DIY Rodent Control Guide
Hi my name is Brendan Mangnitz, I have been in the Rat Control & Rodent Removal industry now for nearly 6 years since I graduated from College at UF with a background in Entomology and Wildlife Biology. I have seen and controlled just about any wildlife issue you may think of. I have dealt with Rodents in apartments complex, Rats Dying in the walls, Rodent removal from Restaurants, Rodents in the Attic, Rodents dying in the AC duct work, Rodents in Pools, Rodents stuck in chimneys, and the list goes on and on. I have used several different control and removal methods for Rodents and that’s what I want to share with you guys on our website here at www.CenturianWildlife.com.
The first topic to address, is why are we having this problem with Rodents at our home or in our attic? Well the answer is actually a lot simpler then you would think, they were here before we were. Rodents are wildlife animals, they are used to living around trees, forest, bushes, shrubs etc. But as we have populated and continued to grow we have moved into their setting. We have taken away the Rodent’s natural setting and replaced it with homes, HOA’s, Apartment complexes, Malls, just regular growth and construction. Well by doing this we have created a hand full of OPTIMAL settings for Rodents and nuisance wildlife. As humans we generate garbage, we create additional food sources for Rodents and other critters. So now you take their natural setting of a forest, replace it with homes, and then add food and plenty of places to hide and nest. Well what do you think the Rodents are going to do? THRIVE! And that is what they are doing we are providing the Rodents with an abundant amount of food, our trash, and we are desensitizing them, meaning they no longer have to hunt and be resourceful to eat and stay alive, but just the opposite. All they have to do is climb inside your trash can to have a buffet!
Well now let’s talk about why the Rodents are getting into your attic. It’s simple, the attic is a PERFECT place for the Rodents to create a shelter. It’s hot, it’s nice and comfy with the insulation, there are no outside elements like rain or wind so they are protected, and best of all, there are no predators or enemies. If I was a Rodent, I sure would rather live in an attic then a tree! So you take the perfect conditions of your attic as a shelter, then you add your trash cans right on the outside of the home, and you just gave the Rodent all the things that they want to live. Why would they ever want to leave your residence? Free Rent, Free Buffet, Cozy bed, and that’s why you have Rodents in your attic or rummaging around your lawn and home.
How to fix your Rodent problem and how to remove the Rodents:
10 Simple Steps for Effective Rodent Removal & Control
1st step is to Identify that you do indeed have a rat or rodent problem. Are you seeing a lot of rat poop in the garage? Are you hearing light noises in the attic? Are your trash cans being torn up or ripped open every night? Are you finding signs of gnawing or chewing on pipes, wires, and drywall? Well if you have the tell-tale signs of a Rodent infestation then keep reading. What I normally like to do and tell my customers when they suspect that they are dealing with a nuisance Rodent is document it. So make sure it is a Rodent, since all animals’ removal method is different.
Check the property and lawn for rodent Feces: Are you seeing rodent poop like this in your yard or rat droppings in your pool? Are you seeing rodent paw prints on your trash can, on the wall, on the pavement, do you see rodent tracks? Are your pets chasing rodents the yard? Confirm the activity on the exterior is indeed rodents. The next step that you are going to want to take is to see if they have made it into the attic or not. You will not always hear rodents in the attic. They can be agile and quiet. Rodents in the attic are not always loud. So what you are going to want to do is get into the attic and perform and inspection. Any time you think that you have animals in the attic, especially rodents in the attic, you want to be 100% careful and safe. If you do not feel safe or do not want to take the chance call me, and we can talk to you over the phone and even do an inspection for you or send you one of my inspectors to help out. I recommend hiring a rodent removal specialist for safety reasons, but if you do want to do the inspection then continue reading?
Anytime that you enter an attic for rodents there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Rodents are dangerous, they are territorial, they are nasty, and have tons of bacteria, so you want to make sure you are prepared. Rodent feces is one of the most bacteria infested feces that we deal with on the regular so you will want to make sure you wear a respirator to protect your lungs. There are a few issues with rodent feces that I will touch on to make sure you are protected, get it removed, and the attic and your home is contamination free.
Wildlife are known to carry many different zoonotic diseases, meaning they can be transmitted to humans. We will discuss each of those in detail. We are not intending to scare you by discussing the diseases associated with rodents, but feel you should be informed of the health risk to you and your pets. The following is a list of some of the zoonotic diseases that you and your pets could be exposed to from wildlife in your attic. You can read more about Rodent Diseases on my Rat Diseases page.
- Canine Distemper
- Rodent Roundworm
So with all these Diseases and Bacteria MAKE SURE YOU WEAR YOUR RESPIRATOR AND MAKE SURE YOU STAY PROTECTED AND REMOVE ALL THE BACTERIA POOP AND CONTAMINATION FROM YOUR ATTIC.
