Rats in House, Rats in Walls of Richmond Homes

So you see and hear rats iand the droppings left behind in your home? Rat infestations only get worse, so the longer you wait, the worse the rat rpoblems get!

Call Critter Control of Richmond's professional wildlife experts to get rid of your rat in house, rats in walls, rat removal, rat contro, or rat infestation problems today!




Biology and Habits

            The Norway rat is a stocky, burrowing rodent, unintentionally introduced to North America by settlers who arrived on ships from Europe.  Also called the brown rat, house rat, barn rat, wharf rat, or sewer rat, it is the only rat species commonly found in the Richmond area.  Norway rats have adapted to live in close association with people and rely on the food and shelter provided around our homes, farms, and businesses for their survival.  Norway rats will eat nearly any type of food.  They show a strong preference for fresh grains, nuts, fruits, and some meat items.  They are very fond of birdseed and pet food.  Norway rats also require water and usually go to water daily.  They usually construct nests in below-ground burrows or at ground level. When living in buildings, they almost always live in the lower portion, not in the attic or other upper areas.  Norway rats are capable of extraordinary reproductive rates.  Female rats give birth to litters of six to twelve young which are born 21 to 23 days after conception.  The young become independent at one month of age and can reproduce at three months of age.  Under ideal conditions, a single pair of rats can grow to a population of over 1,000 in one year.  Norway rats are mainly active at night, and seeing one out during the day generally indicates a high rat population in the area.  They are capable of gnawing through all but the hardest of materials, and can climb, jump, swim, and balance on narrow objects.  These feats make them skilled invaders of our buildings.


Damage and Hazards

            Norway rats can carry a variety of diseases which can be passed on to humans.  They were responsible for some of the great plagues of Europe.  That being said, there are few cases of rats transmitting diseases to humans in modern America.  This is due to modern advances in both rat control and medicine.  Rats cause more damage by eating and contaminating food and by gnawing wires, insulation, woodwork, etc.  There are two things which make rats particularly troublesome.  The first is that, unlike other wild animals which sometimes live in attics or crawlspaces, rats are not content to live in these out of the way places.  They want to come into the living space of the building to exploit any food sources available and to nest.  As mentioned earlier, rats have adapted to live with people.  The second thing which makes them so troublesome is their rapid reproductive rate, which allows them to get out of hand very quickly in some cases. 



            Norway rats are not particularly easy to control.  They are “neophobic,” which means that when new items turn up in their territory, they initially shy away from them.  They are also very intelligent and cautious animals.  Rats can be controlled with poison baits and/or traps.  Use of poison baits is the most commonly used method.  It is quick, easy, less labor intensive, and generally effective.  Rats which consume poisoned baits die four to seven days later.  In most cases, it takes at least two weeks to gain control with poison.  In addition, there is no control over where the rats will die, and odor and/or fly problems may result.  Trapping rats minimizes the potential odor/fly problem, and in some cases provides faster control, but is more labor intensive, and therefore more costly.  Also, all rats may not respond to traps, and some use of poison may still be needed.  In order for either poison or traps to be effective, it is critical that other food sources, especially things like birdseed or pet food, be removed from the area or stored in steel containers so that rats cannot get access to these alternate food sources.



            Ideally, once rats are removed from a building, all potential entry points into the building can be sealed to prevent new rats from reentering.  It is not possible to find every potential entry way in every case, and at times it is necessary to set up a schedule to retreat the building on a regular basis.  In cases of rats living outside, tamper-resistant bait stations can be installed.  They will need to be monitored and the bait replaced every one to three months (depending on rat activity in the area).  Keep in mind that people have been trying to get rid of rats for tens of thousands of years, and there are still plenty of rats around.


Critter Control of Richmond provides service to the following cities:

Ashland | Chester | Chesterfield | Colonial Heights | Glen Allen | Henrico

Highland Springs | Hopewell | Manakin Sabot | Mechanicsville | Midlothian

Moseley | Petersburg  | Powhatan | Richmond | Sandston | Varina 

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