Can't seem to get rid of rat

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Old 08-30-18, 07:24 AM
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Can't seem to get rid of rat

I saw a rat in my kitchen around a month ago.

-I setup glue traps and one got him, but he got out of it and I found the trap 20 feet away from its original location.

-I setup snap rat traps baited with various things I read worked (cereal, granola bar, peanut butter, cheese) in the areas I've seen/heard it. No luck.

-I used steel wool and expanding foam to close any holes I could find anywhere.

-I "locked" up all food items. It had gotten into rice, pasta, etc. in the pantry. I believe any food is now inaccessible to the rat. We clean up after dinner and don't leave food out.

I am somewhat at wits end. It has been under the kitchen island making tons of noise for several nights now. There was a hole under the sink where the plumbing came up from the garage. I shoved steel wool in there and went crazy with foam. I think the rat has been working on trying to break that hole open.

I really don't want to poison it and have it die in a wall or something. Any other suggestions? It is so frustrating knowing where it is and sitting and hearing it for hours and not being able to do anything about it.

I think it might have come in when bringing in groceries or something and not through a hole.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 08:45 AM
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Keeping setting the traps and freshen the bait as needed. Can you set traps on the other side of where you suspect he's getting in?
 
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Old 08-30-18, 08:48 AM
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I have traps on both sides of the island. I also have a couple traps near the pantry where I think he might hide behind the washer/dryer.

I also setup two traps on a shelf in the pantry where I know he ate stuff before. I put crumpled up paper and some other stuff around that trap to try and disguise it.

I wore gloves when setting up the traps to avoid my scent being on the traps.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 08:51 AM
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I am debating if I should remove the toe kicks from the island (easily done). I was also thinking of shining a work light under there at night to deter it. On the other hand, I know they are aware of changes to their environment and I'd have to move some of the traps.

I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea. My concern is they move to some other part of the house that I don't want them (the bedrooms).
 
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Old 08-30-18, 08:54 AM
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Does the island have any electrical or plumbing? If not, it should be setting on solid flooring.
As far as I know mice/rats tend to concentrate on where the food/water is although they can nest elsewhere.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Does the island have any electrical or plumbing? If not, it should be setting on solid flooring.
As far as I know mice/rats tend to concentrate on where the food/water is although they can nest elsewhere.
The island has electrical and plumbing. The toe kicks though provide enough room for it to get in and out. The one time I saw it, it entered at the top of the toe kick (there is a 1/4" to 1/2" gap at the top of the toe kick).
 
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Old 08-30-18, 09:17 AM
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In that case I'd consider removing the toe kick for awhile and placing a trap under the island.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
In that case I'd consider removing the toe kick for awhile and placing a trap under the island.
Okay. Thanks. I got the toe kicks off. Can't imagine what it is doing to make noise for hours on end. I don't see anything chewed or going on. I'll setup some traps under there.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 09:39 AM
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Mice have always sounded loud to me in the middle of the night when everything else is quiet. Rats are harder to get rid of than mice but keeping after it helps the most. Our pest guy ought to be around later and he'll have better expert advice for you
 
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Old 08-30-18, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Mice have always sounded loud to me in the middle of the night when everything else is quiet. Rats are harder to get rid of than mice but keeping after it helps the most. Our pest guy ought to be around later and he'll have better expert advice for you
Okay. Thanks

It sounded like it was trying to chew/claw through something. It was quite loud- not like just moving around sounds. I took the dishwasher out and looked really well with a flashlight. There are no holes under there except around the plumbing and that is covered in foam. I thought maybe it was trying to get rid of the foam, but no evidence of that.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 11:55 AM
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Rats will grind through wood if they want to get to their food. Known to grind through led pipes. They are known to climb up the toilets, through siphon and water in it.
I have chicken farm, that comes with rats as a given.
Good intentions. I respect them.
Poison works great.
Btw, do you have basement or crawl in? It needs to go there too.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ukrbyk View Post
Rats will grind through wood if they want to get to their food. Known to grind through led pipes. They are known to climb up the toilets, through siphon and water in it.
I have chicken farm, that comes with rats as a given.
Good intentions. I respect them.
Poison works great.
Btw, do you have basement or crawl in? It needs to go there too.
I don't have an attic or basement. It is actually a townhouse and I am separated from my neighbors on the sides with a cement block wall. The building isn't that old either so there aren't a lot of holes/gaps. There is an attached garage. I hit all the holes I could find (mostly around pipes) with spray foam there.

I heard it in my bathroom vanity (I believe). I shoved steel wool tightly around the drainpipe and haven't heard it there lately.

It tried to drag some curtains into the side of an entertainment center through a hole on the side. It made a lot of holes in the curtains. I shoved steel wool in that hole too.

I think I am going to setup a motion sensing camera to get a better idea of where it is going to/doing/coming from. I think it is going behind my washer/dryer in my pantry (in the kitchen) and need to move them and see what's going on, but that is a PITA because there is a counter on top of it with microwave and other stuff on it.
 
