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Rat Control & Exterminator in NJ & FL

Every critter has their own story.

The secret of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a proven, cost-effective strategy to combat pest problems without unnecessary pesticide use, is to understand the life-cycle of the pest that is pestering.

Rat on a wooden deck.
What do rats look like and why are they concerning?

Rats are medium-sized rodents that resemble large mice. They have a pointed snout and a scaly tail. Three of the most commonly encountered rat species are cotton rats, roof rats, and Norway rats.

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Cotton rats usually have gray hair speckled with some black hairs, and their bellies are light in color. Their head and bodies can be between 13.3 and 21.3 cm in length, and their tails can be between 7.6 and 16.5 cm in length. Roof rats are black or brown. They can grow to be over 40 cm long, and their tails are longer than their bodies. Norway rats are larger and their fur is brown or gray. Their bodies alone can grow up to 40 cm long and their tails, which are shorter than their bodies, can be up to 21 cm long. Rats can cause a lot of damage indoors and are considered unsanitary due to their tendency to transmit bacteria and harmful diseases.

Rat on a dirt ground.
Where do rats live?

A rat’s habitat will depend on its species. Cotton rats like areas with heavy vegetative cover, so they will live in places like grassy fields, ditches, brush, gardens, barns, cabins, and sheds.

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Roof rats prefer high places, and will live in attics, rafters, roofs, trees, and other elevated spaces. Norway rats thrive near human environments, so they tend to live in places like attics, basements, crawl spaces, wood piles, and even sewers.

Two rats on a dirt ground.
Why do I have a rat problem?

Rats can enter homes and businesses in countless ways. Small entry holes or unsealed spaces, like those around doors and vents, are the easiest way for a rat to get in.

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They can enter through any gaps that are ½ of an inch or larger, and they will chew new holes if they cannot find any big enough. Rats can gnaw through practically anything, including drain pipes. They will also use power lines and tree branches to climb onto roofs and enter through gaps in shingles. Rats usually enter homes in search of food and shelter. Leaving out food scraps and pet food can attract rats.

Closeup of a rat's face.
When are rats active?

Rats entering a home or business can be an issue at any point throughout the year, as they breed almost non-stop during warmer months. Rodent season, however, is a particularly problematic time.

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Rodent season is when rats and other rodents stop breeding and start looking for a place to spend the winter. It starts with the arrival of cooler weather, which can be anywhere from August to late October. Rats will be looking for food and a warm place to build their winter nest, both of which can be provided by houses. For the most part, rats will venture back outdoors once warm weather arrives, which can happen anywhere from March to May. However, some rats will stay in homes year-round. Rats are typically most active at night when humans are asleep or gone.

Rat on concrete.
What’s the best way to prevent a rat infestation?

Rats can fit through a space as small as ½ of an inch, so it is important to seal any possible entryways that are that side or larger. This includes caulking gaps around windows and doors, fixing cracks in foundations, and replacing loose or missing roof shingles.

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Chimneys and vents should have tight fitting covers. Rats are attracted to food sources, so all pantry food and pet food should be stored in airtight containers, and kitchens and dining areas should be kept clean. Garbage should be kept in bins with tight fitting or locking lids. It is a good idea to keep trees and bushes trimmed and away from the immediate exterior of buildings. Limiting clutter in areas like attics and basements can minimize the amount of places rats can hide. A few rats can become a large infestation quickly, so if you are trying to get rid of rats in your home call EXCEL Termite and Pest Control and ask for our rat removal services today.

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