How to fight rats

Tired of rats? Become rat-free with our guide with tips for effective control of rats in the home, in the basement and in the attic.

When we talk about rats in Europe, we are often talking about the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) - perhaps better known as the wandering rat. It is found in most of the country, minus some islands. In very rare cases, you can also come across the other species of rat here at home, the house rat (rattus rattus), an otherwise fantastic name in Latin... The house rat is also known as the black rat or the plague rat. Several hundred years ago, it was the other way around - but since then the brown rat has supplanted the house rat. As the house rat is so rare in Northern Europe, the following will primarily focus on the brown rat.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE RAT

The species (Rattus norvegicus) measures 45 cm as an adult, of which approximately 20 cm is its tail. It typically weighs between 250-300 grams in the male, while the female weighs slightly less. The record in this country for catching rats was a brown rat of 545 grams. And yes, it was a male rat... :)

The color of the rat can vary quite a lot. Typically, the upper side is dark or grey-brown. Whereas the underside goes from whitish to solid gray. In "warmer" winters and inside buildings, rats can reproduce all year round. On average, the rat has 3-5 litters per year, each of which contains between 4-12 rat pups. Rats are ready for breeding when the weight is close to 150 grams – typically when they are 90 days old. Gestation lasts 22 days. The brown rat's lifespan is typically 2 years. So during the rat's life, it can have about 50 rat pups. Not to mention that it can be teeming with rats in many areas. The rat's breeding nest consists of small collected fragments of e.g. straw, paper, plastic and much more.

The brown rat eats everything it can get its hands on! However, it usually prefers cereal products. It eats daily - equivalent to approx. one tenth of its weight. Unlike mice, which can easily live in dry places, the rat must have continuous access to drinking water. The rat is relatively mobile, which means that it climbs and swims quite well. However, its most important tool is its large front teeth, which can gnaw through almost anything if it is patient enough.

THAT'S WHY RATS MUST BE FIGHTED

Rats can predict large losses in value by the rat eating, destroying or spoiling massive amounts of food and feed. In addition, it can also damage buildings, especially when it gnaws at electrical installations. There are cases where a rat infestation has caused fires in buildings. At the same time, rats often carry a dangerous cocktail as they are highly infectious, which can be transmitted via its urine and excrement. Rats and mice are probably also the biggest factor in serious cases of food poisoning - due to salmonella bacteria.

THIS IS HOW YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RATS AND MICE

It can be difficult for many to decide whether it is a mouse or a rat. This is especially true when it comes to the large collared mice and rat pups. The rat can be recognized by its almost naked and scaly tail, which is stronger and more fleshy - especially at the root. While the mouse's is more hairy. Rat pups can also be recognized by their more "puppy" and large paws as well as their large heads and grayish fur. If you haven't seen the animal, you can often identify it based on its marks.

TIP: Place a good slice of margarine where the rat or mouse typically stays. After a few days, you can check teeth marks in the margarine. The rat's teeth will leave a tooth track up to 3 mm. In addition, you can also look for the rodents' extremities. The mice leave their extremities scattered, while the rats often collect theirs in selected places.

If you hear noises from the attic, you should note that these sounds can also originate from a housewife, especially if you live outside the cities. If you hear a strong grunt as well as squeals and screams from the ceiling, it is most likely rats. If it is a marten, you will be able to find remains of birds and other prey in the attic as well as 8-10 cm long extremities, and therefore significantly longer than the rat itself.

HOW TO FIGHT RATS

The fight against rats is a municipal matter, as confirmed by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy's executive order no. 611 of 23 June 2001. The executive order made it clear that the municipalities must be responsible for the actual fight against rats, while it is the homeowner's duty to ensure that the buildings are in a safe condition condition and secured against rats. In addition, the home owner must ensure that the building is in such a condition that there are no good conditions for rats.

Cf. the executive order, all properties in country zones are visited by the rat exterminator twice a year. While properties in the city zone only get visitors if they make a report to the municipality about rat infestation. In all cases where you find rats, you must contact Technical Management as soon as possible, and they will guide you on what to do next. If you live in the countryside, it is almost impossible to avoid rats, as they have optimal living conditions here. Please note that the control of rats with chemical agents may only be done by authorized personnel.

Do you have rats in your home? You should only use poison or other chemical products in very rare cases. This is because dead rats stink, and the smell will mean a significant increase in maggots and blowflies. Instead, you have to find the rats' access to the house. Typically this is due to a fault in the drainage system. Once you have identified the entry point you should set up traps to catch the rats. It is also important that you close off access for the rats, for example with a strong grid or similar. If you simply kill the rats, you can expect that new rats will soon come and take their place.

Do you have rats under the floor? Could it be due to broken ventilation ducts or defective basement windows. However, this is again often due to problems with the drainage from the house's bath, kitchen or toilet. To fight the rats here, the municipalities will in several cases be able to offer control with smoke cartridges and thereby find out where the fault is without having to break up the floor.

CATCHING RATS

There are quite a few different traps for catching rats. In the vast majority of cases, a snap trap will be the best and cheapest solution. The trap should be placed against a wall, as the rats always run along the walls. Therefore, do not place the trap in the middle of the floor, as the rats do not stay here. As bait, you can use food scraps such as bread, raisins or sausage. With us, you can also find effective bait here. Please also note that it is important that the bait must be set thoroughly to ensure effective catching. Also, set the trigger so that it snaps at the slightest touch. The trigger mechanism can usually be adjusted with a strut puller.

You should set up plenty of traps - and then maintain patience. The traps must be left for a few days before the rats become comfortable with them. Therefore, it is important not to continuously move the traps. When a trap has caught a rat, you should not wash the trap afterwards, as this will make the trap less suitable for catching new rats with the same trap.

PREVENTIVE PROTECTION AGAINST RATS

Use electronic scarers with ultrasound to secure against new rats in the area. It is important that you only use rat repellants after you have dealt with rats that already live in the area. Rat deterrents are used to ensure that rats do not take up residence in the protected area. The scarers are equipped with ultrasound, which makes the area uncomfortable for the rats. Remember to remove any food sources for the rats, e.g. grain or similar. Because if the rats have to choose between discomfort and hunger, then the rats choose discomfort. Therefore, it is important to remove the rat's opportunity for food in the exposed areas. If the rats enter the house or property, it is crucial to have entrance holes and entryways closed with rodenticide. Here you can advantageously use ring netting or stainless steel wool.

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