A survey from the NPMA (National Pest Management Association) found nearly half of all rat infestations happen in the fall and winter months.
As temperatures cool, especially overnight, rats look for warm sheltered spots with access to food and water, in which to set up residence. Will it be your house this time?
These are not tidy guests. Rats urinate and defecate on everything, tear up furnishings, gnaw on wood (damage a structure) and electrical wiring (fire hazard), and bring fleas, ticks and lice, and the possibility of sickness and disease with them.
It’s much easier and less costly to prevent a rat infestation than to remove them after they’ve turned your home into their new living quarters.
- Secure your home. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent mice and rats from using easy entry ways. Pay special attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Don’t build rodent attractions near your home. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground. Keep shrubs and trees cut back from the house.
- Make sure your home isn’t rodent-friendly. Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep areas clear, and store boxes off of the floor. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Keep food in rodent-proof containers.
- If you suspect an infestation, contact a pest professional. Hiring a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem is the most effective solution to eliminate rodent infestations.
- An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole as small as the size of a quarter.
- Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
- Rats have strong teeth. They can chew through glass, cinderblock, wire, aluminum and lead.
- Smell, taste, touch and sound help direct them to their food sources.
- Rats are also responsible for spreading bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Death”. Although fleas are primarily responsible for infecting humans, they were originally infected with the plague by feeding on the blood of rats.
Really scary fact: Dead Rats Walking …..
Oxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite whose life cycle can only be completed in the body of a cat. Rats can carry it, but it needs a cat to survive. And the way it finds a host is ingenious – rats who become infected suffer a change in their brain chemistry which causes them to become attracted to, rather than fearful of the scent of cats. Obviously, these rats don’t live long lives. Humans can also contract toxoplasmosis – some estimates indicate 1/3 of the world’s population has it. Occasionally fatal, it is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women (which is why women are told to avoid cat litter boxes when they are expecting). Toxoplasmosis has also been linked to many other ailments, including schizophrenia.