strategically in areas where rat activity has been noticed, but keep them out of reach of children and pets.
  • Adopt a Cat: Cats are natural predators of rats and can help keep their numbers in check. If you’re an animal lover and can care for a pet responsibly, having a cat can act as a deterrent.
  • Install Motion-Activated Devices: Motion-activated lights or ultrasonic-repellent devices can startle and discourage rats from approaching your home.

Consult Professionals: If you’re dealing with a severe rat infestation or need expert advice, consider contacting a pest control professional. They can assess your situation, recommend appropriate measures, and use safe methods to eliminate the rats. Multnomah County Vector Control has more great tips on how to get rid of rodents. 

Remember, using humane and eco-friendly methods to deter rats from your home is essential. Poisonous baits and harsh chemicals can be harmful to the environment, other animals, and potentially humans, so try to avoid them whenever possible. Combining multiple strategies and being diligent can significantly reduce the likelihood of rats invading your home and maintain a clean, safe, and rodent -free living space



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