Rat extermination in Kelowna

FACTS AND INFORMATION ABOUT RATS Do you hear scratching in your walls or ceiling? Are your food packages, walls or doors being chewed through? Have you encountered a live rat scurrying about your home or business? Have you found any rat droppings around your home? Rats are notorious carriers of disease, and can cause serious property and structural damage. They can chew through walls and electrical wiring, which could potentially lead to serious circuitry issues or electrical fires. Rats are challenging to get rid of, because they are nocturnal, hide during the day, and breed quickly. Often by the time you find yourself face to face with a rat in your home or business, an infestation has already become serious. Learn more about the different types of rats common in the Okanagan (roof rat &Norway rat), how to prevent them, and how to get rid of them. These areas include Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland and Penticton
 

HOW TO GET RID OF RATS

What are Rats?

Rats have a bad reputation - one that has been earned from helping to cause devastating plagues around the world, past and present. They are also one of the most adaptable critters in the world, with the ability to climb, jump or swim, and eat almost anything. Rats are destructive, nocturnal, and are incredible breeders.

Rats are part of the Order Rodentia, and the family Muridae. The Order Rodentia has over 2,000 species subdivided into around 30 families. The two most common rats in the Kelowna area are the Norway Rat (Rattusnorvegicus) and Roof Rat (Rattusrattus). These rats are members of the genus (or subfamily) Rattus, which are ‘true rats’ and originated from Asia.

Roof rats are amazing climbers, frequently nesting in high places like trees, dense vegetation, attics, rafters, roofs, and upper stories of buildings. They will also nest on the ground if needed. Norway rats builds elaborate systems of tunnels and burrows at ground level, preferring damp areas, crawl spaces or building perimeters.  

What do Rats Look Like?

A rat is larger than a mouse and can weigh up to 0.5 kilograms (1 pound). The Norway rat and the roof rat may appear similar, but there are differences in looks, and habits. Norway rats are large rodents with brown or gray shaggy fur, and long tails which can grow in up to 21 cm. This rat can reach up to 40 cm in length and weigh up to 1 pound. Their tail and ears are covered with scales.   Roof rats are smaller in comparison, but can grow to over 40 cm long. They have smooth, glossy black or brown fur, large ears, large eyes, and a pointy nose. Their tail is hairless, scaly, and is longer than the combined length of their head and body.  

Like all rodents, a rat's teeth continually grow, and therefore they gnaw instinctively to help keep their teeth manageable. Both rodents can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter, thanks to their small bones and very flexible body. If a rat can get its head through a hole, crack or crevice, it can collapse its body and pull itself through the opening.



 

What do Rats Eat?

Rats are omnivorous, and because they are highly adaptable, they can and will eat just about anything (including dead animals or tree bark) to survive. Norway rats avour meats, grains, fruits and nuts, and need drinking water to survive. They will eat greasy foods if available. Roof rats, huge food hoarders of food, prefer fruits. They will settle for seeds, grain or meat.  

The Lifecycle of a Rat

Norway and roof rats have a 1-year life span, however rats in general, can live up to 3 to 5 years long.

Rats often reach sexual maturity between 2 and 5 months, and are known as ferocious, extraordinary breeders. Rats do not hibernate during the winter, therefore a female rat can breed all year, and produce one litter per month. On average, a rat’s litters contain 12 pups (or baby rats), which means that in a 1-year period, a single female rat can birth 144 rats, who could start to have their own babies in just 2 months post birth. This is why rat populations explode in numbers so fast.



Do Rats Bite?

Yes, rats will bite in self-defense. They have very large teeth, which continuously grow, and will puncture skin.  

Are Rats a Health Concern?

Rats (alive or dead) can carry or transmit serious disease to people, pets and livestock through biting, physical contact or contamination. Rats can also bring fleas and ticks into your home, facilities or business. This makes them a serious health hazard, especially to humans. In addition to causing food poisoning, some diseases that they can transmit include:
  • Rat-Bite Fever (RBF)
  • Murine typhus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Trichinosis
  • Plague (more typical of roof rats and other rodents)
 

Do Rats Cause Damage?

