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Problems with Rats

Question: For some years it seems, we've had rats nesting in the insulation of our basement walls. I can definitely hear them, loud and clear, through the wall of the first floor laundry room and we've even seen a rat, or two in that vicinity in the wee hours of the morning; the laundry room is right next to the kitchen and dining room, where the cats eat (the rats are conveniently keen to gorging on the cats kibble). What do we do? It's a quandary that is certainly "plaguing" us literally and conscientiously. At my place of work, my employers use a time release poison that makes the rats wonder back to the nest, where fellow rats eat them and in turn become sick and die. I don't like that method because it carelessly poisons the food chain. Have a heart traps on the the other hand are not so humane, because I've been told that taking any rat far enough away from the original nest so as not to return is introducing that rat to a foreign and hostile environment where the rat will most certainly be killed. So my big question is, what's the most humane way to deal with this problem? The rats cannot stay, they are gradually destroying our walls and insulation. Any thoughts, or experience with this?

     Sincerely -Karen

Answer 1: The first thing you can try is to remove the all food source(s). After a few days the rats may move away. Ten years ago, when I lived in a city, it took about two weeks for me to realize all the food sources that we available to rats without much effort. It took two weeks of keeping all my food in the refrigerator and taking my trash out every night. The good news, of course, is that they are nocturnal and you only have to clean up at dusk.
     Good luck.
     Ann Berlin

Answer 2: Hi. We too have a rat problem - sometimes worse than others. Although my farmed animal sanctuary is in a rural area, people are moving out here and are building new homes at an astounding rate. As a result the rats move toward my barn and house, looking for shelter and food as their field habitat is systematically destroyed by new construction. I am well aware that many folk do poison rats, trap them in cruel traps, trap them in humane traps. I have spoken at length with our County Agricultural Extension agent who tells me that any standard method of forced rat removal, aside from the humane/inhumane aspects, tends to be ineffective because the rats only step up their breeding to replace the ones who die/disappear. He suggests not only the expedient of keeping all food sources tightly covered but also of removing insofar as possible any of the countless places rats can move in and nest. In other words, use concrete flooring in barns or outbuildings; do not stack lumber or other materials that create protective barriers for nesting rats; block access to walls and attics. The goal is to make the environment uninviting to rats so that they move on their own to "greener pastures." This solution is a solution only for a given homeowner or farmer in that when the rats move out of my/your place they simply go to someone else less prepared. I suppose that we have always had rats with us and always will but we certainly don't have to create an open invitation for them to "come on in and enjoy the food and hospitality." I hope some of this helps and I truly wish you the best of luck in your efforts.

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