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Phooey on Ratatouille: Real Rats Require Control

Phooey on Ratatouille: Real Rats Require Control By Kelly Wingard
HIPhome Columnist
December 31, 1969

Thanks to Remy, the film Ratatouille has elevated public sympathy for cinematic rats. But real rats, unlike their animated counterparts, are anything but loveable. Rats spread diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and rat-bite fever. They can also cause electrical fires by gnawing through your home's wiring. If rats are leaving calling cards in your home, protect your family by calling in a professional exterminator experienced in proper rat removal techniques.

Where Are Your Rats Hiding?

Rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter, entering your home through pet doors, sink drains, toilets, and structural gaps. Their presence can be detected by droppings, tracks, or evidence of gnawing. Once inside your home, they take up residence in wall and ceiling insulation, crawl spaces, behind countertops, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom shower stalls, near HVAC equipment, and wherever things are stored in boxes, paper, or cloth.

Rat Pest Control Techniques

Diligence is required to keep rats from entering your home. Practicing proper sanitation habits, including good housekeeping techniques and appropriate storage and handling of food and garbage is crucial. Sealing openings around utility pipes, fitting floor drains with small-opening grates, keeping kitchen drains clean, closing toilet lids, and securing pet food in metal containers with tight-fitting lids can help with rat control. But, while these precautions can roll up the rat welcome mat, they still might not be enough to deter these dangerous pests.

Avoid Taking Rats Control into Your Own Hands

Exposure to rats and the fleas they carry can cause serious illness or fatality. Take precautions when you encounter rat droppings. Avoid sweeping or vacuuming up feces; instead wet the droppings with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Let soak for 20 minutes before scooping up the droppings with newspaper or another disposable material. Triple bag these items before disposal and thoroughly wash your hands, even if you're wearing gloves.


Illinois Department of Public Health: Rat Fact Sheet
King County (WA) Department of Public Health
Center for Disease Control
Multnomah County (OR) Health Department

About the Author
Kelly Wingard is a homeowner with 30 years of budget-minded decorating and remodeling experience.

*Before you apply any of the advice described on the Hip-home.com website, you should consider if the advice is safe and suitable for your individual home situation and consult experts as necessary to evaluate the suitability for your circumstances.
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