In this guide, we’ll look at how to get rid of roof rats using natural, structural, and chemical control measures.
Having rats as tenants in your household is medically dangerous. Apart from being dangerous, their movements on the roof at night can be quite disturbing.
Roof Rat Removal From Attic, Ceiling, Walls & Garage
Roof rats are generally referred to as a black rat even though they come in varying colors and sizes.
Roof rats are macro pests that live both inside and outside an apartment. They are mostly found in ceilings, on roofs, and in attics.
They are omnivores, which means they feed on both plants and animals. An average roof rat will drink up to 15mm of water and eat up to 15 grams of food in a day. The average roof rat is about 2 – 8 ounces in weight, with a body that is about 5 – 7.5 inches long. Their tail is also as long.
Evidence of Roof Rats
Most times, you hear their movement on your roof, but you may not be sure what that is.
To be sure you are housing roof rats in your home, look out for the following traces;
Rat Droppings – Rat dropping is usually bigger than mouse dropping. If you see some shiny capsule-shaped materials with ends that are not sharp, and appearing in varying colors (but they are mostly black) – that is a rat dropping.
Rat droppings are about one quarter to half an inch long. Whenever you come across something of this description, you don’t need to physically see the rats before you know that you have them in your home.
Rat Urine Stains and Odors – It is not very easy to see rat urine unless you use a UV flashlight to search around your environment. Under UV light, a rat’s urine appears like fine drops or streaks.
Movement on the Roof – One of the most visible signs that roof rats have taken over your roof is their movement, especially at night.
Best Ways To Control Roof Rats
It is essential to take immediate action once you notice any sign that rats are in your home. This is because these rodents are carriers of a lot of killer diseases.
There are several ways to eradicate roof rats, and some methods will be discussed below.
You can use rat poison to get rid of roof rats. Rats may develop resistance to some of the natural repellents because they are resilient animals.
However, you can try this homemade rat poisoning – Baking Soda.
How To Poison Roof Rat With Baking Soda
Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which is dangerous to rats if they digest only 7.3 grams of it. This is more potent compared to other forms of commercial poisons.
All you need to do is ensure that the rat eats well over 7 grams of baking soda, which means one and a half spoon of baking soda for a rat- easy right?
- Peanut butter (1/2 cup)
- Baking Soda (1/2 cup)
Step 1. Mix the baking soda and peanut butter in a bowl.
Step 2- Make small balls from the mixture. The ball is meant to act as bait.
Step 3- Place the balls around places where rats likely visit. If you can climb your roof, place some of the balls inside your ceiling.
The advantage of this method of eradicating the rat is that the rat is attracted because of the sweetness of the peanut butter, and eats much more than 7grams of baking soda till it gets to the maximum toxicity which then results in death.
If you don’t have peanut butter, you can use sugar in place of it.
But you must keep all ingredients of this rat poison out of children’s reach.
Do you consider this homemade method of eradication stressful? Then, get a commercial rat poison from your local store.
Another form of poisoning is the use of Plaster of Paris. This plaster is commonly used in craftworks, but you can turn it into rat poison if you mix water into it and turn it into a paste.
You can then mix this paste with peanut butter or sugar. When using it with peanut butter, make sure that it is not very oily.
After the roof rat consumes this, it soaks up every liquid in the rat, and won’t be digested. In the end, the rat dies of dehydration.
Sealing Up the Openings
Before rats can make it into your home or ceiling, they must have gone through an opening no matter how small. Therefore, one way to get rid of this rodent pest is to do a thorough investigation of your home.
Check your windows, doors, air vents, and other openings.
You can put an end to the activities of roof rats in your home by following these measures;
- Use caulk, mesh, or wood to seal up any opening in your home. You have to ensure that you check your entire apartment.
- Use Xcluder cloth or a copper mesh to cover gaps of pipes that enter your home.
- Ensure you replace flood drains of large openings with smaller openings.
- Make sure that the entrance to your apartment is properly fit and always shut.
Here are the three main ways to successfully get rid of rats living on your roof and attic.
Sanitizing your environment is the first fundamental step in the eradication of roof rats. This procedure is not just about keeping your house clean.
It is all-encompassing; meaning that:
- The outside environment is cleaned and trimmed. All shrubs and bushes are trimmed so that there are no hiding places for any kind of rodent in your apartment.
- Your food store is properly kept. This means that there are no litters of food items or storages that cannot close properly.
- Your firewood is stored away from your central apartment. This means that you don’t just fill up space with too many logs that you won’t need for a long time.
- There is no litter of ripe fruit droppings in your yard. This means you have denied rats an important food source that would always attract them to your property.
Sanitization is one of the most effective ways to get rid of roof rats naturally.
Eradicating an existing population of roof rats is the next step after ensuring that the environment is sanitized.
There are two main ways of eradicating roof rats. You can either kill them via poison and traps; or relocate them
Poisoning rats can be achieved using baking soda. You may also purchase a commercially-prepared rat poison from your local store.
But if you want to make use of the traps to avoid the disgusting odor that fills the whole house when rats die in hidden places, there are different traps that you can get at your local store;
- Snap trap
- Humane live catch traps
- Glue traps
Also, the baits for these traps come in different forms. You can use cakes, fish, liquids, etc. Basically, you just have to keep trying out different bait and stick with the one that works best for the species of rat in your locality.
Ensure that the bait cannot be taken away from the trap allowing the rat to eat it and die elsewhere. This will defeat the purpose of trapping.
And more importantly, keep the traps out of the reach of children and pets.
Rat Proofing Your Building
Do a thorough check of the entire building structure and make sure that you block every hole.
Also, check the foundation. Seal every crack with caulk and cover holes with copper mesh.
Check every part of the roof. For instance, the roof ventilators and the shingles. Ensure that they are secured and in the right working conditions. If damaged, repair immediately. Put a cap on your chimney to prevent pest entry.
Check your pipes; if any reaches the roof, use a circular rodent guard to deter rats.
Rats that dwell on the roof are very dangerous. Besides, rats are known to be the carrier of the deadly Lassa fever.
However, they can cause more dangerous destruction since they live in the roof, where they feed on electrical wires, bite through your water pipes, causing lots of structural damages to your home.
Once you spot them, you need to eradicate them immediately. The best method of control is a sanitized environment. Rats generally don’t find a clean place comfortable to live in. In addition to keeping a clean environment, make sure your foodstuffs are well kept in tightly-fitted containers.
Once roof rats find no food to eat in your home, they will relocate, even without you using poison on them.