A Rodent Checklist For Your Home

What to look for in a rat control professional

When you find out your home or business has a rat infestation, the best thing to do is get rid of it as quickly as possible. There are a lot of DIY methods on the market, of course, but missing a couple of rats can lead to a full re-infestation. This is why hiring an experienced rat exterminator who can offer comprehensive rat control and prevention is so crucial

What do you do to find the best pest control company to get rid of rats and prevent them from coming back? There are a number of things to consider before making the right choice for your home and business, but what are they?

In this article, Ehrlich takes a look at the key things to consider when choosing a rat exterminator. However, if you think you have already seen the signs of a rat infestation around your property, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office right away to discuss our rat removal and prevention methods.

Licensing and certification

It takes special skill to be a qualified and certified pest control specialist. If you want to hire a pest control company to get rid of rats or any other pest problem, ask them about their certification and licensing. States, counties, cities require rat control companies to be licensed for a wide variety of pest control services, including rats. The company should have these licenses and be willing to show them to you.

Experience in rat control

Being an effective rat exterminator means a lot more than just showing up and spraying chemicals or setting a bunch of random traps and bait boxes. It takes a certain professionalism and understanding of the way a building is structured, where the rats are more likely to be hiding, and where the rat control treatment is most likely to be effective. This knowledge takes years of experience to develop. Ask the rat control company how long they’ve been in the business, and how long they’ve been getting rid of rats specifically.

Treatment options available

What treatment options are available from the pest control company to get rid of the rats? A qualified and top-notch rat exterminator will listen to your needs and understand the causes of the infestation. A qualified rat control professional will take your pets and children into consideration to provide the best possible solution. Follow up treatments will likely be necessary, so be sure to discuss these as well.


There’s no easy way to know if a company is truly a good rodent control company unless you are willing to do a little research and legwork on your end. We recommend starting your search online. You can use Google to search for companies in your area then look at their reviews. We suggest looking for a good rodent control company based on the reviews and comments on those reviews. Look for one that has many reviews, not just a few. You can also look at Yahoo and Angie’s List. Both of these online companies allow customers to leave reviews of the services used. Next, talk to neighbors and co-workers. They’ll be more than willing to share their good and bad experiences with you.

When it comes to rodent control, there is no one size fits all. Each home is different even if they were built at the same time. So then what should you look for when picking a good rodent control company?

Someone with construction knowledge: Having a professional who understands construction and how homes are built from the ground up gives an edge in knowing where there may be gaps the rodents are using to enter into your home or business.

A full-service company: A full-service company provides a specialist to come out to your home and inspect your property not just give you an estimate over the phone. This is extremely important as you cannot give an accurate estimate without seeing the property. Each property is different, each rodent issue is different and the difference is not something known until an inspection is done.

FREE Inspections: You should not be charged to have your property looked at to decide the best way to control rodents. A good rodent control company will look in the attic, crawl space, basement, and go around the exterior of the home.

Rodent Control

The word rodent means to “to gnaw.” We will mostly be reviewing the type of rodent called “commensal rodent.” The word commensal means “sharing one’s table.” The three types of commensal rodents are the House Mouse, the Norway Rat, and the Roof Rat. These rodents carry diseases and eat and contaminate our food. These rodents co-exist with humans and closely associate with human habitats for food, water, and shelter. If living conditions for the rodents (food, water, and shelter), are right, they can multiply quickly. In your rodent control program, the essential first step is to eliminate or control their food, water and shelter provisions. After this first step, use the methods of trapping and baiting to get rid of the rodent population. Other types of rodents, such as the white-footed mouse, deer mouse, harvest mouse, pocket mouse, or pack rats may enter buildings, particularly if they are near wooded areas or fields.

Size Difference Between Mice and Rats

Rats are larger than mice, with correspondingly larger heads and feet. Rats also have coarser fur than mice. Mice are curious, while the rat is cautious. You will find Norway rats in burrows and the lower levels of a structure, while Roof rats prefer the upper levels of structures. Inspecting the rodent activity is essential. Use a flashlight to inspect their particular activity. Look for their “droppings”, rodent tracks, gnawing damage, burrows, runways, urine stains, rub/grease marks, and any other sitings of dead or live rodents. They also make screeching sounds, digging, or scratching sounds. If an infestation is well established, you may be able to detect a rodent odor.

To successfully get rid of mice and rats, it is critical to determine which type of rodent you have for effective control. For example, choosing the correct size trap is critical. A mouse trap would be too small for a rat, and a rat trap may not be sensitive enough to catch mice

Behavior Difference Between Mice And Rats

Since rodents are dependent on their environment, it may be difficult to describe typical behavior and habits. But there are generalizations of their habits for practical purposes of rodent control around and inside buildings. For further information, go to “About Rats”, or “About Mice”.


Rats tend to eat most of their food at one time.

Rats are excellent swimmers and can swim up to 1/2 mile in open water and go through sewer lines.

Norway rats prefer food with high carbohydrate and protein content, although they eat almost any types of food.

