How to get rid of rats?
Is Saratoga seeing an uptick in the number of rats?
Not exactly a lot, but they are causing damage
Apparently, they are getting into cars, eating up wiring and causing extensive damage.
I can assure you if you have an unwelcome rat in your home, it is a *huge* problem. A friend of ours has been dealing with a nocturnal rat that is having a field day in their kitchen, eating up anything it can. This rat is special, it finds even napkins as gourmet dinner
So here is what you can do if you have a rat problem.
- Read this -> Here is some information about roof rats which is the most common problem in our county
- You can request a free Inspection from Santa Clara County Vector Control and get their recommendations. Be prepared to invite them into your home
- Go Online - click here or visit www.sccvector.org and click on service request, pick rodent
- Call 408 918 4770 or 408 298 6356. Tell them you have a rat problem. Linda Kealey and team will help you and likely schedule an appointment for a technician to visit your home. Get their advise for free.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org, use the Vector Control mobile app
On the Vector Control website --> Here <-- you can also find an in-depth brochure on how to control rats.
Some of their recommendations include:
Remove food sources:
- Pickup fruits/nuts that fall from trees
- Keep garbage containers covered
- Never leave pet food or water outside
Block entrances to your home:
- Remove gaps at the bottom and sides of all doors, including garage doors
- Seal off holes and gaps between roof tiles and around pipe entrances with metal, concrete, or hardware cloth
- Clear tree branches away from your home
Eliminate potential nesting locations:
- Keep sheds and storage areas closed and neat
- Fix leaky spigots and landscaping fixtures to eliminate potential water sources
- Reduce or remove thin, dense vegetation and ivy that climbs or grows higher than 10 inches
Control rat populations:
- Larger snap traps are recommended for controlling rat populations
- Bait suggestions for traps include peanut butter, nuts, oatmeal, bacon, and apple
- Traps should be placed in areas used as pathways by rats, such as the top of fences and next to walls, and traps should be placed with the trigger facing the wall instead of adjacent to the wall
FROM TERRI I’ve been having great success with the electric ‘Rat Zapper’, sold at Home Depot. They’re around $65, but worth it! No getting your fingers slammed when you set it. I’ve caught every rat that was bothering my house so far (13).
FROM KEITH: Please see attached picture - I've captured and relocated several. I used fruit and vegetables for bait.
FROM LYNNE: A couple of years ago, when the rats started having night-time parties in my attic every night, I got fed up with situation and called in a rodent control specialist. I had no idea that there were so many “holes” in my home that a rat could enter. Something the size of a quarter can make a freeway for rats. This includes any area from the foundation to the vents in the roof … foundation vents, cable entries for power, internet connections, dryer vents, etc. Did you know they can scale a vertical wall?
I chose to make an investment in ridding my home of these entry ways. If I remember right, it was about $1800. The company came out, blocked all of these holes in various ways and put out traps in the crawl space and attic to catch anything that was already living there. The technicians came out once a week to check the traps … this isn’t enough because I was catching them every day for the first week, so I emptied and reset the traps daily. Not a pleasant job, but a necessary one.
I haven’t had a problem since and it has been a worthwhile investment. I have no evidence of rats in my home now.
A word of caution … whether you have pets or not, if you choose to use a rodenticide in other areas of your property, please read the directions carefully and secure the product per the instructions. Rodents (rats and squirrels) will not just use the product in the area where you place it, they will try to take it “home”. A few years ago, a neighbor found his dog beginning to gnaw on a blue cake of rodenticide in his backyard that someone had neglected to secure. This stuff is deadly to your pets, and everyone else’s. Once ingested it can kill quickly, as can any rodent that may die in your yard .. my dogs found a dead rat in my backyard a couple of weeks ago. Please, if you use it, be careful.
FROM OLIVER: Also for people who park their car overnight on the street, try to stay away from the sewage drain openings. That is where the street rats hop out at night.
Well, we need more predators for the rats: coyotes, hawks, owls, cats, etc.
Unfortunately, businesses and homes are using poison traps for the rats. This causes the predators to die off.
Not myth, fact.
There are plants which encourage rats to nest such as Italian cypress and ivy.
Another problem is people who insist on feeding squirrels. Not only does this increase the squirrel population but it increases the rat population as well, as the rats are perfectly happy to also eat the nuts.
There’s been a problem with rats, squirrels, and gophers in our neighbourhood for the 16 years I’ve been living here and it’s only gotten worse.
Try a city wide ban on commercial and residential properties using rat traps that use poison, a ban on poison for gopher control, and a ban on feeding squirrels. That might help.
Feeding squirrels has the potential to lead to aggressive squirrels: https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Boy-attacked-by-squirrel-in-Mtn-View-park-3326410.php
FROM TOM: We have had a rat problem for years. I finally declared war and called Bay Area Rodent Solutions. Free estimate and thorough work. I no longer have a rat problem! But my neighbors do now. BARS closed all possible openings into my crawl space and solved our problem. I highly recommend them.
FROM LANCE: With regard to your note, yes we have a rat problem in this area. My experience over the past 3 years.
