Rats: Baiting vs. Trapping vs. Exclusion?

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We recently had a customer call in with questions about rodents.  After some discussion they were basically asking us to go throw some poison up in the attic because that’s what they do “up north” and it seemed to have worked for them there…other than the dead rodent smell they had for several weeks.

A good strategy when looking at handling any type of pest should start with proper identification (know what you’re dealing with and their habits, behaviors and hiding places) and discovering the source of entry.  In the case of Roof Rats (some like to refer to them as “Palm Rats” – if you add the word “Palm” to anything, it sounds more Florida Friendly), we know they like the nuts and berries found in palms and use those trees as well as others as a bridge to the roofs of your homes.  Once on the roof, we typically see that they look for entry points to the attic where your different roof lines come together.  This often happens around the front entry as the roof over your doorway connects to the main roof of the house.  Many times, either a small hole has been there, or one has opened up through years of settling, vibrations from storms, or maybe a teenager playing guitar too loud.  Once into your attic domain, rats will look for and establish shelter, find things to chew/gnaw on (electrical wire, plastic water piping, wood, etc) and start the family.

The Answer is in Finding the Source of the Problem

The question remains – bait, trap or exclude?  We believe the answer most always lies in finding the source of the problem and fixing it.  In the case of rats in the attic, this means sealing all entry points with construction grade material to prevent them any further access from outside to inside.  This also means that there will be a possibility that some rodents are trapped inside with no way out after a complete exclusion.  So after the exclusion, setting traps is necessary to catch and remove whatever is left from the attic.  Once this happens your home is safe and secure.  You may still wonder about bait boxes though right?  These can become useful only AFTER a full exclusion is done.  The use of bait boxes on a property will help decrease the current population of rodents around the home which will decrease the chance that a rat will test out the effectiveness of the exclusion.  Maintaining and re-baiting those boxes periodically will help ensure that the population of rats does not re-establish around your house, but remember, bait boxes are only to be used after a proper exclusion is completed.

Final note, for those of you handy enough, you can do the exclusion yourself if you are willing to get on your roof, and purchase the correct materials to do the job properly.  That being said, if you would like bait boxes on your property you should always consult with a professional pest professional, as rodenticides are dangerous to handle and should only be used by licensed professionals.

You can trust PestMax to devise an appropriate plan of action for your property.  We’ll inspect your structure and do what’s necessary to rid you of these prolific pests.  For more information call us (239) 454-4888 or learn more about rodents.