Next step once your lungs are protected you will want to make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves. I ALSO strongly recommend you take your phone in the attic with you or even a blue tooth speaker and you should blare some music. Rodents and most other creatures in the attic will be afraid of all this noise or at least react to it so that you can see where they are hiding and nesting. They will think that there was a party in your attic and will become afraid and want to hide or leave. This is what you want when you do an inspection, if you are doing an inspection of rodents in the attic yourself you do not want to come in contact with a mother rodent she may get defensive and you do not want to run the chance of her attacking you. So blare some music, have a disco in the attic, whatever just make sure you make a lot of noise to scare the rodent. Once you are certain the the rodent is out of the attic, go ahead and take out your flashlight and do an inspection remember to walk on the beams in your attic, you don’t want to fall through the attic like my buddy James did when he was doing an inspection. Walk around the attic and look for the evidence of a rodent infestation. Do you see rodent poop do you see urine, do you see rodent trails? If you do then you can confirm that you are having an issue with rodents in the attic. If you do not see any of the sign, great, you caught the issue before it became a real big problem. Either or what you are going to want to do is continue ready for the steps below for how to trap and remove the rodent from your attic, lawn or property. Then next you will want to close off any of the openings on the home to prevent future rodents from coming back. If you do not have them in the attic but just on the roof or running in the gutters you still want to close off these openings or access points otherwise it’s only a matter of time that the rodent will want to explore and go into your attic. It's always a good thing to be proactive and preventative when dealing with rodents. The damage and destruction rodents can cause can get into the $1000’s of Dollars.
Ok so Next Step: Removal of the rodent: Trapping! Trapping is the most successful and humane way to remove rodents. There are deterrents for rodents that you can use, and I will discuss tools to trap rodents, but in all honestly the best way to remove rodents is to Trap them. I prefer Victor rodent Traps. You generally want to buy a large amount of traps. You want to put the traps around the areas in the attic where you are seeing the signs of a rodent infestation. So put the traps around the areas where you see the rat poop or where you see they have made tunnels in the insulation. Once you have determined the correct place for the rodent traps you will want to set those rodent traps and monitor them multiple times throughout the removal process, I would recommend every 24-72 hours. Keep in mind that these types of traps may be small, but they pack a serious punch–enough to snap the neck of a rodent. Keep humans and pets away from these traps at all costs. If you have small children and/or curious pets it is always a good idea to keep them out of the house during a rodent trapping if you put the traps inside the house. If they are in the attic, then just make sure only you or an adult is up there checking them.
Next you will want to make sure that you properly bait the trap. There are several different baits you can uses. Peanut butter works very well, Slim Jims are good bait, Marshmallows or jelly works good for trapping mice, Cheetos work pretty good. Honestly Rats will eat anything.
*Note-Be very careful when setting Snap Traps. The victor Rat Traps can be very strong. I have broken my thumb nail on them several times. They are scary and strong, but I am telling you they are the best when it comes to rat traps! I am not a fan of glue boards unless I am trying to catch Mice. I will write an article later about Mice removal and Mice traps, but they are completely different than rats. The reasons I dont like glue boards for Rat removal is the rat does not die right away. It's a HORRIBLE death, the rat is stuck on the glue board screaming until it finally dies. Where with Victor Snap Traps the death is immediate and snaps the neck instantly and therefore, in my opinion, is the most humane trap for rodent and rat removal.
*Note- Sometimes rodents are smart enough to steal the bait from the traps by reaching through and grabbing handfuls of bait without setting it off. They will also flip the traps. If you run into this, there are a few tricks you can use to fool them. In these cases, glue the bait to the trip pan or tie it down, when they go to pull at it, SNAP, caught!
Rodent Trapping and removal can take some time. I generally give it a total of two to three weeks trapping from start to finish until I catch all the Rodents. Normally Rodents will have a large colony, so even if you catch just one Rodent I would highly recommend keeping the Rodent traps out there for an extended period of time, JUST DON'T FORGET TO CHECK THEM. Be patient, give it time and don’t mess with the traps. Let the bait sit there for a few days and try to catch the Rodent. Bait will normally stay good for about 72 hours or even a week depending on what bait you used and depending on weather conditions, but remember Rodents are used to eating trash, so the Rodent will not be picky if it smells a little.