Rats are notorious for damaging property, and their constant chewing poses a serious safety hazard. Rats cause structural damage to buildings through their gnawing and burrowing underground. They cause serious damage to walls, ceilings, floors, window sills, and doors by gnawing holes through them. They cause damage by tearing up insulation in walls and attics through burrowing and nesting. They will chew through electrical wires, and can cause electrical shortages and electrical fires.  

How Does a Rat Infestation Happen?

Rats enter homes, condos, apartment buildings, living complexes, schools, hotels, businesses, warehouse and other facilities in pursuit or food, shelter, and water. If they can gain entry to a structure that offers these, they will inhabit and infest.

 

Signs of a Rat Infestation

If you discover a single rat in your home or business, there is a strong chance that there are more, and possibly an infestation. Being nocturnal pests, rats stay hidden in their nest during the day. If nests are disturbed (often by major cleaning, repairs, renovations or construction) or if colonies get too large, rats may leave their nests during the day, exposing their presence. Here are some signs that you have a rat infestation:
  • Sighting live rats during the day.
  • Finding a dead rat.
  • Hearing scampering or scratching noises at night
  • Finding nests indoors.
  • Locating outdoor burrows surrounding your home or building.
  • Finding rat droppings, often around food or trash areas.
  • Discovering rub marks or grease stains (made from rats running along interior edges).
  • Finding food packages, especially cardboard packaging, that are chewed through.
  • Uncovering gnaw marks on food, food packaging (especially cardboard), or utility lines.
 

How to Get Rid of Rats

Rats are challenging to get rid of, because they are nocturnal, hide during the day, and breed quickly. Often by the time you find yourself face-to-face with a rat, an infestation has already become serious. The best way to stop a rat infestation is to take the proper preventative measures before it happens. Here are some tips:
  • Keep dry foods like cereals, grains, pet food and even bird seed, in tightly sealed plastic, glass or metal containers with secure lids.
  • Regularly remove food crumbs (human and pet) from eating, food preparation, food storage and trash areas.
  • Maintain clean and sanitized sinks and counters, and keep free of food waste.
  • Empty indoor garbage cans regularly, and store collected trash outdoors, away from entry points.
  • Use secure lids on all garbage and compost bins, both indoors and outside.
  • Keep your compost bins clear of fatty or oily food waste, eggs, or milk products.
  • Discard unused or damaged cardboard boxes or packaging, and opt for storing items in quality rubber or plastic containers with tight lids.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices around your windows, doors, eaves, chimney, roof dormers and any other entry points.
  • Cover dryer vents, attic vents or soffits with fine mesh metal screening.
  • Replace broken screens over windows and vents, or install new ones.
  • Use metal weather stripping under doors, and weather strip windows.
  • Maintain lawns, trees, shrubs, bushes around your home or building and keep branches off your roof-line
  • Use a layer of heavy metal mesh between the soil and the bottom of the compost bin.
  • Place all woodpiles away from the house or building.
  • Raise woodpiles 30cm off the ground
  • Fix plumbing leaks in and around your home or building.
  • Refrain from using water features and bird baths close to your home.
  • Don’t leave windows open, especially at night, without tightly fitting, hole-free screens.
Those with rat infestation issues often take a DIY pest control approach to get rid of rats. These efforts are rarely successful. Most important, because rats can transmit diseases through biting or direct contact with their feces, urine and even saliva, rats should not be handled. Handling a rat infestation on your own can also be very challenging in shared or connected dwellings or multi-story buildings (apartment, condos, town-homes, office buildings, etc.). In these situations, rats are often able to move freely between units or homes, therefore by dealing with the situation in one isolated unit or home does not result in long-term or permanent relief. To achieve the highest success for getting rid of rats, everyone should come together and work with a licensed, experienced pest control company who can design an integrated pest management plan. If you uncover a rat infestation do contact a licensed pest professional that is experienced with rat pest control, and effective treatments to help you get rid of rats.

