How to Control Rats

Step One: Look for Evidence

The following signs may indicate the presence of rats.

Nests or burrows
Most rats live in nests or burrows. Burrows are holes in dirt or concrete approximately 1–4 inches wide, with smooth edges. Burrows can be found under bushes and plants, and will often have an entrance and exit hole.

Holes and gnaw marks
Rats can squeeze through holes as little as half an inch wide, and may gnaw or chew through wood fixtures and plastic garbage cans.

Rat droppings are often found close to trash bags or garbage cans. Common rat droppings are ½–¾ inch long, with blunt ends, and are found in small groups.

Rub marks
Check walls and grass for signs of runways. Rats run along the same path many times a day, and prefer to run along walls. This leaves dark, greasy track marks along the walls and worn down paths in grass.

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Step Two: Clean Up

Managing the rodent population is a community effort. There are several steps you and your neighbors can take to help prevent rats from moving onto your property, and push out those that may already be there.

Get rid of clutter
Clutter gives rats many places to hide, sleep, nest and reproduce without being seen or disturbed. Remove (and recycle) piles of newspapers, paper bags, cardboard and bottles that may be on your property, and clean out your basement and yard. Rats love basements and garages because they offer many hiding spaces. If you do use these areas for storage, store items away from walls and off the ground, if possible. Remember that rats can easily gnaw through cardboard boxes.

Control weeds, shrubs and bushes
Rats often make their burrows underneath bushes and plants, where they are protected from the elements and predators. If you see rats or rat burrows on your property, you may need to do a little yard clean-up. Remove any weeds or trash, and aim to keep 6 inches of bare ground around the foundation of your building. Avoid tall grass, bushes and shrubs growing near the building. Do not plant too densely —make sure you leave a little space between plants. If you do spot burrows, remove any plants around them (such as ivy) and trim underneath shrubs to prevent further burrowing.

Wash away droppings and track marks
Rats communicate and attract each other through their urine and droppings. By sweeping up droppings and cleaning up track marks, you help prevent this communication and encourage rats to move away. Wash areas with water and a mild bleach solution (1 part bleach, 10 parts water). Make sure you work with your neighbors to clean up, so rats don’t simply move from one place to another.

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Step Three: Eliminate Sources of Food

Rats only need one ounce of food and half an ounce of water each day. Don’t let your garbage become their next meal! Rats are quick to seek sustenance in garbage cans, and will drink from any source of standing water they can find.

Seal and manage your garbage
Bring garbage cans and bags to the curb as close to pick-up time as possible. Leaving them out overnight invites rats. Use City-approved garbage cans with tight-fi tting lids, and make sure you have enough cans to hold your trash between pickups. Landlords can help by insisting that tenants place their garbage inside the cans, and not next to them.

Keep food away
Keep all food in tightly sealed containers. When throwing out food, make sure that it’s properly wrapped and not easily accessible. Do not put food out for stray animals, and remove any bird feeders, if you have them. Birdseed is an instant supply of food for rats, and birdbaths are a source of water. Other sources of standing water include children’s toys, pet bowls, outdoor plants with saucers, gutters, pipes and trashcan lids. These serve as convenient water supplies for rats and should be emptied regularly.

Step Four: Shut Them Out

Rats chew holes into buildings, and can squeeze through cracks and holes as small as half an inch wide. To keep rodents out, seal all holes and cracks in foundations, walls, floors, underneath doors, and around windows. Most repairs can be completed by maintenance staff, superintendents, repair workers or pest control professionals.

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Seal cracks and small holes
Cracks and small holes can be sealed with caulk or roofing cement, which is durable and easily applied with a caulking gun. Close gaps under doors with rodent-resistant metal door sweeps like the one pictured to the right1. Metal kick plates can also be installed at the bottom of doors to stop rats from gnawing through. Close window gaps with metal flashing, and put screens on vents, especially on lower floors.

