Rats in attic

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-11-19, 12:23 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Rats in attic

For the second year in a row around this time of year, I have heard rats in the attic. Last year I set some traps up there right near the hatch and caught a few, but they seemed to go away for the summer. I understand I need to find how they are getting in, but my concern is trapping them inside if I do seal any holes. Is there some method of scaring them out first before sealing off any openings and having them trapped inside? The thought of encountering a bunch of them while crawling in the attic doesn't sound too fun either!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-11-19, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 111
I would seal the holes regardless, then set your traps to catch any that are trapped up there. You'll never solve the problem until you can stop them from getting up there. All they need is a hole big enough to get their head thru. The body can squirm the rest of the way.
 
  #3  
Old 01-11-19, 01:21 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,191
Likes Received: 8
Rats or mice? I get mice in my attic every fall/winter. Snap traps always take care of the problem. I keep setting the traps until they are gone. Sometimes it will be just one but other years there will be multiples of them. Not sure if it's feasible to find every access point but do seal the ones you do find.
 
  #4  
Old 01-11-19, 06:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Well, I know they were rats last year because I caught a few in traps. I just assumed they are again rats. Will you hear mice scratching around as much as rats? I have blown insulation so when you hear them, they must be gnawing or scratching on the trusses then, right? On a separate note, I have some traps set outside and a few got tripped. One did catch a mouse in it by the rear end so I suppose it is possible they could be mice in the attic too. A trap got tripped once, but I didn't think mice would be as noisy.
 
  #5  
Old 01-12-19, 03:32 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,191
Likes Received: 8
While I've had rats in out buildings before I don't recall ever having one in the house. Mice can make a good bit of noise in the attic or even walls in an older house. I've laid awake at night before swearing the little pests were eating the lumber. Rats require a larger snap trap than mice do.
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-19, 04:09 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 1,702
Likes Received: 2
I wholeheartedly agree with getting things sealed up as quickly as possible, meanwhile leaving the traps set, and check and re-bait them as regularly as possible. I assume that you don't know for sure where they are getting in, otherwise you'd already have it sealed, so even if you waived a wand and sent them scurrying you may or may not seal all of their entry points on the first pass. For mice, steel wool, spray foam, duct seal, and things like generally suffice; for rats I would go with something more substantial like solid wood, mortar, steel mesh, or whatever the breech warranted.
 
  #7  
Old 01-12-19, 10:53 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
Can you or someone get in the attic to look for fresh fecal droppings? That should be a way to tell if it's rats or mice. Might be a good idea to inspect for damage from chewing if it is rats.
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-19, 11:27 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Today is a nice day so I am going to go up on the roof and try to check again. I realize they can get through the smallest of holes and can climb vertically, because I actually saw one go up the wall into my garage a while ago which I ended up sealing off. I have heard that rats can get into the walls, but even if they got into a wall from the crawl space, how can they get all the way through that joist channel to the attic? Wouldn't the header at the top of stop them?
 
  #9  
Old 01-12-19, 01:08 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,191
Likes Received: 8
Often there are holes drilled for pipes and wires in the top plate. If the hole is overdrilled there is probably enough room for a mouse to squeeze thru, not sure about a rat.
 
  #10  
Old 01-12-19, 08:23 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Originally Posted by PAbugman View Post
Can you or someone get in the attic to look for fresh fecal droppings? That should be a way to tell if it's rats or mice. Might be a good idea to inspect for damage from chewing if it is rats.
I went up there today and made my way down to where I heard them. While most of the attic has blown in insulation, there is a portion of batt insulation down at the end where I heard them so that makes more sense now. They were probably underneath the insulation which is why I could hear them walking. I still don't know if it is mice or rats. I did see some rat droppings but those could have been from before when I know there were rats because I caught some. I didn't see much else because if it is there, it will probably be in with the insulation where I couldn't see it. I put a piece of plywood up there with 4 snap traps screwed to it and since I don't know their path, I just put up in the middle somewhere and we'll see what happens. Do you think I should put some mouse traps up there as well in case they are mice?
 
  #11  
Old 01-13-19, 12:10 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 3,591
Likes Received: 15
Well, I know they were rats last year because I caught a few in traps.
I still don't know if it is mice or rats
You said you caught one, or some, there is no mistaking rats for mice!

Either way get the traps set, and get the holes sealed!
 
  #12  
Old 01-13-19, 06:37 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
I wouldn't use mouse traps until I was certain that the problem was mice and not rats. If rats set off the mouse trap they won't get caught but will become trap shy and it will be infinitely harder to catch them.

My experience is that rats/squirrels will leave visible tunnels/burrows/scratchings/ etc in the insulation. If you didn't see that, then I'd consider that it is mice which is a good thing. I'd still keep the rats traps set as opposed to mouse traps for now.