FACTS AND INFORMATION ABOUT NORWAY RATS Norway rats (Rattusnorvegicus), have many other names, including “Norwegian water rat”, “Norway wood rat”, “brown rat”, “house rat”, “barn rat”, “sewer rat” and “gray rat”. These are disease carrying rodents who have adapted well over time, and have successfully learned to thrive living among humans. Norway rats originated from Great Britain, and arrived in North America via ships during the 1775 American Revolutionary War. They spread west, and arrived in Ontario, Canada in the 1800s.

Norway rats are large, stocky, rodents with long tails (up to 21 cm long). Their bodies can grow up as big as 40 cm long and weigh as much as 1 pound. They are notably larger than roof rats. Their shaggy fur is typically gray or brown in coloring. Both their tail and ears are covered with scales. Their teeth continually grow, and they use gnawing to help them maintain their teeth.

Norway rats are not social, but they do live in colonies with a caste system of dominant and subordinate members. Norway rats can climb, but they prefer ground nests, and inhabit lower levels of buildings. Common habitats include underground in burrows around tree roots, embankments, concrete slabs and under buildings They also live round docks, in warehouses, sewers, woodpiles, basements, cellars and crawlspaces, barns, kennels, and livestock facilities. They enter homes and buildings in their pursuit for food and water. They rodents are quick, and can gain entry through climbing, jumping or swimming. Like roof rats, these rodents can squeeze through quarter-sized holes due to their small bones and flexible body. If a Norway rat can get its head through a hole, crack or crevice, it can collapse its body and pull itself through the opening. Norway rats are omnivorous. While they favor meats, grains, fruits and nuts, they will eat just about anything, including dog food, greasy foods and dead animals.

Norway rats are very resourceful, and can even catch other small rodents or small fish for food. Very important to their survival is drinking water – they need to drink. Nests are usually built as close as possible to a water source. Like a roof rat, a Norway rat reaches its sexual maturity between 2-5 months, and can breed all year. A female Norway rat produces 3 to 12 litters a year, with litter sizes varying greatly (from 4 to 20+ babies born). Also like roof rats, the Norway rat's life span is around 1-year long. Norway rats are damaging rodents. They chew through electrical wires, which can cause electrical shortages, and electrical fires. They cause structural damage to buildings through their gnawing and burrowing underground. They cause serious damage to walls, ceilings, floors, window sills, and doors by gnawing holes through them, as well as by burrowing and nesting in insulated attics and in walls. These rodents can transmit a variety of diseases to humans or livestock, including Rat-Bite Fever (RBF), murine typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis and food poisoning. Norway rats are not typically associated with carrying plague disease, like roof rats, and other rodents Being nocturnal, Norway rats stay hidden in their nests during the day. If nests are disturbed (usually by constructions or renovations), or colonies get too large, these rodents can become exposed during the day. Here are some signs that you have a Norway rat infestation:
  • Sighting live rats during the day.
  • Finding urine or scattered ¾ inch capsule-shaped rat droppings.
  • Uncovering nests indoors.
  • Locating outdoor burrows surrounding your home or building.
  • Discovering their rub marks or grease stains along interior edges.
  • Finding gnaw marks on food or even on utility lines.
NORWAY RAT MANAGEMENT & CONTROL To help prevent Norway rats from invading your home or business, or to help get rid of them, it is crucial to eliminate their access to food, water and shelter. Here are some tips:
  • Empty indoor garbage cans regularly, and store outdoors away from homes and buildings.
  • Use secure lids on all garbage cans (indoors and outdoors).
  • Keep dry foods, including pet food and bird seed, in tightly sealed containers.
  • Regularly clean and sanitize your kitchen, and other eating areas.
  • Fix plumbing leaks in and around your home or building.
  • Refrain from using water features and bird baths close to your home or business.
  • Maintain lawns to prevent tall grass or heavily weeded areas from developing close to your home or buildings.
  • Trim trees, shrubs, bushes back, and away from your home or business.
  • Store woodpiles away from homes or buildings.
  • Don’t leave window open, especially at night, without tightly, hole-free, fitting screens.
  • Install, repair or replace broken screens over windows and vents.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices around your windows, doors, eaves, chimney, and any other entry point
  • Install, repair or replace damaged weather stripping.
Learn more about getting rid of Norway rats. If you uncover a Norway rat infestation contact a licensed pest professional, who can help you get rid of Norway rats.

