When it comes to rats, you’ve got to be ruthless. They are animals that are fast taking over the world, making their way from country to country, continent to continent, until they have managed to make it to pretty much every land-area on our beautiful planet. The only place that you won’t find rats are the really cold ones — some parts of Alaska, Antarctica, etc. Even then, they are fast learning how to adapt and evolve so that they can survive in colder places. Perhaps it is just a matter of time before they inhabit every single land area on the planet? Without any exceptions?
If you have a rat infestation in your building, the first things you should have done were remove all traces of food. We aren’t going to list this as a simple property modification because it goes without saying — and should be basic common sense.
All the while you’re hand-delivering these creatures' food, they’ll just keep coming right atcha!
After making sure that EVERY trace of food has been removed, or is no longer accessible to your rodent friends, you should then go through the process of sealing up holes. If the holes are quite small, you’ll find that wire wool and expanding foam can do the job quite nicely, but it’s not a “forever fix”. You will still need to check the area — now vulnerable it has been penetrated once already — and repair any future weak spots. The only way to ensure that you can keep rats out of a building is by closing up the holes and then making sure they are kept close. The maintenance — upkeep of your sealants — never ends.
Larger holes aren’t so easily filled with wire wool and expanding foam, but you can look at durable metal flashing for the particularly hard-hit areas. The exterior walls of your home are more likely to come under attack regularly from wild critters, so these are the areas that you will want to pay attention to the most — and first. The rats that are inside the building can be successfully eradicated using rat traps, but you must first make sure you’ve stopped them from getting in. Otherwise, they will … They’ll just keep getting in.
It would be unreasonable to think you could keep every wild animal from entering your yard, but making the journey difficult is a great place to start. Rats like lots of places to hide, and a messy, debris-filled garden will provide plenty of those places. If you tidy up your land — removing and disposing of garden waste/debris, putting the kids toys away, etc. — the rats will have fewer places to hide-out, and will, therefore, avoid the area slightly more than other, safer areas.
You will also want to take a peek at what’s going on directly around the building. Are there drains? If they’re not covered properly, you’re running the risk of inviting rats in through them. Drain covers are relatively cheap to buy and replace, so there’s no excuse for this.
Dumpsters shouldn’t be close to your property, and you shouldn’t leave garbage bags out in the back yard either. These provide rats and other scavengers with plenty of food, especially in the form of leftovers, and will attract all of them. Rats, mice, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, wolves … the list is incredibly long and certainly plentiful.
Can you add a fence around your property? Do you already have one? Perhaps you should look at whether or not it’s doing the job intended — keeping you in and other things, out. A fence won’t prevent rats and other wild critters from getting in, but it will provide a barrier that they need to overcome. The more barriers you give them, the harder it will be for them to get what they want, and the quicker they’ll want to move on to somewhere else, where life will (hopefully) be much easier for them.
Remember that rats can swim, climb, and jump, as well as run faster than your eyes can keep up with them. This means that you need to have a good, 360 degree look around when trying to rat-proof your property. Tree branches and twigs that are up in the air are going to give these animals a literal walkway to get to the roof and other upper levels of your home. You are less likely to spot damage higher up on the exterior of the building, so you may not notice a small hole materializing, with tiny little chewing teeth marks all around the outside. Rats have plenty of time to get in, move in, invite the family along, and establish a relatively decent-sized group before many homeowners even realize they’re there.