Fill large gaps and holes
The best way to close large gaps and holes depends on the building material and the amount of space behind the hole. Use mortar or ready-mix cement to fill gaps and holes in cement and stone foundations. Cover large holes with metal lathe or screening, and then seal with mortar or cement. Cover floor drains and vents with heavy-duty metal screening, secured with masonry nails or cement. Seal pipes leading into walls with escutcheon plates (pipe collars). Check pipes regularly for leaks.

Close inactive burrows
An inactive burrow will often have leaves, cobwebs or other debris around the entrance. These should be closed so that rats cannot get back in. You can close burrows by filling them with soil and tamping them down with a shovel or by stepping on them. Close burrows in cracked or broken sidewalks with metal filler and cement.

Step Five: Baiting and Treatment
Rodent Baiting
Rodent bait can be an effective way to control rats, but applying these poisons is a job for professionals. The Evanston Health and Human Services Department performs and contracts baiting and exterior treatment for free for residential properties. If you live in your own home without tenants, the law does allow you to place rodent bait yourself. However, commercial and multi-unit property owners must hire a pest control company–it’s against the law for them to place their own bait. It is also against the law to bait in alleys.

The City of Evanston seeks to serve as a model to the public for the use of sustainable pest control practices. In 2010, Evanston created the Sustainable Pest Control and Pesticide Reduction Policy to reduce the use of pesticides in the city through the implementation of sustainable pest control practices on City-owned or -leased property.

If you do hire a pest control company, make sure it follows these guidelines:
• Always read and follow the manufacturer’s label, and use the smallest effective amount of bait
• Use disposable gloves while handling bait and wash your hands afterwards
• Use secured bait chunks (called “bait blocks”) inside tamper-resistant stations. Secure or anchor bait stations to the ground or fence with cement, caulk or wire
• Place bait stations on the same path as rats normally travel – often along building walls and fence lines. Since rats always travel on the same path, they’re more likely to eat from stations placed along it
• Use a funnel to place loose pellet bait into burrows. This will help ensure pellets are placed deep into the burrow, so rats can’t push them out
• Bagged bait should not be used in burrows or bait stations. Rats can push or carry them out of burrows or stations, where children, pets or wildlife can get to them
• Store and place bait stations where children and pets cannot get to them
• Never use a product that does not have a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Registration Number
• Replace bait after it’s been eaten. Leave bait stations and bait in place for at least 2 weeks after all rat activity has stopped. Monitor on a monthly basis

• Never use Tres Pasitos or other illegal bait products. These may include toxic chemicals that could harm you, your family and neighbors, and pets

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Norway Rat Facts & How to Get Rid of the Rodents

General Information

What is a Norway rat?
Also known as brown rats or sewer rats, Norway rats live on every continent in the world except Antarctica. The widespread rodents are the species of pest rat most commonly found in the United States, where the vermin tend to inhabit urban and suburban neighborhoods like those established throughout New England. Scientifically named Rattus norvegicus, Norway rats frequently live among humans in populated areas where sources of food and water are plentiful. The common name, Norway rat, stems from the rodent first entering Europe on Norwegian ships in the middle of the 16th century. Norway rats successfully occupy all populated regions of the world by reproducing regularly, adapting easily to a wide range of environments and climate zones, and displacing indigenous rodent species of smaller size. An infestation of Norway rats can cause property damage, contamination of food, and the transmission of various diseases to humans and pets.

Also Read :Rat Exterminator

Norway Rat

Appearance & Identification

What does a Norway rat look like?
Larger than mice and most other rats found in New England, the Norway rat boasts an average length of nearly 16 inches, which includes the tail. The rodents are stocky relative to mice and weigh as much as a pound when fully grown. Males typically grow larger than females. The head of the Norway rat is characterized by small ears, tiny eyes, and a blunt nose. The rats are covered in coarse, dark fur that transitions in color to gray or white on the underside of the rodents. The layer of fur does not extend to the ears or tail which remain hairless. Newborn Norway rats are completely bald and only begin growing fur at about two weeks of age.

