Rat problem in my old house


Old 06-25-18, 02:16 AM
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Rat problem in my old house

Hi. I'm hoping someone can help us. We have a rather large & completely out of control rat problem in our old 1921 house. We've spent hundreds on pest control services, baits, snap traps, & even electronic devices. All have failed. They avoid the baits even when mixed with enticing snacks. They electronic devices don't work at all. Snap traps worked for exactly 2 days then never again, even when moved. They're in the walls, the attic, under the bottom cabinets. Every time we find holes & repair them they chew new holes or just chew through our repairs. I've tried peppermint oil, various plants, etc. I've counted at least a dozen but I'm sure there are more. They're bold. They'll stand & look right at us or run up to us. And they get into everything. We've put all our pet foods in plastic containers that they've just eaten through. I put things up high like the top of the fridge, but they just find a way to climb. Please help! They're destroying my house, torturing my pets, & driving us crazy.
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Old 06-25-18, 12:51 PM
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Do you have any idea as to what their current food and water source is?

Did the pest control services catch rats in snap traps?

Did the rats eat any of the rodenticides? If so, what type of bait was it? Meal, blocks, pellets?

Do you see rodent burrows around exterior of house? Are their outbuildings?

Any livestock, chickens/ducks, pets living outside?

Do you have neighbors close by and if so, are they having rat issues?

Have you tried bacon in a snap trap? That was a bait that would sometimes get a trap shy rat.
Old 06-25-18, 03:09 PM
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Time to go to the pet shelter and adopt a Terrier (or two). Or a cat, a large barn cat "mouser".

About 15 years ago, our neighbor lost their horse, when they purged their stable, we had a family of rats move in. Was a real pain getting rid of them.

First point - cats and dogs.
Prior to "funny cat videos" pets were domesticated because they were working animals,
just like sheep(wool), cows(milk), horses(transport). Cats kill mice, Terriers kill rats.
Go adopt a Terrier. And, buy some foaming carpet cleaner.
Be aware that having "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" play out at 1 am on your living room carpet isn't pretty, but it's necessary.

Second point - shut down the free food.
If they're not taking baited trapts, it's because they're not hungry enough.
The food might be inside (cabinets and pantry) or outside (local garbage cans) but any animanl that passes up free food does so because it's not hungry.

Third point - home.
Any mouse / vole / rat / whatever has a nest, a place to rest. You want to make that space unconfortable to them. Old fashioned napthalene mothballs are surprisingly effective.
Find a hole? Drop mothballs in, plug with thin toilet paper, set a trap infront. Repeat as necessary.
Old 06-27-18, 01:34 AM
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Hal_S: I have a doberman and a pit/dingo mix that catch & kill, but these rodents are getting clever. The dogs will run to each of the spots where they know the rats often congregate, all day & night long - barely sleeping or eating, just rat hunting. And we have many neighborhood cats that spend time hanging around our house, along with some rather large rat snakes. As much as I don't care for snakes, I leave them alone; they've helped with the field mouse population but not the rats. We tried the moth balls. I put them EVERYWHERE. I plugged holes with various items after tossing in moth balls; paper towel, expanding foam, even aluminum foil & expanding foam. I check the spots to find the holes unplugged & shredding foil piles. We have repaired numerous holes, even going so far as to use a sheet of thin metal from Home Depot & just painting over it. It took them longer but they just went around it & made a new hole right next to it. I discovered yesterday they chewed the cord to my dishwasher. The only safe place I have to store things is inside the fridge, inside the oven, or in my upper cabinets.

PAbugman: we're out in the country; our backyard is roughly 3 acres that backs to the neighbors hundreds of acres of grazing land for cows; his barn is at the opposite end of his property approximately 50 acres away. We keep the grass cut & the brush minimal with the exception of the fence line that divides us from the side neighbors that contains a few bushes & very young trees; I have a small tree near the house & one flowering bush near the house. We used two different local pest services; one used some form of granule pellet bait, while the other used chunks that he placed in some sort of station box. I purchased bromethalin pellets after the pest services' efforts weren't working; it worked great for about 2 weeks. I noticed a drop in activity. But then it just got worse. The neighbors to the side of us seemed to have field mouse issues last year, but I don't know about currently & I don't think it included rats. I have no idea where there water source is; they don't get near the dog bowls because I place them in the open near the dogs. I have tried home remedies (some of which actually worked during the field mouse fiasco) like the pure peppermint oil, moth balls, & they don't seem to like marigolds too well either. But those methods don't work anymore & it isn't feasible to scatter marigold plants over every inch of my house. I could care less if they run rampant in & out of the access space under the house; there's literally only a foot of clearance between beams & dirt so getting in there would mean ripping up the floor in the bathroom - again. I just want them out of my house.

I am seriously fighting a losing battle here. I have renovation plans for this house, but I can't do much for another year or two when we can get a mortgage & construction loan. I won't have a house left to renovate at the rate these turds are going.
Old 06-27-18, 09:04 AM
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Somebody has to figure out what they are eating and drinking as they are eating and drinking freely close by or they wouldn't be staying there. If/when those sources can be minimized, then proper use of rodenticide and the proper amount, will be more effective.

In this part of the country, the bait blocks are popular but the newer "soft baits" are eagerly accepted by rodents. Using these baits around dogs, even in the proper bait stations, is risky though, as sometimes rodents will drag the bait out of the stations. The other issue is using the proper amount of rodenticide. If a lot of rodents feed on the bait, then the dosage may not be enough to kill many. It is important for a lot of rodenticide bait to be used. In you answer is sounds like there was one station. If that is the case, then that isn't nearly enough. Maybe putting large quantities of bait in the crawl space would be safer with regards to the dogs. The risk of rodenticide use inside or outside is the odor potential from dead rats. Have you tried snap traps in the crawl space? Try bacon as a bait. Set lots of traps.

A trapping strategy would be to place unset rat traps baited with bacon in crawl so they get used to easily and safely eating the bacon. Once they've been accepting the traps and bacon, then set the traps and the chances of success increase.

I've seen rats comfortably live underneath dog houses and make raids to the dishes. Sometimes they get caught; oftentimes they don't. They are that good.

Covering the holes is fruitless. Rats are burrowers so covering the holes is simply an annoyance.

Di-trac tracking powder applied inside the burrows is an excellent tool for bait/trap shy rodents. It is a restricted use pesticide though, for licensed applicators only. I found it very valuable when working on farms and places where there was no control over competing food and water sources. They simply run through it when entering/exiting burrows and absorb it when preening themselves. Do a search for "di-trac tracking powder" to familiarize yourself with it and check with pest control operators to see if they use it. It is not water soluble so rain and moisture won't affect its toxicity.


Hope this helps.

Last edited by PAbugman; 06-27-18 at 09:06 AM. Reason: internet link
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