Look for Signs of Rat Activity
Even though rats can weigh up to 18 ounces, you don't always see them. Most people discover rats by seeing signs of their presence. Look for droppings near food sources. Also, rats follow the same pathways as they search for food, so they leave greasy marks along sideboards and walls. Rats need to gnaw to keep their teeth sharp, so look for chew marks on wood around the house. Go outside and see if you can find any holes in the ground that weren't there before. Rats always stay fairly close to their nests, which could be in the yard or the house.
Separate Rats from Their Food Sources
Rats can eat just about anything and, while they require more than mice, rats don't need a great deal of food (1 -3 oz. daily). To prevent future rat issues, be careful with how you store your food and scraps. Keep food in sealed containers and clean up any spills or crumbs. Since rats need a reliable water source, make sure you have no leaks in your pipes or faucets. Keep your garbage-can lids on tight. Store grass seed and bird seed in sealed containers. If you have a dog, don't leave food out for it, since rats will eat whatever is in the bowl.
Plug up any Openings
Unlike mice, rats need a lot of water (1 oz.), so they may travel in and out of your house. That's why it's important to seal up any cracks, holes, or entry points. Remember, if the hole is the size of a quarter, it's big enough for a rat.
Use Rats' Feeding Habits Against Them
Rats are wary about new foods. They might nibble a teeny bit of something new, then wait to see if it harms them. If they accept new food, they'll gorge on it until they're full. Other rats will follow suit. That's why effective baits often take a few days to work - if they killed immediately, most rats would avoid them. Keep out a supply of fresh bait for at least 10 days or until there are no more signs of rat activity.
Traps vs. Baits: What works best for you?
Traps or baits can be used stand alone or together as part of a system of rodent control to make sure you cover all bases. The method you choose to control your rat problem depends on your preferences. Can you stand seeing the rat once it's caught? The major difference is that a trap physically holds the rodent in place. This is ideal if you want proof that the rodent was caught or for tracking purposes. Trap types include glue traps, mechanical traps, or even catch-and-release traps.
While bait is contained in a station, the rat does not die in the actual station. The rodent eats Tomcat Rat Killer bait, typically consumes a lethal dose in one night, and then usually travels back to its nest to die 1-2 days later. Bait stations come in various levels of tamper resistance and in disposable and refillable options to use just about anywhere. Baits can kill multiple rodents at one time. One 4-oz bait block can kill up to 10 rats!* TOMCAT Rat Killer (Kid & Dog Resistant, Disposable Bait Stations), come preloaded, so you don't have to touch the bait. Place them where you see signs of rat activity.
Maintaining a Rat-Free Home
Rats come into your home looking for food, water, and shelter. As long as you deprive them of food and water, and make it difficult for them to get in, your home will be less attractive to them.
Rats have been a problem for people throughout history. They eat or spoil crops, can spread disease, and damage property. There are stories of old wooden ships sinking because rats had gnawed through them. Every year, thousands of people in this country suffer from rat bites.
*Based on no-choice laboratory testing.