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Rat Extermination and Control

Athens-Clarke County Regional Office of Rid-A-Critter

Jason rapelling on a roof rat extermination job

Jason rapelling on a roof rat extermination job

There are two species of rats that are structural pests in the Athens area and most of Georgia. In urban areas, Norway rats (also called brown rats, wharf rats, or sewer rats) are the more common of the two. In rural or wooded areas, roof rats (also called black rats) outnumber Norway rats. But either rat can be found in either environment.

To the best of our knowledge, rats are the first animals that people were willing to pay other people to eradicate. Early on in history, people started recognizing an association between rats and disease, long before this connection was understood and proven by science. The observation that disease increased when rat populations were high inspired some enterprising people to get into the business of "rat catching." Those early "rat catchers" were the first professional exterminators.

It's fitting that rats had the dubious distinction of being the first animals recognized as serious enough pests that people were willing to pay to get rid of them. Rats have been associated with disease since Biblical times, but modern science has confirmed their involvement in the transmission of serious diseases like bubonic plague, hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever, rat-bite fever, salmonella, and many others. That gives rats the dubious honor of being the most notorious disease vectors in human history.

Rat Control Methods

The first rat catchers controlled rats pretty much the same way Rid-A-Critter does: They trapped them, removed them, and then sealed them out. That's still the best way to permanently control rats, and it's the way Rid-A-Critter does it to this day. Sometimes it's good to be old-fashioned.

In the early 20th Century, however, the trend in rat control started to move away from trapping and exclusion and toward the use of chemical rat poisons, known as rodenticides. This actually was and remains a good thing for public health rat control in big cities because it makes wide-area rat extermination both practical and economical. This is still the case today: There are times, places, and situations in which the use of rat poisons is the best way to go, especially in wide-area public health rat abatement projects such as sewer baiting.

In homes and other buildings, however, poisons are not the best way to kill rats. Rat extermination in homes should be performed the old-fashioned way, without chemical poisons, for several very good reasons:

Rodenticides are poisons. Okay, so this is obvious. What's not so obvious, however, is that rat poisons are not specific to rats. They'll kill any mammal (as well as some other animals, like birds) that happen to eat them. This sometimes includes animals that are secondarily poisoned because they ate a poisoned rat. For example, a hawk that eats a poisoned rat may also be poisoned.

Poisoned rats don't "go outside to seek water." Don't believe that. Seriously. It's hogwash. Poisoned rats usually die where they live, and if where they live happens to be in your home, then that's probably where they're going to die -- and where they're going to rot away and stink. In fact, we get a lot of calls from customers who want to hire us specifically to find and remove dead rats (and other animals) that were killed by the poisons that other less-enlightened rat exterminators tossed around in people's houses.

Non-chemical rat control is more permanent. It's also less costly in the long run. Here's why.

When your exterminator uses poisons to kill rats, the poison has to be replaced from time to time (usually monthly) because the rats eat it, because it's eaten by insects (who don't die when they eat it, by the way), or because it gets moldy and unappealing to rats. These monthly visits are good for your exterminator because they gives him steady work. For you, on the other hand, not so much, because you're the one paying him.

Our non-chemical rat control seals rats out of a house so they can't get back in. There's no poison to replace, and therefore no monthly visits to replace it. There's also no chance of a rat dying inside your wall, nor of a pet or other non-target animal being accidentally poisoned.

Are Rodenticides Ever a Good Idea?

Sometimes rat poisons are helpful or necessary, especially outdoors; but rarely if ever inside a house.

As mentioned earlier, rat poisons are a good way for communities to rapidly reduce rat populations over a broad outdoor area, especially in cities. Exterminators have been baiting sewers for rats for generations. Rodenticides in tamper-resistant bait stations are also required outside certain types of buildings, such as food-processing plants or warehouses, to comply with health codes or industry standards. Rodenticides can also be handy when used directly in rat burrows outside a home or business if the outdoor rat population is very high.

It's rare, however, that rat poisons are appropriate inside a building. For an occupied building, rat poisons are almost never the right way to eliminate a rat problem.

Rat Control Gallery

Here are some pictures we've taken at the rat-removal jobs that we've done.

Please contact us for more information about our long-lasting, exclusion-based rat-removal programs. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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Video Shows how Rats Chewed Their Way In Through the Dryer Vent
by Webmaster
Nov 16, 2018 07:15:09 am.

