Controlling Rats

Recognizing Rat Infestations           

  • Droppings
  • Fresh gnawing
  • Nesting material
  • Tracks can be seen in mud and on dusty surfaces
  • Burrows and runways may be found next to buildings or along fences

Rodent Food Preference

  • High-quality foods such as fresh grain,         
  • Bird Seed
  • Dog and Cat Meaty  foods
  • Meats
  • Fruit
  • Require 1 fluid ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food.

Rat Abilities

  • Rats have keen senses of hearing, smell, taste and touch
  • They will climb to find food or shelter
  • Can gain entrance to a building through any opening larger than 1/2 inch in diameter.

Rat Breeding:

  • Rats have litters of six to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating
  • Young rats are sexually mature in about three months
  • Breeding occurs mostly in spring and fall.
  • Average female has four to six litters per year
  • Individuals usually live 12 to 18 months.


Build Rodent Out

  • Seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch to exclude both rats and mice
  • Openings where utilities enter buildings should be sealed tightly with metal or concrete.
  • Doors, windows and screens should fit tightly. It may be necessary to cover edges with sheet metal or high quality door sweeps to prevent gnawing.


Trapping can be an effective method of controlling rats, but it requires more skill and labor than most other methods. It is best to try trapping first in homes, garages, and other small structures where there may be only a few rats present.

Advantages to Trapping

  1. It permits the user to view his or her success; and
  2. It allows for disposal of trapped rats, thereby eliminating odor problems, which may occur when poisoning is done within buildings.

What goes on the trap?

  • Peanut butter
  • Small piece of hot dog,
  • Bacon
  • Pizza tied securely to the trigger
  • Soft sweet candy

The Trap, Trigger and Tricks

  • Set trigger lightly so the trap will spring easily
  • Leave traps unset until the bait has been taken at least once to reduce the chance of rats becoming trap-shy.
  • Set traps close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners and in places where rat signs or activity are observed.
  • Place traps so rats will pass directly over the trigger when following their natural course of travel.
  • Use enough traps to make the effort short and decisive.

Alternative To Traps

Alternative to traps are glue boards, which catch and hold rats attempting to cross them in much the same way flypaper catches flies. Keep away from pets and small childred/babies. Or you can try a Exterminator in Austin!

  • Place Glue boards along walls or in other areas where rats travel.
  • Electronic devices. Rats quickly become accustomed to regularly repeated sounds. Ultrasonic sounds, those above the range of human hearing, have very limited use because they are directional and do not penetrate behind objects. They also lose their intensity quickly with distance. There is little evidence that electronic, sound, magnetic, or vibration devices of any kind will drive established rats from buildings or provide adequate control.
  • Live animal traps can be effective; however, pre-baiting is essential for success


The presence of garbage and other refuse allows rats to exist in residential areas. Good sanitation will not eliminate rats under all conditions, but will make the environment less suitable for them to thrive. This involves proper storage and handling of food materials and refuse, and elimination of rodent shelter.

Making Your Home less Desirable to Rodents

Make Sure:

  • Pipes leading into home are sealed
  • Sub area and attic vents area sealed
  • Wood Piles are away from homes and off the ground
  • Telephone or cable wires leading to home are sealed
  • Garage door seals tightly
  • Pet food is put away nightly
  • Chimney and roof vents are sealed
  • Pool or Spa motors are sealed tightly
  • Trees are not touching roof line
  • Fruit is harvested when ripe, and no fruit is on the ground
  • Palm trees are trimmed 
  • Water heater closets are tight
  • Wood siding is not lose and gaps or cracks are sealed
  • Storage sheds close tightly
  • Trash cans seal tightly