    FACTS AND INFORMATION ABOUT ROOF RATS Roof rats (Rattusrattus) are highly adaptable, nocturnal rodents who transmit diseases, and have helped cause devastating plagues around the world in past and present times. Their adaptability has been key in their ability to survive and thrive. Roof rats have smooth and sleek black or brown fur, large ears, large eyes, and a pointy nose. They can grow to over 40 cm long. Roof rats have long, hairless, scaly tails, which are often longer than the combined length of their head and body. Compared to a Norway rat, a roof rat’s body is more glossier and smaller. Like all rodents, their teeth continually grow, and therefore they gnaw to help keep them a manageable size.

  These rodents can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter. This is because they have small bones and are extremely flexible. If a roof rat can fit its head through a hole, it can collapse its body and pull itself through. They are fast, and amazing climbers, frequently nesting in high places like trees, attics, rafters and roofs (hence their name ‘roof rat). They even nest on the ground if needed. If you come across a live root rat in your home or business during the day, this is likely a sign that there are more. Live sightings during the day typically occur when current nests are full, or have recently been disturbed. Roof rats are omnivorous, and will eat just about anything. They are also huge hoarders of food. While they favor fruits, they will dine on grain, meat, seeds and even bark. Roof rats reach sexual maturity between 2-5 months, and are incredible breeders. In crowded roof rat populations, a social hierarchy will be formed, whereby the most dominant males will mate more often with female rates. A female roof rat can breed year-round, and in a single year can birth as many as 40 new rats. Rodent litters average 6 to 8 rats in size. Roof rat’s life span is often 1 year. Rats pose a serious safety hazard due their constant chewing. They will gnaw through just about everything, including electrical wires. They can cause electrical shortages, and even electrical fires. They also cause damage by tearing up insulation in walls and attics through burrowing and nesting. In addition to causing food poison to humans through contaminating food or the surfaces food is prepared on, roof rats can carry and transmit diseases like Rat-Bite Fever (RBF) and Trichinosis, through biting, physical contact and contamination. Fleas that feed on dead rodents, can also pass along these diseases to humans. So, whether alive or dead, roof rats pose serious a serious health concern. Here are some signs that you have a roof rat infestation:
  • Seeing alive or dead rodents.
  • Finding nests (empty or occupied).
  • Discovering roof rat droppings, which appear pointed at both end and are around 12mm in length.
ROOF RAT MANAGEMENT & CONTROL To help prevent roof rats from inhabiting your home or business or to help get rid of them, it is crucial remove their food source. Here are some helpful tips:
  • Seal up cracks and crevices around your windows, doors, eaves, chimney, and any other entry point
  • Replace broken screens over windows and vents, or install new ones.
  • Install, repair or replace damaged weather stripping.
  • Trim back bushes and tree branches so they are away from your home or business is also helpful, as roof rats are exceptional climbers, and can use these to gain access to your roof.
  • Use indoor garbage cans with secure lids, and empty regularly.
  • Store outdoors away from homes and buildings, and secure with tight-fitting lids.
  • Store dry foods in tightly sealed containers.
  • Regularly clean and sanitize your kitchen, and other eating areas.
Learn more about getting rid of roof rats. If you uncover a roof rat infestation contact a licensed pest professional, who can help you get rid of roof rats.

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