Rat Control & Rat Removal
Proudly eliminating rodents in Seattle,
Olympia, Bremerton, Tacoma & Puyallup.
Rats are a huge problem throughout this state. Although they used to be found more often in older homes and businesses, they have now become well established virtually everywhere. The most common large rodents in homes and businesses are Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and Roof rats (Rattus rattus).
Frequently Asked Questions About Rats
What’s The Difference Between Norway Rats & Roof Rats?
- Roof rats have become the most common problem of the two. Roof rats are very adept at climbing and jumping, and can even scale walls if conditions are right. They often appear in attics but won’t hesitate to go underneath a house either. Therefore, they can be a problem virtually anywhere in a structure. The adults have a combined head and body length of 6" to 8" and the tail length is generally longer than the body - an additional 7" to 10" long. Adult droppings are up to 1/2" long and are pointed at the ends.
- Norway rats like to stay closer to the ground and often burrow underground. Look for 3" to 5" diameter burrow holes next to a concrete slab structure or foundation wall. They’re most likely found underneath a building, but they don’t always follow the rules either and sometimes end up in an attic. The adults have a combined head and body length of 7" to 9.5" and the tail length is generally shorter than the body – an additional 6" to 8" long. Adult droppings are up to 3/4" long and blunt on the ends.
Why Should I Be Concerned About Rats? Are They Dangerous?
Generally, rats will avoid direct contact with people (bites are rare), but the feces and urine of rats can pose serious health risks. Rats are filth associated and transmit disease. Rats can damage wiring, start fires, and consume large quantities of pet, bird, or livestock food. They also can spoil and contaminate human food. The most common and visible damage from rats occurs to crawl spaces underneath the building or attic spaces above. This occurs in the form of destroyed insulation; insulation soiled by urine and droppings (feces); large quantities of droppings on vapor barriers in crawl spaces; chewed heat ducts and pipe, etc. They’re generally much more damaging than mice due to their size.
What Attracts Rats?
Rats are attracted to a readily available food source and a comfortable place to nest. Many structures have gaps in the foundation that permit entry into or under the building. Common entry points in buildings are gaps in the foundation or around pipes that enter into the structure. Rats also get into buildings through missing or poor-fitting crawl space access doors, vent screens, and gaps under garage doors. Rats can enter through gaps as little as one-half of an inch.
How Will I Know If I Have A Problem With Rats?
Rats are rarely seen since they are most active at night. Some people hear scratching or scurrying sounds at night in their walls or attic. Others might open a cabinet or drawer to discover evidence of gnawing or a cache of food. But, the most common clue is finding rat droppings (feces). Their droppings are 1/2" to 3/4" long. If you find significantly smaller droppings it may be a mouse problem instead of a rat problem.
Can’t I Just Put Some Poison Bait out (such as D-CON)?
Avoid easy, seemingly quick fixes to a rat invasion! Quick fixes can have serious consequences that can quickly turn into bad fixes. One common quick fix is to immediately put poison bait out everywhere (i.e. D-con). Rats that die from bait can die inside crawl spaces, attics or walls and produce terrible odors for several weeks to even months as they decompose. A fly problem can also ensue from maggots that consume the carcasses. The antiquated idea that rats eat the poison and then leave the area in search of water is false. Even if that were true, in our climate there are likely water sources underneath or around the building that they could use anyway. In addition, many people are unaware that D-Con is one of the most toxic anti-coagulant rodent poisons on the market today. Pets, especially dogs are more susceptible to accidental sickness and death via D-Con than the professional material and application techniques that Whitworth Pest Solutions uses.
The Other Pest Control Company I Called Says They Only Need One Visit To Solve My Problem. They’re A Lot Cheaper Than Whitworth. Why Shouldn’t I Use Them Over You?
Usually the companies that promise quick fixes will put poison bait out everywhere (outside and inside), and you will have to deal with the dead rodent bodies and odor yourself (see above). Whitworth Pest Solutions will only place rodent bait outside in anchored and protected bait stations in accordance with Washington State law. And we will only place bait outside as a population control measure – not as the sole method to eliminate a complicated existing infestation.
How Can I Make My Home or Business Less Vulnerable To Rat Infestation?
- Check the building for possible entry points and plug up or repair any problem areas. Any gap of 1/2" or more, such as around crawl space access doors or under entry and garage doors may allow rats to enter.
- Don’t leave pet food outside where rats have easy access to it.
- At a minimum, clean up birdseed spills which can attract rats. At times we’ll recommend complete stoppage of all bird feeding, at least for a period of time.
- Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids, and empty them regularly.
- Do not feed wild animals like squirrels, raccoons or opossums.
What Should I Do If I Think My Home Or Business Is Infested With Rats?
There’s more to rodent control than you might think. Before you attempt to handle the problem, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know the species and habits of the rodents to be eliminated? Is it House mice, Deer mice, Norway rats, Roof rats, etc.?
- Do I know where every entry point is?
- Do I know the best techniques to use to eradicate them?
- Do I know where to place traps to attract rodents, but not endanger pets and children or create odors from them dying in the building?
If you can’t answer "Yes" to all these questions, then call us. We’ll do the job right.
And here’s how:
On the initial visit we’ll do an exterior inspection of the structure to check for areas where rats might enter. We’ll also note any conditions that may be conducive to worsening the infestation. We’ll draw a diagram of the building and document our findings, providing you with a copy.
If there are access points or other conditions conducive to an infestation, it is imperative that these are fixed A.S.A.P. or rat problems may continue indefinitely. We also provide rat exclusion and cleanout services, so let us know if you’d like an estimate for repairing any access points or cleaning the crawl space of rat urine and fecal material.
We’ll set snap traps in the areas in which evidence of rats are found. Usually this includes the attic and crawlspace, but may also include the garage, outbuildings, etc.
After the initial visit, there are three follow-ups. Two occur on a weekly basis. The last one occurs two weeks after the 2nd follow-up. Here’s an example:
- Initial visit occurs January 3rd.
- First follow-up occurs January 10th.
- Second follow-up occurs January 17th.
- Last follow-up occurs January 31st.
At each follow-up visit, traps will be checked, dead rats removed, and traps will be re-baited with lure specially formulated for rats. If you’re having concerns in between scheduled visits, please feel free to contact us. If traps catch rats in between regular visits, we’ll perform an extra service to pick them up at no charge. On the last follow-up we pick up the traps.
After trapping is completed, a continual monthly service or every other month service is recommended for continual control and an ongoing warranty. Without regular service visits, rats will continually attempt to re-enter the building. Rodent bait stations will be placed around the exterior of the building for continual rodent population control. The building will also be covered and under warranty for a variety of other pests in addition to rats, including serious wood destroying organisms found in our state. The pests covered depend on the type of regular service you select. For a free on-site evaluation of your home or business, please contact us.Download Our Rodent Program Information Sheet