Generally give yourself about 2 weeks for rat trapping. When you're in the Attic set the traps in all the areas where you're seeing rat feces and urine these are going to be the areas in the attic and in the insulation that seem like there's Trails or if you look in the insulation you see little holes in the insulation. This is where the rats are actually burning underneath the insulation so take the rat traps and strategically placed them right by the entrance of these rat holes that way when the rat comes out at night and you're going to catch the rat in the Trap. Urine can be very stinky if you go into the attic and it really has a musky odor chances are that's the smell of the rat urine and the rat poop these are also going to be areas in which the rats live so on top of AC handlers you might see a lot of rat feces and rat urine stain, put rat traps here as well like I said before you want to use about 6 to 12 traps if your infestation of rats seems very high then put more traps keep the trap's out there for 2 weeks check the traps every 72 hours until an entire week goes by where you're not catching anything want to confirm that you know if not catching anything anymore and you're not hearing any more noises of the rats in the Attic move on to the next steps.
Once it is confirmed that all the Rodents are gone, trapped, and removed, the next step in How to Remove Rodents is going to be an Exclusion. An exclusion is where you seal up the home from any of the openings, damage or access points that the Rodent or other animals have used to gain access to your attic and home. This is more on the handyman side of things. If you are not good at handyman or construction work you may want to give me a call, or any of our preferred vendors, and we can go out there with my exclusion crew and take care of the Rodent damage for you. If you want to try it, then keep reading and good luck!
You want to use only the best materials anytime you are dealing with Rodents. They are strong and fierce, and very determined, you would be completely astonished by what they are capable of chewing through! The foam that they sell at the hardware store, is 100% GARBAGE. Rodents can chew right through this without difficulty and you will be back to square one, but now with a smarter rat.
You want to use only Steel, Metal, and Concrete products. Identify all the areas on the home that have gaps or openings. You then want to seal off these areas ensuring that future animals cannot get into the structure. Take your time and do a good job closing off your home from the Rodents, take a look at the roof, walk the soffits, and really make sure you locate any spots that can be potential access points. Rodents only need ½ inch of space in order to gain access to your home, if they can fit their head in, the rest of their body will follow. Roof Returns are company areas that Rodents generally use, you will want to close these off using metal and concrete.
Final and Last Step! Clean up the mess behind. No one said this was all fun and trapping games, rodent removal is hard and dirty work, but it's got to get done. Now that you have trapped the rodent, gotten the rodents out of the attic, did the animal exclusion and repair work, you are on the final steps to completing the job. The last thing that you want to do is remove all the mess that the rodent left behind in the attic. This is honestly one of the most important parts of rodent removal and my how to guides for removing rodents and getting rid of rodents, but so many times homeowners skip this step and have more and more issues in the future.
Why: Feces, Urine, contaminates, this is all bacteria in the attic, but also its all attractants for other rodents and animals in the area that may be looking for a good place to call home. But additionally, do you want this over your head at night when you sleep? NO that is why it must be removed. There are ductworks and airways that lead from the attic into your home. Just look up, you see those vents in your ceiling? Where do you think the ductwork and vents are? Your attic, and what if there is an opening or cut in the ducts from the rodents, well then you're breathing in all that bacteria that was left in the attic. Remember the harms from the rodent poop I was talking about before? Well that’s in your attic, you want to remove that asap. Breathing in bacteria from a rodent infestation can be fatal and causes many other severe respiratory issues. You will want to wear full personal protection gear, and use a shop vac with HELP filter or use gloved hands and bags and start removing all the insulation that has been contaminated and also all the feces and urine areas, these are called latrines, when rodents defecate in one single area. Once ALL the contaminates from your attic and from the rodents are removed you will want to apply a product such as DSV to all of your attic. You can use a little pump spray from your local hardware store and apply all the product to the insulation and attic. Make sure you read the label and use the correct amounts. Professional Wildlife control companies, like mine and the preferred vendors I list, use heavy duty equipment like an atomizer , when doing any type of attic sanitation. For my customers I want to make sure that EVERY single section in the attic is fully taken care of and nothing is left behind. If you are reading this how to article and want to do this yourself just make sure you do a very good job, don’t cut any corners, and be extremely proficient to ensure the safety of your family.
And that is my How to Guide when it comes to rodents in the attic or your property and how to remove them. If you are interested in learning more, read my list of best rat trapping tips. Like I have mentioned my name is Brendan Mangnitz I have being doing pest wildlife and rodent removal now for over 6 years. I have worked and trained 100’s of people of the past years on perfecting our rodent trapping skills. It takes time, skill, and patience but removing rodents can be very fun, dangerous, but is also something that we deal with on the daily here. Rodents have learned how to thrive and do great in the urban setting. This is not something that is going away. With more and more houses coming up every day, more land being constructed and developed we will always have issues with rodents in the attic. Just read and learn how to protect yourself, your family, and your home and you should be good to go. If you have any questions you can email directly at brendan@CenturianWildlife.com or call my office at 1-844-247-WILD any time of the day or night, THANKS!