Also Read :Rat Control


Highly adaptable, Norway rats inhabit a variety of different environments ranging from fields and woodlands to dumpsters and sewers. The rodents also reside in the basements of New England homes, particularly in spaces where garbage is permitted to accumulate. Natural burrowers, Norway rats often establish outdoor nests beneath trash heaps, woodpiles, and the concrete foundations of buildings. Indoors, the pest rodents live in wall voids as well as areas cluttered with undisturbed debris such as storage spaces. Norway rats tend to nest in close proximity to each other and form live in groups that function according to a clearly defined hierarchy. The rodents are nocturnal creatures that emerge at dusk to dig burrows, construct nests, and search for food.


What do Norway rats eat?
Like other omnivores, Norway rats adhere to a varied diet largely composed of proteins and carbohydrates like meats and grains. In urban and indoor areas, the foraging rodents primarily subsist on the remnants of food items discarded by humans. Norway rats also feed on seeds and nuts, fruit, leaves and roots, and even other animals like birds, fish, and mice. The omnivorous rodents boast the ability to consume roughly a third of their body weight in food in a single day and travel up to 150 feet from the nest when foraging.

Also Read : How To Get Rid Of Rats


Prolific breeders, Norway rats mate throughout the year, with periods of increased breeding activity typically occurring during the warmer months. After a gestation period of about three weeks, mated females give birth to litters of eight to 12 offspring. Norway rats are born with closed eyes and hairless bodies. The eyes of newborn Norway rats open after two weeks, which is also the approximate length of time it takes the rodents to grow fur. Weaning takes place at three to four weeks of age, with newly weaned Norway rats leaving the nest about five weeks after birth. The rodents achieve sexual maturity and can begin mating at an age of three or four months. Sexually mature Norway rats retain the ability to breed for two years and produce up to seven litters annually.

Problems Caused by Norway Rats

The presence of Norway rats poses several threats to people, pets, and property. Norway rats living in indoor environments can spread salmonellosis and contaminate food consumed by humans. The rodents also facilitate the transmission of serious diseases like hantavirus, jaundice, plague, and rat bite fever. Norway rats frequently serve as host animals for fleas and lice, as well. Property damage occurs when the pest rodents gnaw through the pipes, wiring, furnishings, and foundations of homes. In fact, rats are estimated to cause an annual total of roughly $1 billion in property damage across the United States.

Signs of a Norway Rat Infestation

Wary of strangers and nocturnal by nature, Norway rats tend to remain out of sight during daytime hours. Nevertheless, the rodents often leave behind telltale signs of their presence. Evidence of a Norway rat infestation includes droppings, which typically measure between one-half and three-fourths of an inch long. The gnawing rodents may also leave holes or teeth marks in objects made of plaster, plastic, soft metal, and wood. Other indicators of an infestation include footprints and runways created by the tendency of Norway rats to travel the same path when outside the nest. Norway rats living within wall voids often produce audible squeaking noises and gnawing sounds.


New England residents can prevent Norway rat infestations by storing food securely, cleaning up spills thoroughly, disposing garbage properly, and removing piles of debris from around their home or building. Homeowners should also seal any holes around and keep outdoor vegetation away from the structural foundation of indoor structures to eliminate cover/harborage for foraging Norway rats. Severe infestations often prove difficult to handle and frequently require the services of a pest control professional with experience in dealing with Norway rats.

5 Effective Tips to Get Rid of Mice From Your Garage

Presence of mice in garages can lead to various health problems. Hundreds of homeowners call pest control services every year to get rid of mice from their house and garage. Mice make nests in walls, chew-on electrical wires and contain highly infectious bacteria. Therefore, removing them from your property becomes inevitable.

