Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and we earn a small commission when you make a purchase or take action after clicking these links.
Rats pose a huge concern for your household. Their teeth are strong enough to cut through plastic, wood, and concrete, causing expensive structural damage to your home. They can get into your pantry, contaminating your food with their hair, urine, and feces. And they can even infect you and your household with diseases like leptospirosis and hantavirus.
Should you find that your house has rats, it’s important to get rid of all of them as soon as possible. There are a variety of ways to do it: from more humane ones like catching rats and releasing them far away from your home, to more faster ways that involve killing rats, to more expensive means like hiring a professional exterminator.
It’s best to weigh out all your possible options and see what you prefer the most. Here are the different ways to get rid of rats.
The most common and most affordable method of getting rid of rats, there are plenty of rat trap types. You can buy them in your local supermarket, hardware store, or online. Place your rat traps in out-of-the-way locations near areas where you suspect rats to frequent. Be sure to keep your rat traps away from areas pets or small children can get to it.
Also, be sure to check on your rat traps frequently. Some rat traps aren’t meant to hold rats for a long time, and a rat could escape if not released or taken out in time. Other rat traps kill a rat instantly, and a dead rat body could result in pests like flies and maggots.
One of the cheapest traps in the market, these snap traps require bait like a piece of food. When a rat tries to reach for the food by stepping on the trap, the trap snaps closed on the rat’s neck.
Be sure to buy larger mouse traps if you want to be humane and kill the rats quickly. Smaller, less strong snap traps can lead to fatal injuries that will take a long time for a rat to die. This will put the rat in an unnecessarily painful and cruel position.
The most humane trap on this list, these live traps ensure that rats do not die when they are caught. These traps allow rats to enter through a small hole, but once they enter, a sensitive touch mechanism snaps shut and the rat is unable to get out of the trap.
Check on these rat traps often, as leaving them in the cage for a long time can kill them by hunger or dehydration, which is inhumane. Once caught, you have the option to kill rats humanely by giving them a quick death. Or, you can opt to release them far away from your home in a place where they won’t harm others.
Electric Rat Traps
Similar to the live traps, electronic rat traps serve as a trap that allows rats to enter but not escape. However, once the rat is trapped, it releases a humane high-voltage shock that instantly kills a rat.
This rat trap is great because it has an automatic indicator if there is a rat inside. Because of this, you can quickly dispose of the rats’ bodies without seeing or touching the body. It’s as simple as attaching batteries, inserting bait into the inner cup, placing it in a location where rats frequent and turning it on. Because of its electric nature, however, it’s only recommended for use indoors.
These are similar to flypaper, but avoid using flypaper to catch rats as it can be easy for larger rats to escape or drag flypaper away from its spot. Low-quality glueboards may also be just as ineffective with larger rats that can pull themselves from the glue.
However, smaller rats may be caught with glueboard traps. Be sure to check on your glueboard trap often for captured rats. From there, you can choose to kill it humanely or release it into the wild.
Also known as rat poison, this is usually recommended only if there is a high population of rats in your home. If there are only one or two rats, it may be safer and more practical to just use rat traps to get rid of rats. Rat poison is available in your hardware store or online, but take note that your local laws and EPA regulations may limit the kinds of rodenticides you can use at home.
Place rodenticides near areas where they frequent. Keep rodenticides away from your food or within reach of pets and children.
Peppermint essential oils can be bought at local drugstores, supermarkets, or online. While it’s harmless to humans, the scent of peppermint is so strong that, if rats inhaled pure peppermint oil for prolonged periods of time, it will shrink their lungs and eventually kill them.
If you want to use it to ward off rats, simply use peppermint oil in a diffuser to make your home smell like peppermint. Or, mix peppermint with water to dilute the scent and then, using a spray bottle, spritz it in areas where rats frequent your home. You can also place cotton balls soaked with water and peppermint oil in these areas.
Because rain and other outdoor scents can cancel out the scent of peppermint oil, this solution may be best for indoor use only.
Hire a Professional Exterminator
If you find that the rat population in your home has become a health and safety hazard and simple traps aren’t an effective solution, it may be time to call in a professional rat exterminator to get rid of all the rats in your home.
The cost of a professional rat exterminator can range between $100 to $500, depending on how severe the infestation is. For larger homes with severe rat infestations, it may even reach upwards of $1,000 to ensure all rats are killed and captured.
Prevention Is Better Than the Cure
Even if you don’t have a rat problem, it’s better to prepare your home so that it doesn’t become vulnerable to a rat infestation. There are several ways to ensure rats aren’t drawn to nesting in your home.
- Keep your house clean. If your home is full of crumbs and clutter, it can be a thriving breeding ground for rodents and other pests. If your house already has rats, keeping your house clean can prevent more rats and other pests from nesting and will make it harder for rats to survive in your home. This also includes placing dirty clothes in the laundry, making sure all dishes are clean before going to bed, and removing unnecessary clutter.
- Take out the trash regularly. Smelly garbage inside the home is one of the reasons that are attracting rats into your home. Take the trash out regularly, and clean your indoor trash bins if it starts to smell bad. Invest in a durable trashbin that can trap the scent of garbage in to prevent attracting rats and other pests from trying to rummage through your trash.
- Check for vulnerable spots where rats can enter. Check for holes in your walls and floors, and even broken windows. These can be vulnerable spots in your home where rats can enter.
Having a rat infestation in your home can risk your health and the state of your property. There are different ways to have it treated, so find which one best suits your needs and the state of your home. If all else fails, hire a professional to handle the infestation and then take steps to ensure your home is not vulnerable to rats or any other type of pests again.