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How to Get Rid of a Rat Infestation? DIY Tips:

Spotting a rat infestation in your home is enough to pack your bags and put a for sale sign in your lawn. Not only are these rodents scary, but they can carry deadly diseases and cause damage to your home by gnawing through walls, insulation, and electrical wiring. If you want to get rats out of your home for good, you’ll need to be able to understand how they get into your home in the first place. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about getting rid of a rodent infestation, including: 

  • Why are Rats in My Home?
  • Dangers of Rats
  • Signs of a Rat Infestation
  • DIY Tips to Eliminate Rats

Why are Rats in My Home? 

All rodents are warm blooded animals which means they need to find warm places to live in the winter. Rats and other rodents can find their way into your home any time of the year, but the chances go up dramatically when temperatures start to dip. When rats seek out new places to live they search for three things: food, water, and shelter. If you have any cracks or crevices around your house, this could be a key area where rats are entering. 

Food & Water

Rats are voracious eaters and will feast on anything available to them. Rodents are usually drawn to your home because they can smell food even if they are not inside yet. Common foods that attract rats include:

  • Pet food
  • Trash cans
  • Fallen fruit from trees
  • Leftover food scraps

Rats can survive for a month without drinking water and can usually find enough through food sources or condensation on pipes. 


A warm, dry home is very attractive for rats and rodents. As they explore the perimeter of your home, they will probe for cracks and weak spots where they can squeeze through. Once inside, they will make nests out of materials they find around your home and reproduce. 

Dangers of Rats

As we mentioned before, rats can be host to a number of nasty diseases that can pose a health risk to you and your family. Having rats in your house puts you at risk of contracting rodent-borne illnesses such as:

  • Hepatitis E 
  • Hantavirus
  • Salmonella
  • Rat Bite Fever


Rats are one of the many pests that can damage your home. Rats and other rodents can cause structural damage to homes, apartments, commercial buildings, and virtually any type of building. To make their nests, rodents will use just about any material including:

  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Insulation

Rats can also chew through electrical wires and build their nests in electrical appliances, which can cause a short circuit, power outage, or lead to the risk of fire.

Signs of a Rat Infestation

It might not always be obvious that you have a rat problem. After all, they tend to only come out at night and stay away from human activity. But if you are aware of a possible rodent infestation, there are a couple of signs you can look out for when dealing with these pests: 

Strange Smells & Sounds

Rats give off a powerful ammonia smell. They’re also very loud – making squeaking, scratching, and rustling noises as they move throughout your home. Noticing either of these signs is an indication that rats are in the building. 


One tell-tale sign that you have rats is rat droppings. These small, dark, pellet-shaped droppings can be found along routes that rats frequently use to get around your house. Common places to find rat droppings are along baseboards and on ventilation ducts.


Footprints are a definite sign you have rats. Check areas in the attic or basement that aren’t frequently used. If there is enough dust on the ground you should be able to see where rats have been. You can even set a trap by sprinkling baking soda on the floor on checking for footprints the next day. 


The worst part of having an infestation is the amount of damage they can cause. Rats can make a mess out of anything you have in storage, or just tear up your furniture. Look for chewed up papers or insulation and be careful when you open cardboard boxes as they make a cozy home. 

Signs of Rats in the Walls

Rats are sneaky creatures and they can go undetected even longer when they get into your walls and crawl spaces. If you think your house is haunted because you hear strange noises at night, check for signs of rats before you call an exorcist. 

Here are a few signs to look for:

  • Strange sounds in the walls or ceiling, including squeaking, scratching, and running noises
  • Rat droppings in hidden areas
  • Food packages, or leftovers with bite marks
  • Smudges along the walls
  • Nests made of insulation, paper, or other chewed up materials
  • Damaged ductwork

DIY Tips to Eliminate Rats

Now that you know the signs, it’s time to get to work. If you have the tools to tackle rats on your own, here is a list of DIY methods to control rats:

Inspect Your Home

Rodents find their way into a home in a number of ways. If an opening is not big enough for them, they will chew the hole bigger so they can fit! Rats can gain access through multiple places so be sure to check areas such as:

  • Attic vents
  • Cracks in foundation
  • Loose boards
  • Windows
  • Under door jambs
  • Chimneys
  • Utility entry points

Clean Your Home

Rats love shelter and dark places to hide. One of the best ways to get rid of rats without poison is to eliminate their hiding places. If you are a hoarder, clean up the clutter in your basement and around your home to make it harder for rats to find a comfortable spot. 

Eliminate Food Sources

Rats are always looking for a dependable source of food. If you have pets, make sure to put the food away between feedings. Put grains and cereals in air-tight plastic or glass containers and take out the trash if it is full of fruit or meat products. Outdoor trash cans should always have a tight lid on it. 

Utilize Natural Methods

If you are looking for a more humane way to keep rats out of your home then try some of these natural ingredients: 

  • Spread peppermint oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Cloves 
  • Vinegar
  • Dryer sheets

Still Can’t Get Rid of Rodents? Contact Termio Pest Control! 

At Termio Pest Control, we proudly serve Texas and Arizona customers. If rats and rodents are driving you out of your home, contact the professional rat control experts at Termio Pest Control. Our rodent control program is designed to evict annoying rodents so you can live in your home in peace.

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