Video of Rat Holes in the Foundation of a House
by Webmaster
Nov 12, 2018 10:31:30 am.

Our Heartfelt Thanks to All Our Veterans and Service Members, Past and Present
by Webmaster
Nov 09, 2018 06:10:15 am.

Here's a Common Way that Rodents Get Into Houses
by Webmaster
Nov 06, 2018 10:21:46 am.

Picture of Tim Removing a Dead Animal from a Chimney
by Webmaster
Oct 31, 2018 12:39:47 pm.

Norway Rats Got Into a House Around the Gas Pipe
by Webmaster
Oct 24, 2018 10:29:42 am.

Chad Found a Roof Rat Damage at a House in Athens
by Webmaster
Oct 22, 2018 10:53:11 am.

This Was the Roof Rat Entry Gap into a House in Athens
by Webmaster
Oct 18, 2018 10:31:29 am.

Here's How Roof Rats Got Into an Attic in Athens
by Webmaster
Oct 15, 2018 11:00:00 am.

This Was the Rat Entry Hole into a House in Jefferson
by Webmaster
Oct 11, 2018 10:06:44 am.

Norway Rats Got Into this House through the Air-Conditioning Lines
by Webmaster
Oct 09, 2018 10:59:19 am.

Norway Rats Chewed Through a Crawl Space Door
by Webmaster
Oct 09, 2018 10:53:59 am.

Norway Rats Were Using an Old Dryer Duct to Get Into a House
by Webmaster
Oct 05, 2018 10:39:56 am.

Tim Found a Surprise in the Attic of the Kramden Home
by Webmaster
Oct 05, 2018 10:34:32 am.

Norway Rats Gnawed Through a Crawl Space Door
by Webmaster
Oct 02, 2018 10:20:35 am.

Carl Found Rat Damage in the Crawl Space of a House
by Webmaster
Oct 02, 2018 10:18:05 am.

Rare Example of Stone-Age Rat Proofing
by Webmaster
Sep 27, 2018 09:03:58 am.

Jason and Justin are Doing Roof Rat Control in Winterville, Georgia
by Webmaster
Sep 26, 2018 10:18:34 am.

Fortunately, Rid-A-Critter Can Handle Big or Small Animal-Control Jobs
by Webmaster
Sep 25, 2018 10:23:53 am.

Here's a Roof Rat Hole in a House in Athens
by Webmaster
Sep 20, 2018 09:11:29 am.

Video of an Unusual Rat Entry Point
by Webmaster
Sep 18, 2018 10:36:08 am.

Hungry Snakes Followed the Rats into the Attic
by Webmaster
Sep 18, 2018 10:32:43 am.

Video of a Failed DIY Rat Exclusion Attempt
by Webmaster
Sep 18, 2018 10:21:10 am.

This Shoddy Flashing Led to a Roof Rat Problem
by Webmaster
Sep 17, 2018 10:48:14 am.

Tim Discovered Rat Damage to Electrical Wiring and Wood
by Webmaster
Sep 14, 2018 07:59:40 am.

Short Video of Roof Rat Damage in an Attic
by Webmaster
Sep 14, 2018 07:28:49 am.

Norway Rat Entry Hole into a Garage in Oakwood
by Webmaster
Sep 13, 2018 09:17:59 am.

Video of Sealing Rats Out of a House
by Webmaster
Sep 13, 2018 09:06:51 am.

The Rats Were Getting In Through a Gap in the Roof Junction
by Webmaster
Sep 12, 2018 10:33:29 am.

Pesky Roof Rats Gnawed through Metal Gutter Covers
by Webmaster
Sep 11, 2018 07:23:23 am.

Serious Rat Damage to the Insulation in a Crawl Space
by Webmaster
Sep 10, 2018 11:18:48 am.

Serious Roof Rat Damage to Metal Gutter Covers
by Webmaster
Sep 10, 2018 11:04:25 am.

The Athens, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides rat extermination and removal in Athens-Clarke, Greene, and parts of Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall, Banks, Jackson, and Oconee Counties in Georgia, including Athens, Auburn, Bogart, Commerce, Good Hope, Greensboro, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Watkinsville, and Winder. Your town not listed? Contact us.

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