Rats can move stealthily into your home and start to breed. A colony of rats can spread fleas, diseases, do hidden damage, and leave behind litter and terrible odors. Rats will move into your dwelling because it provides them two basic needs: food and shelter. Due to the risk that rats can have on your personal wellness, here's how to solve your rat problems quickly.

Sanitation

Don't provide them anything to eat inside or around your home. Be certain that all trash is cleaned up and disposed of in a tightly-sealed bin. Don't leave any food out at night outside or inside the house. Identify and fix any plumbing or irrigation leaks that could be providing them with a fresh water source. If you have fruit or nut trees or berry plants, make sure they are planted well away from the house and that any excess is disposed of instead of left on the ground.

Exclusion

The next step is to deny them shelter. Look around your foundation for any gaps that might give them access. Any opening of 1/2 inch or bigger should be sealed up or closed off with fine wire mesh. Check inside the house, as well, particularly around plumbing openings that rats can enlarge by chewing. Close off possible entry points with expanding foam products and chemically treated wood. Install solid baseboards.

Trapping

If your home is already infested, you may want to set traps at identified entry points. There are several alternatives for traps. Be aware that traditional rat traps are capable of injuring fingers. Rats are also cautious and resourceful. When setting traps, be patient, and try to arrange them so that the rat is directed to the business end of the trap. Don't use soft baits like peanut butter that they could nibble away without springing the trap.

Baiting

You can buy poisoned bait blocks that rats will chew on or even carry back to the nest. If you have small children or pets on the loose, keep those bait blocks in places they can't reach. Your safest and most effective solution would be a professional exterminator, such as one from A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc, who can evaluate your unique situation and provide natural bait products that rats love, but that help to keep your pets and family safe.

Even a single rat may eventually lead to an entire colony if you allow rat-friendly conditions. Once they're in, they aren't easy to get rid of short of fumigation because you can never be sure how many there are.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.