Sorry to all you UB40 fans, this is actually a blog post about rats in kitchens and how to get rid of them. Fun Fact: New York City has more rats than people. And some estimate say that there are 5 rats to every one person in NYC! Yikes – that’s about 42.5 million rats! Make me want to vacation there this summer. I’m not sure what the statistics are in Sacramento, CA, but if you own a home in Sacramento, especially in the older areas, or conduct property management, you know that rats, mice, and rodents in general (yes, birds, bats and squirrels too!), like to get in your attic and sometimes your house! Here’s some advice based on my experience, but please, please, please consult a professional for a second opinion.
I actually had some friends (just out of college-dudes) who lived in a house off of P st, where they said that they regularly would see a huge rat (picture small dog) perched on their stove in the middle of the night (probably eating left over pizza scraps) – eeeeew… yuck!
FIRST… Clean your house! Don’t leave food scraps out for rodents to come in and feed on. I know, this is sometimes hard with kids and a busy life. I have tenants calling me to say that they see mouse droppings in their kitchen cabinets. When I visit their home… yep, filthy with food scraps all over the countertops – think left over KFC chicken bones. Hmmmmmm! Also, I find that they like our compost. Even when it’s covered, they will dig under to get in. I have to put some kind of barrier in the dirt to prevent them from getting in. Anyone have success with this? I digress… clean your house, especially of food products laying around. By the way, spiders love dust and dirty houses (maybe that way we have so many spiiiiiider in my…. Wait a minute!).
TWO – Look for voids, holes, and entry ways, where the critters can get in. Look everywhere, whether it be through the walls, basement, or especially the attic. These all have to be sealed to prevent rodents and pests from coming in. This is the stuff that no one wants to do, and what keeps pest companies in business. Get some foam. … Get some mesh… Cover and plug the entry ways. I’ve heard that once a squirrel take up residence in the attic, it’s very difficult to get them to leave, especially if they start nesting. This is some serious business to attend to – go do it now!
THREE – Cut back tree branches and limbs away from the house, including ivy. These are natural ladders you are giving the rodents to climb up. Might as well put a “welcome” sign in the attic inviting them to come and make a nest, or at the very least, “come and have relay races on the roof” while you try to sleep. Also, we had a bunch of ivy growing over a fence in our yard and at night there was something always shaking in there and making it’s way through the natural layer of protection the ivy gave. I cut it all back, as it also destroys wood. Plus, trimming trees and ivy off of a house and roof saves your siding and roofing – some insurance companies require this be done before they insure the home.
FOUR – Buy a pellet gun. Ok, that’s just the kid in me… scratch that, unless you live in the country and can get away with firing it safely.
FIVE– If they are in the attic, buy some traps. Larger ones for larger rodents. A friend of mine gave me this advice for bait: Chew up some bubble gum for the stickiness and the sugar. Cover it with peanut butter and stick it to the bait spot on the trap. This ensures that the trap will spring. I’m trying it now… will let you know how it turns out.
Also, do not use poison in the attic, unless you want a sticking, rotting, rodent carcass wafting through your home! Use poisons outside. I like the ones where dogs and kids cannot get into them. Also they make ones that are refillable.
Bottom line, unless you buy a rat at a pet store and think that’s cool, no one like rats in their house, especially their kitchen. Let me know you 2 cents and what has worked for you.
Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900
Specializing in residential sales and property management.