Today, fortunately, getting rid of mice has become pretty easy. One can use traps having taut springs to either snap-off their heads or one can lay poison for them. Another humane approach, however, is to trap and then release these mice in the wild.

how to get rid of mice

Following are Some Tips With Which You Can Easily Deal With Household Mice:

1. Placing live mousetraps with an edible item at strategic locations is probably the most tried and tested mice control method. One can set their trap near a wall with the bait's end near an access point. Also, remember to check these traps daily so that you can release the caught mice away from your house.

2. One can also make use of a good quality mouse repellent that's available nowadays. Spray it around your garage's perimeter so as to prevent new mice from coming inside. These effective mouse repellents won't just drive them away from the garage but will kill them too.

3. Pet owners and parents of small kids are always doubtful of such mouse repellents. In that case, you can make your own homely mixture which mice happen to hate. One tablespoon of hot pepper sauce, ¼ cup laundry detergent and at least gallon water if sprayed around the garage will always keep mice away.

4. Prevention against new infestations is extremely important. Therefore, if you see any holes in your garage's walls or its door, fix them immediately using wood, caulk or a patching compound. Seal all sorts of holes since mice can come from small openings too.

5. Nowadays, one can also avail ultrasonic repellents for preventing mice infestation. They are an eco-friendly and extremely effective solution against the entry of mice in garages. Such repellents produce a sound that's inaudible to humans, but is painful for mice. It prevents new infestations and also drives away existing mice.

Mouse control seems like a daunting task on the personal front; however, one can get rid of them permanently if he/she follows the above mentioned tips religiously. Moreover, one must always stay extra cautious with rat poisons and repellents in case you have small kids and pets.

Ecology & Behavior of Roof Rats

Like Norway rats and native rats, roof rats are nocturnal (active at night). The most significant behavioral difference between the species, which has implications for control methods, is the aerial nature of roof rats. Roof rats prefer to forage for food above ground in elevated areas indoors and outdoors. They are agile climbers and travel through trees and along vines, wires, rafters, and rooftops. They often use trees and utility lines to reach food and to enter buildings, but can also be found foraging in dense ground cover. Like Norway rats, roof rats can swim and may use sewer systems to disperse to new areas.

Roof rats may nest in your neighbor’s yard but find food in your yard. Outdoors, they can travel several hundred feet in a single night to find their survival resources. They prefer to nest in secluded areas above ground in such places as attics, soffits, overhead garage storage, in the vine cover of fences or buildings, and in wood piles or other stored materials where harborage can be found. They favor dense non-deciduous trees or trees with hollow cavities and the crowns of palm trees, especially when old fronds are not removed. Roof rats sometime burrow in the ground especially in hot, dry environments. In these areas, they may use trees, materials stored on the ground, concrete slabs and sidewalks to support shallow

Roof rats have a high reproductive potential and may breed year-round in warmer areas. Females produce 5 to 8 pups per litter with a possible 4 to 5 litters per year.

Food Habits

Roof rats are omnivores (plant- and animal-eating). They are very fond of fruit, especially oranges (Figure 2). In addition to citrus they will feed on fruit-producing ornamentals, dates, stored food, birdseed in feeders, insects, snails, and garbage. These rats will also feed on stored food and livestock feed and will contaminate much more than they actually eat. They obtain much of their water requirement from their food, but unless their diet includes a sufficient amount of succulent plant material,they will require a source of free water such as landscape irrigation.

Roof rats generally begin searching for food shortly after sunset. These rats may cache or hoard considerable amounts of solid food, which they will eat later. These food caches may be located in attics, in dense vegetation such as hedges, or in a variety of other hiding places generally near their nests.

Roof Rat Signs

Roof rat signs include smudge marks on surfaces from oil and dirt rubbing off their fur as they travel (Figure 3). Because of their propensity to climb, look for these smudges up high on structures, e.g. between rafters, as opposed to marks along walls near the floor which could be made by other rodent species. Because they are often living overhead, between floors or above false ceilings, there is less tendency to see signs of roof rat tracks, urine, and droppings.