Nominally 3 years ago rats got into my garden shed destroying most every thing in it. First I tried to poison them but the thrived on two different poisons I got locally. I trapped 6 young rats and mama rat just before a new litter was born.
The following year a rat somehow got into the pool heater and chewed up everything. Given the age of the unit and cost of repair I had to replace it. The replacement unit cost about $2000.
September 2017 we heard something in the attic and I put a few of my rat traps up there and caught a female rat which was very close tho having a litter. I was very luck that some real damage was not done.
Late summer this year, <>spotted a young rat just outside our living room door when the motion sensor turned on the outdoor lights. I eventually caught 6 more rats using the rat traps in our back yard.
I recommend using the new plastic traps
As they are easy to use, safe to bate and do not require handling the dead rodents.
Use either peanut butter or chocolate based spread as bate.
FROM STAN: Years ago there were more outdoor cats in the city. Because of coyotes, people keep their cats inside and the rats thrive.
FROM BILL: We have yet to experience damage to our vehicles however, our fruit tree yields have suffered this year and the dead rat in traps count has risen. A likely reason for the rise in rodent counts is the increase in the numbers of teardown and remodels going on in the various neighborhoods. Often when these startup in the teardown phase many rodent nests are disturbed and they have to find new homes and they move in to what ever is nearby.
And yes they will eat anything as evidenced by the number of skinless Meyer lemons I had over the past year - they eat the skins on the tree and leave the bare lemon on the tree till it falls off on its own accord.
Just an observation from our neighborhood where there have been sequential remodels over the past few years and each one has resulted in a temporary rise in the rodent population.
FROM PATRICIA: You need to check out the thread on Nextdoor about Owls. One poster put a picture of an owl that she saw in her backyard near The Village. It has provoked an interesting discussion as to how Owls are natural predators for small rodents, especially rats and field mice. Others have chimed in about how owls in their neighborhood seem to be taking care of some of the rat problem. Owls need "houses" on high poles/trees as habitat. We have a lot of tall pines/redwoods/cedars, etc. that might be suitable to place a few owl habitats. And if we had fewer rats a lot of us would be happier. And, we wouldn't be so included to put out traps and/or poisons that can be dangerous to other welcome wildlife and young children.
There is quite an interest encouraging these owls, so it might be worth looking into. And for a little money, establishing a few owl houses around the area.
I would also recommend that folks avoid rat poison as other animals (dogs for instance) might accidentally eat it and get sick (or worse), AND rats ingest poison tend to look for water and end up in someone's pool. Use natural methods. You might also want to solicit what folks are doing to capture rats successfully and share those tips. I know a few rat slayers who have tried and true methods. Rats love to live/hide in shrubs, so folks need to cut those down if they can.
They put a regular wooden rat trap parallel to the wood fence (nail it to it) with peanut butter mixed with doritos. The trap is set and the when the rat peeks over the fence at the food, the trap is set and nearly decapitates the rat, but not quite. The rat flips over breaking it's neck. The trap should be used over and over because rats are always interested in the smell of the previous rat. The neighbors who told me about this method have caught dozens of rats. one had their car wires gnawed causing thousands of dollars of repair. The funny one is the repair guy was working on the car when the rat fell on him when the car was up on a ramp. It really is a problem especially when a neighbor has a lot of shrubs or does new landscaping that causes the rats to find a new home.
Rat are HORRIBLE. I had to deal with them a few years ago. Vector control was a waste of time and tax payers money, but if you want go ahead and contact them. The only way I was able to solve the problem was 1. hired a handy person to seal every single crevasse in the roof of my house, garage and areas where the roof meets the gutters and places like that. Once that has been achieved, unfortunately the may be rats that get trapped inside your house. So... 2. I purchased traps and used them for a period of time. They are really fond of peanut butter, so I used lots of it. So far my house has been free of rats for a few years. To seal any access into the house you may need to use a type of spray foam that expands once applied. You need to put mesh wire on any other opening, such as the vent for the dryer. Rats are too clever and they don't miss anything. Good luck
Take a small piece of rag and dab it w/peanut butter. ALSO, try not to use the same traps, as they can smell any previous odors. That might work.
A Nextdoor poster said the sonic devices (not sure of term to use) worked for them. So I am trying. Do believe it is helping. I used to keep bait way down under cabinets or in special plastic boxes only rats can access....still do ...but bait not being eaten. Trying to not use bait. BTW, bait I use, strictly controlled by government for content. I have plug in devices and battery controlled and solar. My plants, previously being destroyed by rabbits, are now getting new growth I think thanks to these noisy devices. I think they work! Have had engine damage...expensive damage!
This is by far the best system out there and its DIY. And for the humane guys out there you can avoid filling up the bucket with water and release them in the wild. I have caught many using this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SIlYiiCGLI
Bay Area Rodent Solution, 408 626 9530
Chris Saldana, smbapu<at>bayarearodentsolutions.com
A commercial rat control company to try is Killroy, based in Campbell. We need rat proofing every 6-10 years and they do a good job From Larry Burgess