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Unwelcome Guests: Rats

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TermTalesRat

For the most part, my morning routine consists of getting myself, my husband and my kids up, dressed, fed and ready for the day. So by the time I have the house to myself and am able to enjoy a cup of coffee, the last thing I want is an unwelcome visitor in my kitchen.

It wasn’t long ago that my morning took a turn for the worse once my family was out the door. I had gone back into the kitchen and was putting a few things away in the pantry when I spotted something moving in the corner of my eye. Instinctively, I jumped back and thank goodness that I did because it was a rat!!

About 8 inches in length (not including its tail) and brown in color, I knew this little guy was a pack rat – not the kind of houseguest I was used to!

I quickly grabbed the broom and used it as a buffer to make sure the pack rat didn’t come near me. Dumping out a container of bagged chips, I cornered the pack rat and carefully put the container over him.

I didn’t want to leave the kitchen to get our house phone, so I got my cellphone out of my back pocket and quickly scrolled through my contacts to call Robby, my local Terminix professional.

After just a few rings, Robby answered and I was able to explain my situation. He told me not to worry and that there would be an exterminator out to my house as soon as possible to take care of things.

Not knowing how a pack rat had even gotten in my house, I decided to look up a few rat facts on the Terminix website while I waited. I found some useful tips and now I want to pass them along to you!

  • Avoid pack rats by sealing as many holes and cracks larger than 1/4 of an inch as possible in the outside of your home. Fill them with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing them with foam. These attract rodents and make it easy for them to get inside of your house.
  • Keep all firewood as far from your house as possible and be sure to store it off of the ground.
  • Try to remove any piles of debris, stones, bricks, etc. from around the foundation of your home.
  • Install weather strips on the bottom of your doors to prevent rodents from entering.
  • Remember, your Terminix service includes coverage of commensal rats and mice, and much of the service provided during colder months is to inspect for signs of rodents.
  • Although not a significant health threat, pack rats are associated with a number of diseases that infect humans, including plague and lyme disease. For this reason, dead rats should never be handled using bare hands, and care should be taken to avoid their ectoparasites, especially fleas and ticks.

For more information on how to control the pests in your home, visit the Terminix website or check out more Terminix Tales from our Bug Blog here.