With more than 20 types of rodents in British Columbia, it should come as no surprise that most homeowners will encounter rats and/or mice from time to time.
Rats can chew through insulation, sidings, and wallboard causing physical damage to your home and they also eat a range of stored foods.
Rats and mice will enter your home because they are looking for food and shelter.
They can squeeze through small openings and will often chew through structures to gain entry to your home.
One of the best ways to avoid problems with rodents is prevention.
You can start to make your home rodent-proof by sealing openings that may exist around plumbing and air conditioning pipes, replace broken soffit vents, install rodent covers over vents, and repair holes in your soffit and eaves.
Indeed, any opening from as small as a quarter of an inch should be covered to prevent rodents from entering your home.
Unfortunately, once rats have entered, options for removal are restricted to killing or trapping them.
Because rodents reproduce frequently, they can be especially difficult to eliminate.
Even if you do not see rodents, evidence of their presence can be seen such as their droppings.
So, if you have seen droppings around your home, you are likely to have rats, mice, or other rodents living in your attic, garage, or other secluded areas of your house.
The best way to catch them is to bait several traps with dried fruit, peanut butter, or cheese.
You should try to find signs of the rats first and determine where they are travelling.
Traps should be set at right angles to walls where rats frequent.
When disposing of a trapped rodent, be sure to wear gloves and wrap the dead rat in plastic before placing it in the garbage.
Rats and mice carry disease so you should be very careful when handling them.
There are also live traps available that will not harm the rodent, but you will have to consider what to do with a live rodent after it is caught.
Do not release them near your home as they will find their way back in.
Generally speaking, it is not recommended to use poison to kill rats.
Poisoned rats can crawl away, die and it can be difficult to find them before they cause an odour problem.
Furthermore, rat poison is also dangerous for pets, wild animals, and even children.
If using rodenticides they should be placed where other animals and children can not access it or place in tamper-resistant bait stations.
For rats traps and prevention are your best bet.
Be sure to eliminate all food and water sources as well as limiting hiding and living places.
In many cases, trapping and killing rats in your home will be more difficult than you expect because rats breed so quickly.
If you have unsuccessfully attempted to rid your home of attic rats, it is probably time to call a professional pest control expert.