When I first started back in the 70's they taught us new guys that to determine if a rat dropping was fresh or old, you gently bite into one. If it snaps in half, then it is old. If your teeth sink in, then it is fresh. The old ways had their value, but I'll take modern training and technology, you understand.!
 
  #13  
Old 01-13-19, 06:39 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
https://www.domyown.com/victor-rat-t...aps-p-223.html


This style of rat trap with the expanded trigger can sometimes catch mice, too.
 
  #14  
Old 01-13-19, 08:38 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
I have too many different kinds of traps! I have some of these because I like how easy they are to set: https://www.amazon.com/Kat-Sense-Eff...rat+trap&psc=1 I noticed some activity in the crawl space last year too (I just have a small crawl space under a room addition) and had seen where they dug under the wall of the crawl space (there is no foundation under this room) so I started setting these traps outside. They got set off a lot without catching anything but I did catch a few rats so who knows if it was just rats tripping them or something else. I did throw a few inside the crawlspace now just to make sure nothing is in there and I caught a mouse by the rear end with one of them so maybe it was just running by. But I have snap traps in the attic now because they seem more reliable.

I have tried both peanut butter and cheese in the past (never both at the same time). Since I have several traps next to each other right now, is it a good idea or bad idea to mix baits?
 
  #15  
Old 01-13-19, 11:20 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 3,591
Likes Received: 15
if a rat dropping was fresh or old, you gently bite into one. If it snaps in half, then it is old. If your teeth sink in, then it is fresh.
That made my day!!

I have tried both peanut butter and cheese
Cheese is for cartoons, PB is the go to bait!
 
  #16  
Old 01-13-19, 01:37 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,777
Likes Received: 5
if a rat dropping was fresh or old, you gently bite into one. If it snaps in half, then it is old. If your teeth sink in, then it is fresh.


That made my day!!

Hahahahahahaha......mine too! I guess I couldn't ever be a bugman, I just cannot get into munching on rat turds.
 
  #17  
Old 01-24-19, 08:54 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
I just wanted to report back on this. I have 5 traps in the attic now and have not caught anything but I suspect they may be getting in by the chimney. I need to redo the chimney because it is a cinder block chimney but there was some wood siding attached and it is falling apart. I have a feeling there might be a gap somewhere where it meets the roof line. Anyways, I put a trap on each side of the chimney where a rat would have to exit out of if that is where they are coming from and after being up there for 2 days, one of the traps was tripped. I am thinking of putting a series of traps where I put that other one. Should I put a board or something over the top of them to keep birds out? Any other ideas?
 
  #18  
Old 01-24-19, 11:41 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
We may want to consider that this may be a bat issue. When you mentioned that wood siding is falling apart at the chimney, that is where my thoughts went. Can you find droppings, leaving them undisturbed, but take a picture for us?
 
  #19  
Old 01-24-19, 01:17 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
No, it is not falling from animals or anything. It was just something that wasn't done right and when I painted the house a few years back, I just removed some of it and left the block exposed. I need to refinish it.
 
  #20  
Old 01-27-19, 10:20 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Hey, I think I may have discovered something. Normally, I hear them in the attic in a particular area of the house. Last night, I could hear them in the wall just below that in the same corner. I will try to explain this as best as I can but I can imagine it is hard to visualize. Anyways, if you read my other post about the crawl space, my house has a basement but there was a room addition to the main floor and that is where I hear rats above that. They were also in the crawl space below. The wall I heard them in was the exterior wall of the original house, but it is now an interior wall because that room was added on if you can visualize that. It makes sense that there may be an opening into that wall from the crawlspace below so when they come to clean that all out, I will be able to see. I can't imagine why there would be an opening at the top of that wall to access the attic though, but we'll see. Anyways, if there is a hole in the crawlspace the leads into that wall, is it a bad idea to seal it right away? I don't want rats to get trapped in the wall or attic. The problem with that portion of the attic is that I can't access all of it. I can get near it, but not to all of it. If I do seal them in, I can set traps throughout the attic. I already have some up there but it is not near where I hear them as I can't get that close. Will they eventually wander the whole attic and find them?
 
  #21  
Old 01-27-19, 01:48 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
I wouldn't seal anything until I was sure that the rats were out. Sealing in mice is one thing, but rats will go nuts and begin chewing their way through drywall or whatever they need to get through, short of metal. They won't be interested in the food in the traps, they will be in survival mode.
 
  #22  
Old 01-27-19, 08:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Thanks for telling me! When they come to clean it out, if there is a hole up to that wall I'll make sure they leave it open.
 
