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Rats! How these rodents can ruin your day

September 27, 2018

(BPT) - Say you’ve just gotten home after a long day. All you want to do is put your feet up, but you notice what looks like rodent droppings on the floor, find evidence of something having nibbled at the food in your kitchen and … what is that scrabbling sound coming from inside your walls? You may feel like panicking at the thought of rats in your home, but a little knowledge about these rodents can go a long way toward preparing you for what to do in the event of an infestation. The experts at Terminix have the answers to some important questions homeowners might have about these particular pests.

Are all rats the same?

While they can all cause damage to your home, not all rats are created equal. The main difference lies in their behavior and general geographic location. Roof rats, for example, are found mainly along the coastal regions and port cities in the U.S. These rats are excellent climbers, and are known to use overhanging tree branches or vines to get into a house. Norway rats are a separate species that are more likely to enter your home from the ground floor.

Where do rats hide?

Rats don’t need an open door to make their way into your home. In fact, they can fit through a hole as small as a quarter. Don’t start measuring holes with coins, though — a rat can use its strong teeth to widen a hole that’s too small to fit through. Once inside, the type of rat you’re dealing with impacts where the rodents will hide. Norway rats are more likely to nest on the ground floor of your home or inside crawl spaces, while roof rats are more likely to be found nesting in attics. But rats aren’t picky, and you could find them in stranger places such as chimneys or in old furniture.

What dangers does a rat infestation present?

Make no mistake — the rat that winds up in your house isn’t the cute-but-cunning character of cartoons and imagination. In reality, the rodents present multiple dangers to your health and to your home. Not only can rats damage electrical wiring, wooden beams, insulation and food stores, they can also carry pathogens that may transmit diseases to humans, such as hantavirus. These pathogens can be transmitted and even become airborne through urine and droppings, meaning that you could be exposed to disease without ever seeing the rat itself! Because of this, you should never disturb a rodent nest, and instead allow a rodent control professional to handle it.

How can you get rid of a rat infestation?

Ideally, you’ll prevent rats from entering your home in the first place through methods such as inspecting possible entry points and trimming back trees and shrubbery. But prevention isn’t always possible, even for the most diligent homeowner. If rats do make it into your home, contact a pest control provider such as Terminix. Trained technicians can help diagnose what kind of rat you’re dealing with and come up with a treatment plan.

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