Rats in attic

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  #1  
Old 01-11-19, 01:23 PM
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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!
 
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Old 01-11-19, 01:51 PM
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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.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 02:21 PM
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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.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 07:07 PM
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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.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 04:32 AM
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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.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 05:09 AM
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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.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 11:53 AM
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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.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 12:27 PM
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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?
 
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Old 01-12-19, 02:08 PM
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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.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 09:23 PM
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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?
 
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Old 01-13-19, 01:10 AM
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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!
 
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Old 01-13-19, 07:37 AM
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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.!
 
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Old 01-13-19, 07:39 AM
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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.
 
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Old 01-13-19, 09:38 AM
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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?
 
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Old 01-13-19, 12:20 PM
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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!
 
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Old 01-13-19, 02:37 PM
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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.
 
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