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 or tree 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 noticed the 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 rat 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 makes rats the worst disease vectors in human history. It's vital to your family's health and safety to seal up your house to keep rats from getting in, and to trap and remove any rats who are already in your home.
The first rat catchers exterminated rats pretty much the same way Rid-A-Critter does today: They trapped them, removed them, and sealed building up to keep rats out. Organic rat control still the best way to permanently eliminate a rat problem, 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 remains an important part of public health rat control in big cities because it makes wide-area rat extermination both practical and economical. Most wide-area public health rat abatement projects, such as sewer baiting, still make use of rat poisons.
In homes and other buildings, however, poisons are not the best way to get rid of rats. Rat extermination in homes should be performed the old-fashioned way, without the use of any 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 nonsense. 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, 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 poisoned by other exterminators.
Non-chemical rat control is more permanent. It's also less costly in the long run. Here's why.
When an 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 regular visits are good for your exterminator because they gives him or her steady work. For you, not so much, because you're the one paying for those visits.
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. There's also no chance of a rat dying inside your wall, nor of a pet or other non-target animal being accidentally poisoned.
Rat Control Gallery
Here are some pictures we've taken at the rat-removal and rat-proofing jobs that we've done in the Athens, Georgia area.
Please contact us for more information about our long-lasting, exclusion-based rat-removal programs. We look forward to hearing from you.