Roof rats prefer to eat grains, fruit, sweets and peanut butter and nut butter but will eat what is available in their environment. They are “picky” eaters, due to their natural suspicion of new items in their environment. Roof rats do not readily accept meat or fish.

Rats tend to be cautious and with new objects. Since they are cautious of new elements in their environment, it may helpful to set unset rat traps

Rats cannot survive long with without water, while mice may survive longer.

Norway rats are not often found indoors, they typically nest outside in burrows. A young norway rat may be mistaken for a mouse. The young norway rat has a rounder body than the slender house mouse.

Roof rats like habitat in attics and trees. They may enter your home with a power line or a tree. Like mice, the roof rat is an excellent climber. The larger norway rat is not as agile as the roof rat or mouse. Since roof rats are often found in the upper levels, they may be undetected for a while.

A norway or roof rat will move within a diameter of 98 to 164 ft. and a house mouse, 10 to 33 ft. If conditions are unstable or there are changes such as new building, they may expand the diameter. They may also expand their range in protected areas such as in sewers, in passages between buildings, and under groundcovers.

Roof rats and norway rats are both opportunistic and will eat almost anything that is available.


Mice will nibble a little at a time. If food is plentiful, they may make 20-30 visits to their food source at night. They feed heaviest at dawn or dusk. Mice prefer grains and seeds, but may eat meats, peanut butter, and sweet items.

Mice are curious about new objects, so it is easier place new traps or bait placements in their habitat or running space. It is easier to trap mice than rats.

A mouse may spend its entire life in a building in an urban/city setting. In rural/surbuban settings, they can be found both inside and outside among foundations, shrubs, below structures, or in ground burrows. Once inside, they may establish their nests close to a food source. Common inside nesting sites include within appliances, in walls, closets, cabinet and ceiling voids, storage boxes. Mice make their nests with soft material that has been chewed up from paper, insulation, furniture stuffing, etc.

Mice constantly explore their territory. They investigate any changes due to their curisosity. Their average territory ranges between 10-30 feet, but mice readily adapt to their environment. They nest close to food sources. Their territory is less when they have abundant food sources close to their nests.

Rodent Control Strategies

Use exclusion and sanitation tactics to get rid of rodents in a safe and cost-effective way. The most effective long-term solution is to keep rodents out in the first place. Measures such as sealing entry points prevent rodents from entering buildings and help you avoid a full-scale invasion.

Rats and mice are not only a nuisance but can also cause property damage and transmit diseases. You’ll know they’ve arrived if you see rodent droppings near a food source or shredded fabric or paper. If you identify rodents, there are several steps to take to ensure permanent removal of these pests.

Removing rodents with traps or poisons will not keep rodents out of your home in the future. To permanently keep rats and mice out of your home or business, you will need to prevent access by sealing all possible entry points. It is equally important to eliminate rodent attractions such as food and water by keeping food in tightly sealed containers and repairing leaky pipes

Once you have blocked the access points and removed sources of food and water, you’ll need to eliminate the remaining rodents. The following sections offer an overview of different treatment options and serve as useful guidance for keeping your home or business permanently free of rats and mice

Promote Natural Predators

Natural predators such as snakes, hawks, and owls can help to control rodent populations by feeding on rats and mice. Barn owls are efficient hunters and a family of barn owls can eat as many as 3000 mice per year. To encourage barn owls to nest and stay in your area, consider installing a nesting box. Strategic placement of nesting boxes combined with the use of traps and other preventative measures will go a long way to managing your rodent problems.

How to Choose A Rodent Removal Company

So you’ve got rats in your attic… now what? If you’re dealing with a rodent infestation, time is of the essence. You’ll want to call a professional rodent removal company right away to remove any lingering rodents, protect your family’s health and prevent lasting damage to your home.

Understand Your Options.

There are two main types of rodent removal company out there – extermination companies and rodent proofing companies. Understanding what both types of companies really offer is crucial to deciding which company you’ll call.

Exterminators – Extermination companies focus specifically on killing live rodents and other pests. Companies advertising general pest control, that place emphasis on trapping and poisoning services are usually extermination companies. These companies will use things like rodent trapping and poisoning to control the rodent population in your home. If you plan on using an extermination company be sure to ask them about what kinds of poisons they may be used in your home as these can be harmful to pets and small children. Also ask them about discounts on ongoing service contracts as well, as rodents breed quickly and a single extermination session is unlikely to eliminate a rodent infestation permanently.

Rodent Proofing – Rodent proofing companies focus on sealing up entry points in your home to eliminate rodent infestations permanently. These companies are often made up of construction and cleaning specialists rather than traditional pest control specialists. Rodent proofing is a complex process, but is usually performed without the use of dangerous poisons or traps, which is ideal for people with curious pets or small children. Be sure to ask if they offer cleaning services as well as you will want to have the infested area thoroughly decontaminated after all rodent entry points have been sealed.

Choose A Company With A Guarantee.

It is crucial to work with a rodent removal company that guarantees their services and really stands behind their work. That way, if anything goes wrong or your home becomes reinfested you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that the company that did the work is also willing to take full responsibility for any mistakes and fix them promptly