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Rat Extermination and Control

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

Fire risk from rodents gnawing on electrical wire

Fire risk from rodents gnawing on electrical wire

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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Here's Justin Performing a Rat Inspection in a Basement
by Webmaster
Aug 15, 2018 07:59:47 am.

Comparison of DIY Versus Professional Rat-Proofing
by Webmaster
Aug 14, 2018 10:32:51 am.

Video of Roof Rat Damage to a Gable Vent
by Webmaster
Aug 13, 2018 12:33:01 pm.

The Rats Got Into an Air-Conditioning Unit in Winterville, Georgia
by Webmaster
Aug 08, 2018 10:33:33 am.

The Rats Were Getting Into This House Behind the Deck
by Webmaster
Aug 07, 2018 10:59:07 am.

Norway Rats Had Many Ways Into this House
by Webmaster
Aug 07, 2018 10:39:37 am.

Video Showing the Hidden Rat Entry Point Into a House
by Webmaster
Aug 07, 2018 10:35:34 am.

The Roof Rats Were Getting In Under the Ridge Cap
by Webmaster
Aug 06, 2018 10:35:22 am.

Very Shoddy Rat-Proofing by a Competitor
by Webmaster
Aug 06, 2018 10:32:42 am.

Here's a Roof Rat Hole in a House
by Webmaster
Aug 06, 2018 10:26:28 am.

Here's Justin Rat Proofing a Church
by Webmaster
Aug 06, 2018 10:21:06 am.

Brad Found Rat Burrows Outside a House
by Webmaster
Aug 06, 2018 10:18:31 am.

Yet Another DIY Rat-Proofing Fail
by Webmaster
Aug 02, 2018 10:07:11 am.

Hungry Rat Nibbled on Two Georgia Peaches on a Kitchen Counter
by Webmaster
Aug 01, 2018 10:00:43 am.

This Video Shows How Norway Rats Were Getting Into a House
by Webmaster
Jul 30, 2018 10:53:45 am.

Here's Brad Sealing Rats Out of a House
by Webmaster
Jul 26, 2018 10:39:43 am.

Here we See How Roof Rats got into a House in Hoschton, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 24, 2018 10:40:30 am.

Another Case of Rat Entry Through the Foundation Vent in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 24, 2018 10:24:14 am.

Norway Rats Were Getting Into This House Around the Gas Pipe
by Webmaster
Jul 24, 2018 10:20:32 am.

Here's a Video of Bats in a Gable Vent
by Webmaster
Jul 23, 2018 09:59:00 am.

An Animal Inspection Revealed a Crack in the Foundation
by Webmaster
Jul 23, 2018 09:51:02 am.

Here's a Picture of Jason and Justin on a Rat Control Job
by Webmaster
Jul 20, 2018 09:50:44 am.

Incredibly Small Roof Rat Hole in a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 19, 2018 10:01:13 am.

Unfortunate Rat Electrocuted Itself Inside an Electric Range
by Webmaster
Jul 19, 2018 09:53:19 am.

There Can Be Many Hidden Animal Entry Points on a House
by Webmaster
Jul 18, 2018 09:57:01 am.

Picture of Rat Rub Marks on a Pipe in a Basement
by Webmaster
Jul 17, 2018 09:34:03 am.

Construction Gaps Allowed Rats to Get Into This House
by Webmaster
Jul 17, 2018 09:16:04 am.

Here's Carl Animal Proofing a House
by Webmaster
Jul 17, 2018 09:09:12 am.

Here's an Example of Rat Damage to a French Drain
by Webmaster
Jul 13, 2018 11:12:21 am.

Here's How Norway Rats Got Into a House in Eatonton, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 11, 2018 10:40:01 am.

Here's a Picture of Rat Rub Marks on an Attic Vent in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 09, 2018 10:12:58 am.

Justin Found Rat Stains in the Crawl Space of a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 02, 2018 10:30:24 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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