Rat Sightings in Homes Continue to Rise

By Cindy Trillo

Rat Sightings in Homes Continue to Rise

A recent survey done by Harris Poll found that 37% of people had seen a rat in their home in the past year, a figure that has gone up by 7% over the past decade. Sacramento is no. 29 on Orkin’s list of “top rattiest cities” in America, and the summer months are when rats thrive on the streets in a busy, urban environment – they are living off the trash that we dispose of. But as the weather grows cooler in the fall, rats often find their way indoors looking for food and warmth. Preventative steps should be taken now to deter them before it becomes a problem. 

Looking for the signs

Rats produce an incredible 40 droppings every day, and they tend to go in the same places. When there are rats in a home there will be evidence of droppings which have a distinctive smell. Footprints are often found, messy rats nests, and strong odors coming from where they have been rubbing themselves against furnishings in order to mark their territory. Rats can also play havoc with the internal wiring in a home – they will often chew on wires in order to sharpen their teeth. This can be a big fire hazard, so keeping rats away from your electrical wiring is a priority. Using poison bait is effective for getting rid of rats, but for those with pets or young children in their home, using traps or getting in pest control may be a better option. 

Sealing a home

Even if rats are exterminated from a home, if they can still get into the property, they are likely to do so. In the summer it is important to rat-proof homes, before the fall weather sets in. Rats can squeeze through holes and cracks that are only an inch wide – the size of a quarter. These are often found in the least-used areas of homes, like the attic and the basement. Filling any holes or entry points with spray foam or steel wool will stop them getting in. Using rodent-proof cable sleeves is a great way to cover up any of the wiring in a home so that it is protected. 

Considering food storage

Rats are drawn into homes in search of food, and when they are hungry nothing is off the menu. Any loose food kept in cupboards and food storage areas, such as pasta and flour, should be in sealed containers made of glass. Rats and mice are particularly fond of anything containing wheat, such as breakfast cereal. They also have a surprisingly sweet tooth, so candy should be kept somewhere safe. Elk Grove residents with pets or outdoor animals like chickens, will need to make sure that their food is also stored in a secure container, as rats will easily chew through feed bags. 

Keeping Elk Grove free from rats and other vermin is essential, as rats spread diseases. Rodent-proofing a home before the fall will help prevent those pests from coming in and causing problems. 

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