You've heard unusual noises coming from the walls, and it has happened a couple of times but you haven't really been paying attention to it. Was it really a noise from there, or was your mind just playing you a trick? Oops, you just heard it again and this time it definitely wasn't just your mind. You're sure there's an unusual noise that occasionally comes from there, and the last time you checked you weren't the one climbing around the walls. Chances are you have been getting visits from unwanted pests and that they're in fact causing damage to your property. Now the question remains. How do you get rid of the rats that seem to be living in the walls of your home? We will walk you through the different options you have available and provide you with the advice that all homeowners should have in the process.
Signs of Rats in Your House and WallsEven if you don't necessarily hear the rats coming from inside your walls, there are other signs you need to be looking out for that could be indicative of a problem.
Damaged InsulationThe insulation in your home performs a very important job since it helps make sure there are no air leaks letting out that precious air you've spent money to either heat or cool. When you start noticing damages to the insulation, that's a very clear sign that a rat may chewing away at it.
Rat NestsFinding nests is a definite way to tell that they're there. But what do rats nests actually look like? They'll use all sorts of soft materials including furniture stuffing and shredded paper. Basically anything soft that they can get access to. Photo credit: rentokil.co.uk The above image shows a photo of an indoor rats nest. It doesn't look all that organized and it's sufficiently obvious for people to realize that they wouldn't have left such a mess themselves. If you notice trash lying around like that, it's definitely time to get it inspected.
Marks from RubbingThis can look like grease or dirt, and as soon as you see such dirt that will often be placed in a way that wouldn't traditionally be left by people, you should stop up to think about whether it could be left by these little creatures.
Marks on Containers and PackesWhen you find things that contain or used to contain food that has been gnawed on, you can be pretty sure that it wasn't you or the kids that did it. It calls for immediate inspection.
Rat DroppingsRat droppings indicate...? Yea, you probably guessed what animal is living in your house if you find these. The image above shows how big they are and what to expect. If they're smaller in size, you're probably dealing with mice. You can often either find these behind appliances, in the attic or in the basement.
The Sound of Footsteps Across the FloorThis will traditionally be easier to hear at night, where it will sound like soft footsteps. They'll usually want to try to avoid detection.
Squeaking Sounds From the WallsWhen you hear your floor squeaking from walking on it, it might be another problem you're dealing with which could require repairing the subfloor, but when you hear noises from the walls, this is likely either mice or rats. Squeaky floors on the other hand could indicate that the subfloor has separated from the floor joists.
How Do They Get into the Home?There are certain types of rats that are impressive climbers and up for any challenge. When you have a branch leaning against your home, they might just use that to get to your home. One of the things that make them so hard to deal with is that they really don't need a lot of space in order to get into your home. A hole the size of a quarter is enough for them to get in. When was the last time you made sure you didn't have any such holes in your home? They would rather be living in the comfort of your air conditioner than to be dealing with the harsher climates outside, and it could even be that they were born inside your home too. Although this generation of rats may have been born in your home, they still managed to get inside at some point. Roof vents with no screens on them is another entrance point they like to use. While they do a good job in controlling the moisture levels in your home and helping with ventilation to improve your home's air quality also, there's that little side effect to them that pests can enter through them. Edges and eaves on your roof is another way for them to get into the attic. Holes in the siding and outer walls is another way for them to enter, which is another reason why you'll want to make sure there are no holes there. Getting a roof inspection is not a good idea to avoid roof leaks but also to keep rats out. The attic is usually their favorite place to hang out since it has a nice temperature up there, but finding them and their nests in the walls is also not unlikely. The most likely reason why they'll start moving around your home is if they detect they can easily get access to food. Give them easy access to food, and you'll have a rat that is now very reluctant to leaving again. Not exactly what you were hoping for, was it?
Damage Done by RatsOnce they're inside the home, they cause a lot of problems, which is why you should seek to deal with them as soon as possible. They can do a range of damage to your home basically here's what you can expect if you don't deal with getting them out of your walls.
- They chew and they're not selective - they'll go through anything basically to create their nests, and that includes causing damage to wood. Do you have an old book that has a lot of sentimental value to you? The rat doesn't know and doesn't care. It looks like great material for its nest.
- Upholstered furniture is just a treat - they can use the interiors for their nest and then suddenly you'll need to get your furniture upholstered again, and that costs money.
- Insulating material provides a lot of purposes for them - they can either dig it out in order to live inside of it, or as already mentioned, it might be going towards creating their nest. Either way, your repair costs go up as a consequence.
- Unprotected wires are a serious fire hazard - did you just have your house rewired two years ago? It doesn't matter, they might just start eating away at the insulation and suddenly you have exposed wire that can start a fire.
- Short circuited appliances is a real possibility - it can either cause them to malfunction or again raise the risk of fire.
What do Rats Like to Eat?While they have their preferred meals that they would like to stick to, when a rat isn't able to find that, they'll go for whatever they can find, and that might even be things that you didn't think they would actually go for. At that point pet food, compost and trash will all look like delicious meals to a hungry rat. When they get really desperate, they might even start eating away at their droppings. They prefer things that are relatively easy for them to get to, meaning they will usually go for nuts, fruits and vegetables over things that move such as insects. Vegetables, rice and oats are some of their preferred meals, so if you have those lying around in the home, make sure they're properly stored and not in a cardboard container that can easily end up providing great material for their nests too. Different sources of oil and fat can also get their attention.
What Diseases do Rats Carry?You don't just want to get rid of them because they can damage your property. You also want to get rid of them because they have the potential to carry a range of different diseases that you want to steer clear of. Here are some of the diseases that they're know to carry:
- Rat-Bite Fever