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Old 08-30-18, 04:59 PM
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Some pest control operators use traps as their preferred method. One tactic that they use is called "pre-baiting". In order to get a trap shy rat to take the bait, they will place bait in unset snap traps so that the rat will get over its shyness and get a little complacent. When the operator feels the time is right, they will use same bait but set the trap. Since you've had some trap activity with your rat, you may want to consider just placing the bait on the floor on wax paper before placing it on unset traps and then on the set traps.

This rat may simply be living in your house but feeding/drinking elsewhere. Rats will do that whereas mice want to live close to their food. Does your neighbor have a pet? Rats are notorious for getting pet food in spite of the pet.
 
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Old 08-31-18, 08:54 AM
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I did read about pre-baiting. Thinking I wanted to get the rat fast, I didn't do it. Maybe it would have been worth trying.

I did place a bunch of food on the kitchen floor near where I knew it traveled. This was to see if it was gone. It didn't eat the food. I thought it was gone, but turned up days later. I'm not sure if it left and came back or just ignored the food. I used packaged gnocchi as I knew it liked it as it ate 2 pounds of it in my pantry.
 
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Old 09-01-18, 09:04 AM
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I failed to mention yesterday that rats are "neophobic" meaning fear of new things. They will observe and avoid new things until they feel safe. The younger the rat the less neophobic. Mice do not share that trait.

It sounds like you are doing good things; it's rarely easy with rats. Keep trying and you'll learn more and have success.
 
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Old 09-01-18, 04:18 PM
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After about 5 nights of sounds coming from under the island, nothing last night. I think it might be in the garage ceiling (below the kitchen) trying to open up the hole I closed with steel wool and foam). The sounds were loud....like it was chewing wood.

A few questions:

-It has been working on this closed hole for at least 15 hours. Would it really take a rat that long to get through steel wool and spray foam? It sounds like a human with a screwdriver trying to get through a hardwood floor. I'm concerned it could be destroying something else under there (plumbing, electrical).

-This might sound silly and probably does not have an exact answer, but how do you know if it is really gone? I moved any food it could get into to a safe place. This is not convenient, but was obviously necessary. How many days would you wait for not seeing/hearing it to move things back to normal?

-Should I consider a strobe light in my kitchen? I've read they don't like them. This would not be permanent, but something I turn on at night for a few weeks.

-Is it normal for them to chew/create new paths in if there are already existing paths into a space? I am wondering if it is working under my island to get back in because there is no where else for it to get back in or if it just wants that hole open.
 

Last edited by michaeljc70; 09-01-18 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 09-02-18, 09:45 AM
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I can't imagine that it couldn't chew its way out rather easily. I'm wondering what it could be doing down there. I'm hoping this doesn't resort to having to removing garage ceiling underneath island.

I've never heard of strobe lights being used. How would the rat be affected by them if he's under/inside the floor voids anyway?

As far as knowing when it is gone, unless you have a body to show and are sure there are no more, then only time and lack of evidence will tell. Not a good answer, I know. Three or four days with no evidence would make me optimistic, but reserved as if it gets chased out of its new harborage it may return to a familiar place.

Since the garage is underneath, have you thoroughly inspected for rodent evidence down there? Might be a clue or something helpful.

How about a thorough inspection of exterior perimeter where foundation wall meets the soil, specifically looking for holes/openings/burrows?
 
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Old 09-02-18, 09:56 AM
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I did inspect outside and don't see any places it could get in.

In the attached garage, there were many holes around pipes going into the ceiling and an electrical outlet on the wall that had a big gap. I steel wooled and foamed the bigger ones. I am going to do the smaller ones too just to be sure. I am not sure if it can get through the garage overhead door when closed. It doesn't seal perfectly tight and probably not much I can do about that.

I saw it upstairs last night in the master bedroom. I closed 2 holes in the wall in there (they were to feed cables to the tv).

There is big gap in the guest bathroom around the plumbing from when I put in a new vanity. I am going to work on that too.

I am under the impression they prefer to travel out of site in places like floors/walls and by closing any hole I can find I am hoping it will choose to move on. I remodeled pretty much the entire place, so I know where most of the holes/gaps are.

I moved a trap upstairs. Maybe I need to move more. The rest are in the kitchen now. Given how they notice changes to their environment, I hate to keep moving stuff around.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 11:02 AM
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About 10 days ago, I came home and a trap in the kitchen had been flipped but nothing in it or sign of hair, blood, etc. However, several days ago there was an odd smell in the kitchen. I couldn't find the source. I am pretty sure the rat is dead somewhere. I never used poison. I am finding an unusual number of flies in the house and have killed many very small maggots on my kitchen floor.

I guess I just have to wait out the smell, flies and maggots. The only thing I can think to do is get an indoor bug zapper for when the number of flies builds.
 
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Old 09-12-18, 03:25 PM
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It's possible that the trap simply went off on its own. Also possible that it ran across the wrong end of trap and got thrown, injured and then died. It does sound like you have a dead rodent nearby. Time will solve this; I know it's not a good answer. Hopefully this will be the last of this entire issue.
 
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