Rats can be one of the most problematic pests for homeowners. Not only can they spread bacteria and disease and cause damage to your home, but they are also often very difficult to eradicate once infested. Eliminating a rat problem in the home can take time and is often very frustrating to homeowners.
If you have been working to eliminate rats in your home, you may wonder how you will know that the rats are gone. In the case of rats, you are looking for signs, such as a lack of droppings, to show that the rats have moved on.
- Signs that rats are gone include no new droppings, tracks or smudges, nothing chewed on, empty traps, and improved smell.
- DIY tests for the presence of rats include using flour or talcum powder to detect footprints, leaving out food to see if it disappears or has chew marks, and monitoring your pet’s behavior.
- To get rid of rats, identify and seal entry points, set traps, eliminate potential food and water sources, clean up yard debris, and use repellents.
- Rats won’t leave on their own, and it may take several months to eliminate a major infestation.
- To prevent rats from returning, seal off entry points, minimize potential food sources, and keep your home clean.
6 signs that rats are gone from your home
When you find a rat infestation, it is usually because you saw a rat or signs, such as droppings or open food. As you work to eliminate rats, considering these same signs, or the lack of them, is your best source of information.
1. Look and listen
Seeing a rat scurrying across your floor or countertop in the middle of the night may have been your first sign of a rat problem. Maybe you heard odd noises or scratching in the walls that alerted you to their presence. As you work to eliminate a rat problem, continue to look and listen. If you are still seeing signs of rats or are hearing noises, chances are you still have rats in your home and must continue the fight or call pest control specialists to help.
2. You are no longer finding droppings
As rats move throughout your home and create their own home, they leave behind droppings. No longer finding rat droppings in your home is a good sign that these pests may have finally been eliminated or have moved on.
3. No new tracks or smudges
As rats move throughout your home, they can leave tracks along the walls as well as footprints if they come in contact with things like flour. In addition, rats have very oily fur and will leave oil smudges along baseboards and walls as they travel. No longer finding new smudges or tracks is a very good sign that your rat problem may be over.
4. Nothing looks chewed on
Rats will chew or gnaw on just about anything. In your home, they can chew through packages to access food, chew through wood walls to access places they want to go and chew up paper or cardboard to gather nesting material. No longer finding new chew marks, gnaw marks, or opened food packages is a good sign that you have your rat problem under control.
5. Finding empty traps
Setting traps is an effective way to eliminate rats in your home. If you have traps set throughout your home and they have not caught a rat in a few days, chances are there are no more rats calling your place home.
6. Improved smell
When rats invade your home, their urine and droppings contain high levels of urea. As this breaks down, it creates ammonia and a strong odor that is often a first indicator of a rodent problem. After rat control and cleanup occurs, the smell should improve. However, if the smell returns or gets stronger, chances are there are rats still within your home. The CDC offers tips for cleaning and eliminating rat and rodent odor here.
Signs of a rat infestation
Chances are you may never see a rat in your home unless a rat infestation grows out of control. However, there are signs you can look for that will indicate rats have moved in. Taking immediate action when you discover these signs helps to reduce the risk of a major infestation. When it comes to rats or other rodents, look for these signs:
- Rodent droppings around food packages, along walls and windows, or in cupboards.
- Signs of nesting, such as chewed-up paper, fabric, and plants.
- Chewed food packing or holes chewed through the walls or ceilings.
- A stale or strong smell that you can’t find the origin of.
To learn more, read “Signs of Rat Infestation You Should Watch Out For”
DIY tests for the presence of rats
If you are looking for solid proof that rats are still present in your home, there are some DIY things you can do or watch for that can indicate rats are still present.
Flour or talcum powder
Sprinkling flour or talcum powder around your floorboards, near food sources, and other areas where rats have been previously allowing you to detect footprints that may appear when a rat crosses the path. Seeing these tiny footprints in the house is a clear indication that rats are still present.
Leaving out food
This is only effective if you do not have pets in the home. Because rats are always looking for food, leaving out crackers or popcorn in places throughout your home and watching for them to disappear or have chew marks can indicate the presence of rats. However, do not leave food out for extended periods of time as it can attract other pests to your home.
Monitoring your pet’s behavior
Cats and dogs can sense the presence of rats and rodents in your home. Watching their behavior can indicate the continued presence of rats. For example, if you see your cat following a path or your dog scratching or barking at the wall, chances are a rat is nearby.
How to get rid of rats
If you have a rat infestation, getting rid of rats is the priority. Following these steps can help you get started on addressing your rat problem. If you are still unsuccessful, it may be necessary to call in professional pet management and rodent control.
- Identify and seal all possible points of entry.
- Set rat traps, such as snap traps, around your home.
- Eliminate potential food and water sources.
- Clean up yard debris and trim branches which can allow roof rats access to your home.
- Use repellents around your home and yard in order to keep additional rats at bay.
To learn more about rat control, read “What is the Best Way to Get Rid of Rats?”
Frequently asked questions
Here we answer some common questions homeowners have when it comes to rats and rat control.
How long does it take for rats to disappear?
If you have a minor rat problem, such as one or two rats that found their way inside and you address it immediately, you can eliminate the problem within a couple of weeks. However, if you have a major infestation, it can take several months before you are rat-free.
Will rats eventually leave on their own?
Unfortunately, when rats or other rodents make their way into your home, they are unlikely to leave on their own. They have found a safe place to nest, a constant source of food and water, and shelter from natural predators. The only way you can ensure these pests leave is to eliminate them yourself or with the help of a professional expert and professional pest control.
How do I make sure rats don’t come back?
Once rats are eliminated from your home, you want to do everything you can to ensure they do not return. This begins with addressing any available entry points and sealing them off. This can include caulking or hardware cloth. In addition, make sure potential food sources, both inside and out, are minimized. For example, keep outdoor trash cans closed and pick up any ripe fruit on the ground. Inside, keep dishes and sinks clean and food stored in sealed containers.
Living in a rat-free home
No homeowner wants to share their space with rats and, once you start the elimination process, these tips will help you better identify when the rats are finally eradicated as well as how to prevent new rats from ever returning. Unfortunately, rats can be very difficult to eliminate, especially in the case of a major infestation. In many cases, it may seem like a never-ending battle with rodents and it may be necessary to turn to professional rodent control in order to ensure all the rats are really gone.
Helping keep your home rat-free
If, despite your best efforts, the rats seem to be winning the battle, the team at Insight Pest Management is here to help you eliminate your rat problem once and for all. Our team of experts understands rat behavior, how to effectively eliminate them from home, and the steps necessary to help ensure rats never return. Contact us to get a free quote!