1. Rats

What are rats?

Rats are warm-blooded mammals that are found living throughout the world, they are very adaptable and can live in a variety of climates and living conditions. Like all other rodents they have sharp, continuously growing front incisors; they constantly need to chew on hard objects in order to prevent the teeth from overgrowing. The two species of rodents that are common in our area are the roof rat and Norway rat.


Roof Rat

Named roof rat because they are excellent climbers, they are often found climbing trees in order to access buildings through the roof. Roof rats are dark brown or black in color with some gray hairs mixed in; they have a contrasting lighter colored underbelly. The body of the roof rat has a long, thin, delicate build and grows to between 6-8 inches in length. Their long scaly tail adds another 6-8 inches to their total body length. Roof rats have a pointed nose, large ears and large eyes.

Norway Rat

The adult Norway rat has a long “heavy” body that grows to between 7 and 9 ½ inches in length; their tail adds another 6 to 8 inches to their total body length. Because of their heavy body they aren’t great climbers and typically invade basements and the first floors of homes and buildings. Norway rats have a rounded blunt nose, protruding small black eyes, small ears, and a bi-colored tail (darker on top, lighter on the bottom). Their shabby fur is brown and is speckled with black hairs; the fur on their underbelly is lighter in color-usually gray or white.

Common Rat Questions

Why do I have them?

Rats are attracted to properties, homes, and other buildings that offer them easy access to warm shelter, water, and food. Compost piles, open trash cans, gardens, and pet food can all initially attract rats to a property. Rats generally become more of a problem for property owners in the late fall when they are actively searching for a place to overwinter in. Rats can squeeze their bodies through very small spaces in order to make their way inside of homes and other buildings, once inside they are typically found living behind wall voids, in crawl spaces, basements, and attics.

Are they dangerous?

Rats are considered to be dangerous to both people and property. Rats can cause a lot of damage to the structure of a home and personal belongings because of their constant need to chew. They can spread many serious diseases including Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), salmonellosis, dysentery, and leptospirosis; along with introducing parasites like fleas, mites, and ticks into your home. Also, while foraging for food and water sources in your home they will cause food found in kitchen and pantry areas, and food prep areas to become contaminated with their urine, feces, and saliva.

How do I get rid of rats?

Eliminating rats from a property can be very difficult, rats are nocturnal, shy, and elusive creatures that that require the knowledge and experience of a trained professional to find and eliminate them from a property. At American Pest our highly trained exterminators understand the habits and habitats of rats and after a thorough inspection will provide a tailored rodent control solution that will meet the needs of your specific property.

Can I do it myself?

There are many DIY products on the market to “eliminate rats”, but the truth of the matter is that these products are mostly ineffective because they are often not used correctly and do nothing to solve the root of the rat infestation. By not solving the why of a rat infestation, a re-infestation is very likely to occur. Also, many of the products found at big box stores, if not used or mixed correctly can be very harmful to both people and pets. The best solution to a rat infestation is to contact the rodent control experts here at American Pest; our professionals can eliminate any size rat infestation from Washington, D.C. area properties and keep them from returning.

How soon can you get here?

At American Pest, we pride ourselves on our speed and level of service. For that reason, we make every effort to make sure we can be with you the same or very next day.

Is the treatment safe?

Every product used by American Pest has first been extensively tested by the EPA and registered for pest control use. Only then do we use it and apply it following a strict set of guidelines, ensuring the safety of all humans and pets.

How can I prevent this in the future?

Rats are very difficult pest to prevent from entering into homes, they can enter inside through very small spaces that you may not know even exist. In addition to acquiring rodent control services from American Pest, there are some steps that you can take around your home and property to help prevent a rat infestation. -Thoroughly inspect the exterior walls and foundation of your home sealing or repairing any cracks, crevices or spaces found. -Caulk gaps found around windows and doors, and install door sweeps on exterior doors, especially basement doors. -Place tight fitting caps on your home’s chimneys, make sure vent covers are secure, and repair holes found along the roof line. -Place woodpiles, compost piles, and garbage cans a good distance away from the outside of your home. -Make sure that garbage cans have tight fitting or locking lids on them. -Trim back trees back away from your home’s roof. -Remove bird feeders and other wild animal feeders from your property. -Inside of your home make sure that food in your kitchen is stored in air-tight containers, quickly clean up spills and crumbs in kitchen and pantry areas. -Keep clutter to a minimum in storage areas like attics, basements, and closets.





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