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Rat Extermination and Control

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

Rat control in a basement

Rat control in a basement

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 a Picture of Tim on a Dead Animal Removal Call
by Webmaster
Apr 19, 2017 12:31:42 pm.

Here's a Fresh Roof Rat Hole in a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Apr 17, 2017 11:28:52 am.

New Google+ Post: How Not to Seal Rats Out of Your Home
by Webmaster
Apr 12, 2017 11:58:53 am.

Here's a Picture of Rat Rub Marks in the Attic of a House in Braselton, Georgia
by Webmaster
Apr 06, 2017 12:07:19 pm.

This Unlucky Rat got Stuck Behind the Frieze Board and Died
by Webmaster
Apr 04, 2017 01:17:47 pm.

Here's a Picture of Tim Talking to Parents at a Career Day Event
by Webmaster
Mar 29, 2017 01:34:01 pm.

A Rat Ran Along a Wire to Make this Roof Rat Hole in a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 28, 2017 12:31:26 pm.

Here's a Picture of a Roof Rat Hole in a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 23, 2017 11:29:34 am.

Here's a Shot of Josh Laying Down on the Job at a Rat Control Job in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 16, 2017 02:44:06 pm.

Tim Sent a Picture that Proves that Rats Like Kisses, Too
by Webmaster
Mar 13, 2017 08:52:32 pm.

Here's a Picture of a Rat Entry Hole at a Rat-Removal Job in Hoschton, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 28, 2017 02:19:21 pm.

Here's a Picture of the Rat Entry Point at a Rat Control Job in Hoschton, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 23, 2017 11:57:27 am.

Chris Uncovered a Rat Entry Gap in the Roof of a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 21, 2017 02:44:24 pm.

This Picture Proves that Tim Has his Head all into his Work Sealing Rats out of a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 20, 2017 03:42:33 pm.

Carl Sent a Video of a Norway Rat Nest Behind a Brick Wall in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 15, 2017 12:18:26 pm.

When He Went Up into the Attic, Dean Discovered Rat Droppings and Stains on Storage Bins in an Attic in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 10, 2017 12:51:33 pm.

Justin's Inspection Revealed that a Rat Gnawed a Hole Behind the Rain Gutter of a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 09, 2017 02:55:12 pm.

Here's a Picture of Fresh Rat Damage to the Siding of a Cabin Near Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Feb 02, 2017 03:43:40 pm.

Justin Sent a Picture of a Roof Rat Hole at a Rat Control Job at a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jan 30, 2017 03:16:49 pm.

Amber Sent a Picture of a Friendly Squirrel that Stopped By for a Visit
by Webmaster
Jan 23, 2017 02:52:51 pm.

Justin Found a Roof Rat Hole in a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jan 20, 2017 02:45:28 pm.

New Google+ Post: Carl's Crew Page Picture
by Webmaster
Jan 19, 2017 12:43:57 pm.

Upon Inspection, Nick Discovered that an Old-School Rat Burrowed Its Way Into a House in Athens, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jan 16, 2017 03:57:27 pm.

Upon Inspection, Tyler Discovered that Rats Were Getting into an Athens, Georgia Home through a Home in the Soffit
by Webmaster
Jan 11, 2017 04:00:57 pm.

The Athens, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides rat extermination and removal in Athens-Clarke and Greene Counties in Georgia and their surrounding areas, including Athens, Bogart, Commerce, Good Hope, Greensboro, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Watkinsville, and Winder. Your town not listed? Contact us.

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