  #23  
Old 01-28-19, 12:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
One more update on this. I placed 3 traps on the roof near the chimney where I thought they may be getting in. The two traps with meat were tripped but the peanut butter one was not. I also had a different type of trap up there last week with cheese and that got tripped. Should I put a box or something over these traps to make sure it isn't raccoons or cats tripping them?
 
  #24  
Old 01-28-19, 02:41 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
If you had cats or raccoons in the attic I'd think that you'd know it as they would be tearing up insulation and making lots of noise, not to mention the odor from fecal/urine material. Otherwise, could mice be setting them off and not getting caught? Also be aware that sometimes traps simply go off by themselves. They are mechanical devices and they aren't precision pieces of equipment. For every dozen traps set, it wouldn't surprise me at all if several went off by themselves. Happens to pros, too.

In the traps that are set off, is the bait gone? Sometimes the bait flies off from the force of the trap, too.

As far as a box over the traps, any animal bigger than a rat will be able to move the box unless it weighted down. This might be an occasion where you would use the exterior grade rodent station in the attic with a trap inside of it. That would protect the trap from animals. If the station would be flipped over then you'd know that there is something larger than a rat up there.

You could do a "control" test by setting several traps in a location where you know that no rodent will get it. If it sets itself off, then you know to double check your setting technique or make adjustment to the traps, if possible.
 
  #25  
Old 01-28-19, 06:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
The traps were not in the attic, they were actually on the roof. That is why it is possible a cat or raccoon or even a crow got them. I tied the meat on there so the bait was not gone. I am thinking of making a wooden box and putting a brick or something on top of it so it can't be moved.
 
  #26  
Old 01-29-19, 06:53 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
Yep, sorry I missed the roof part. Read it too fast and assumed attic.
Still, if it was a larger animal, they would have taken the bait off even though tied on. I do like the idea of a box weighted down; then if its flipped over, you'll know it's big.

If it is larger animals on the roof, is it possible that you are hearing them on the roof as opposed to something in the attic? Just throwing thoughts out there...
 
  #27  
Old 01-29-19, 02:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
I thought of that! I wish it were animals on the roof. Well, when a cat or something is up there, I can hear it walking, but this sounds more like scratching and it sounds like it right against the drywall. I don't think I would be that lucky but maybe I will go up there and scratch the roof to see if anyone inside hears it! Even though my traps are in the middle of the attic not really close to wear I hear them, I thought at least one would be tripped by now. Even the unset ones were not touched.
 
  #28  
Old 02-04-19, 10:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
How do I know when the rats are gone? I know we talked about not plugging holes if I find them until I make sure they are gone. I thought of this because over the weekend, I was digging out some rotten railroad ties about 10 feet or so from the house to replace them with concrete. I found several bunches of insulation inside of them that look like the rats pulled from the crawlspace and at one point made a nest in the ties. It made me start wondering if maybe they are not actually living in there or maybe just one is going up there. Regardless, I will assume the worst that they are up there, but how do I know when they are gone? Do they leave eventually? In the summer, I did not hear a sound from about March until December. Anyways, if I do find potential openings I thought about putting a piece of tissue or something there so I can see if they knock it out when coming through. I just haven't heard a sound or had any trap activity anywhere in over a week. I hope to see more after Friday when they clean the crawl space out.
 
  #29  
Old 02-04-19, 01:29 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
There's no textbook way to know if they are gone, or if all but one or two are gone, etc. It is good news that you aren't having activity or sound in the last week. I personally would feel optimistic at this point that they are gone. Maybe go a couple more days yet.

Plugging holes/burrows/runways with newspaper, tissue, paper towel, etc is a good idea. Pack it tight enough so that the wind won't blow it out.

Rats were probably living in both the crawl space, attic, and exterior areas. Though they live in close quarters, there is still a "pecking" order and the dominant rats, the oldest and strongest, pretty much influence the rest.
 
  #30  
Old 02-04-19, 01:46 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
Are there any type of repellents, chemicals, or anything that I could put in certain areas that rats tend to shy away from? I would imagine if a rat wants to go somewhere, it is going to regardless, but I thought you might know of something that might help discourage it.
 
  #31  
Old 02-04-19, 02:37 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,543
Likes Received: 2
No I've never had any luck or experience with repellents on rodents, squirrels, etc. Moth balls are touted but they are easily avoided by rodents. I placed a bunch in a soffit void to repel squirrels until the next day when I was going to patch it up and when I returned the next day the moth balls were lying on the ground below the opening.
 
  #32  
Old 03-14-19, 11:58 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 95
I guess I should report back here too in regards to the attic. I have not heard any noises in 6 weeks or so. Hopefully that means they are out of there. When the weather gets nicer I will tear apart the wood siding around my chimney and redo it all to make sure there are no openings, which is the only place I could think of where there may have been one.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes