8 September 2022

How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Rats


In this article, we will be covering the basics of a rat infestation, including how long it takes to get rid of rats and the best methods of rat pest control. We’ve accumulated all the DIY methods you could ever ask for, and found the best tips and tricks. It’s time to get rid of rodents, pests, and every other unwelcome guest! Before we get into the good stuff, let’s cover some frequently asked questions.  Read on to find out more… 

What is a Rat Infestation?

Rat infestation in home

A rat infestation is a sustained rat problem. Rat populations have essentially invaded your house and show no signs of leaving anytime soon.

Rats are drawn to food, shelter, and water. So, there’s probably something that’s tempting them inside.

One rat generally means there are more rats around, which means there’s likely an infestation. As soon as you spot one rat, we recommend kick starting your DIY pest control immediately. 

How Does an Infestation Happen?

An infestation happens when there are poor sanitation and hygiene practices in your home. Rats are always on the hunt for food, shelter, and water.

Exposed food, pet bowls, dripping pipes, household waste, sewer systems, and even shredded paper, can all cause an infestation. Pest management begins and ends with vigilance and cleanliness. 

What Species of Rat Causes an Infestation?

True rat beside Starbucks cup

Rats known as “true-rats” are most likely to have invaded your home. “True-rats” are commonly found in urban areas and love sneaking into people’s homes.

The most common species of “true-rats” are the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus). Dark brown rats are about the size of a pencil (15cm). Whereas black rats are slightly bigger at 20cm. 


How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Rats?

It depends on what kind of infestation you have on your hands.

For a relatively minor infestation, it will take around 3 weeks to eliminate rats. This is when you have a couple of rats scuttling around, but it’s nothing serious.

On the other hand, if you have a severe infestation, it can take up to 3 months to solve. 

What is Rat Control?

Rat control is the act of controlling a population of pests. It doesn’t always mean you will kill the rats, rather, it means you deploy measures that actively tackle a rat infestation in your home. Shield are experts in rat pest control in London

Rat control is about solving the problems that have  led to the infestation. Don’t worry, there is a multitude of ways you can do this humanely!

However, if you have a sustained problem, rat poisons may be the only solution. 

DIY Pest Control Methods

These are our top pest control methods for getting rid of rats fast and effectively! You don’t have to live amongst horrible rats any longer.

Get rid of them once and for all by following these effective and affordable DIY methods.

The methods target different areas of the infestation, you may need to experiment with a couple of them before you find the one that works. 

It can be useful to find out where the rats are coming from and why they are residing in your house. Knowing the source of the problem will help you completely eradicate the rats from your house. Rat infestations can be a tricky business.

Don’t give up if one of the pest control methods doesn’t work. Stick at it until the rats have disappeared. If all else fails, you can contact a specialist in rat removal. 

Rat Poison

Poison kills rats after it has been consumed by them. After rats eat the position, it causes internal bleeding and clotting. Depending on the poison, it can take several days or a couple of hours for the rats to die.

Poison is very good at controlling rats and stopping them from visiting again. We recommend placing the poison inside the walls, in the loft, or in the basement.

Alternatively, you can leave it under the kitchen sink or in your garden. Be warned, there will be dead rats you need to dispose of. 

Rat poison is definitely not for everyone! It is not very humane per-say and it does bring toxic chemicals into your house. There are also risks of secondary poisoning of non target species like other animals.

You should keep the poison out of reach of animals and children at all times. 

Rat Trap

Rats are always on the hunt for their next meal. Rat traps trick rodents into thinking they are getting a delicious treat, when in fact they have been lured into a deadly trap. In order to set a rat trap, you will need to place it in an active area.

Before you set the trap, make sure rats feel safe in the area. This ensures plenty of them will be caught by the trap. After a couple of days, set the bait and trap. Peanut butter, cheese, seeds, and sugary snacks are all loved by rats. 

Most traps will kill rats instantly and humanely via a sharp blow to the head. It is important you invest in a trap that kills the rat as quickly and as painlessly as possible. This is the best practice for removing pests.

Note that rat traps can be easily stepped on by people or small animals. You should keep the trap in a safe, secure place that you’ll always remember. Nobody wants a rat trap dangling from their foot! Ouch! 

Rat Bait

Rat eating bait from trap

A bait station will trick rats into a false sense of security. They are promised a delicious little snack but instead will be confronted with poison. Bait boxes hold poisonous bait that is eaten by the rat.

Unlike a trap, bait stations encourage rats to feast on the poisonous bait, but the rats do not die inside the box. The rat is free to leave and will die in the next couple of days elsewhere. Bait boxes are great for people who do not want to dispose of dead rodents. 

Sprinkle Crushed Pepper

Sprinkled crushed pepper

The strong potency of cayenne pepper or black pepper will deter rats. Rats and other rodents may have poor eyesight, but they have an exceptionally strong sense of smell.

As soon as they smell the pungent pepper, rats start to run away. Rats will completely avoid the source of the smell and, hopefully, will never return.

Crushed pepper does not kill rats or harm them in any way. You should sprinkle crushed pepper everywhere you have spotted rats. This is commonly in the kitchen or bathroom, around openings, or holes caused by structural damage. 

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil, Natural repellent

Peppermint, like pepper, has a very strong scent. The pungent smell that wafts from peppermint oil will repel rats from entering the premises.

Peppermint oil is another entirely natural, completely humane method of rat control. You don’t need to worry about harming the rats in any way when you use peppermint oil.

The smell alone is the only repellent that is needed! 

Natural Predators

Red fox natural predator

Encourage natural predators on your property to get rid of rats on your behalf. It may surprise you, but this is actually a natural and humane rat control method. As per the survival of the fittest doctrine, the strongest animal wins in the animal kingdom.

Rats are often eaten by stronger, more powerful hunters. Owls, cats, foxes, weasels, and occasionally dogs, will all kill rats on your behalf. However, this method can be irregular and sporadic. And, most importantly, you will need natural predators in your area, which isn’t a reality for everyone. 

Rat Repellent

Rat repellent is another scent-based deterrent. Repellent is made with a combination of natural, botanical ingredients that are hated by rats. You can spray rat repellent around your home or in your garden.

Plant-based rat repellent is free from nasty chemicals and toxins. You can rest assured it is safe to bring into your home.

This is a fantastic pest control option for people who are health conscious or have small children or animals! Natural rat repellent also leaves no odour or residue. It’s a win win!

Snap Traps

Snap traps are a little different from modern rat traps. Snap traps are a little more barbaric than the more modern rat trap. Snap traps are the quintessential rodent trap that is seen all over pop culture. A snap trap is a spring-loaded wire trap that is triggered by a rat walking across it to eat some cheese. 

Snap traps very rarely kill a rat instantly. Instead, the rat is likely to suffer for a prolonged period. The rat will writhe around until it eventually dies from its injuries or starvation.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to get rid of rats, we recommend investing in a humane, modern rat trap. The snap trap is outdated and frankly, not very good.

Professional Pest Management Company

When all else fails, call a professional pest management company. A professional pest controller will be able to get rid of rats without you getting your hands dirty. After all, a rat infestation can be nasty!

Rats are disgusting little creatures you may not want to deal with yourself. Not to mention, they’re a bit scary! 

Qualified technicians can get the job done exceptionally well at a good price. Call Shield Pest Control today to make sure rats leave and never come back! 

How to Prevent a Rat Infestation Happening? 

Once you have eliminated the rats from your house, you can focus on preventative measures. These are small things you can do on a daily basis to stop rats from coming back. Prevention is just as important as elimination. 

Remember, rats do breed rapidly. If you don’t stay on top of the problem it may continue to bother you. Read on to find out our top tips for how to ensure rats stay away for good… 

Remove Food Sources 

Keep all food sources in secured, locked locations. You should avoid leaving food exposed on the kitchen bench. Essentially, the rule of thumb is to remove food sources from locations that are easily accessible to rats. Always store food in the refrigerator, freezer, or rat-proof cupboard. 

Be warned though, rats are sneaky little creatures that seem to get everywhere. Your cupboards, freezer, and fridge may not always be safe. Because of this, make sure you always double wrap food and keep leftovers in locked tupperware. 

Dispose of Food Waste Securely

Common signs of rat infestations are droppings around sources of food (and food waste). Disposing of food waste securely will give rats one less thing to pursue. We recommend investing in a secure rubbish bin and a lock for the lid. 

Make sure the rubbish does not stay in the bin for longer than a couple of days and ensure the bin is cleaned regularly. It’s also a good idea to store food waste outside. At least rats will be outside if they do come looking for scraps!

Wire Wool

Wire wool

Wire wool is a great, affordable way to seal small holes in your house. These small holes are one of the main passageways rats use to come and go. Wire wool is super flexible and malleable. It can be pushed into all sorts of strange holes, dents, and cracks. Wire wool is the best way to rat-proof your whole house on a budget! 

Clean Pet Dishes

Dirty pet dishes (for food or water) are the cause of many rat infestations. Rats are drawn to the freshwater and leftover pet food exposed on your laundry floor.

This includes the dishes that are used to feed birds. Rats love bird feed and bird seed! Dirty pet dishes are essentially a free buffet for rats!

Pet dishes are accessible, within easy reach, and offer a tasty snack. You can either clean your pet dishes daily or remove them from the floor once your pet has used them. While this is onerous, it is very effective in preventing a rat infestation. 

Keep Food in Sealed Containers

We’ve already touched on this, but it’s an important point to make! You should always keep food in sealed, locked, secure containers. Exposed food will encourage rats to come into your home time and time again. 

Keep food away from prying rodent eyes. Food stored in sealed containers cannot be accessed by rats. Rats will give up when they realise there is nothing to eat in your home! 

Close Entry Points

We’ve already touched on this, but it’s an important point to make! You should always keep food in sealed, locked, s

Rats can enter your home through tiny entry points. The entry points may be so small you didn’t even know they are there! Closing entry points stops rats from entering your house. A secure house drastically reduces your chances of a rat infestation! 

Close the gaps in the foundations, walls and basement. These gaps can often be found around doorways and window frames. There may also be openings around exterior electricity lines through your walls. It’s a good idea to dedicate some time to checking these areas.

Stop Potential Nesting Sites

Nests are one of the tell tale signs rats have been hanging around your home. Rat nests will look like a loosely woven woollen ball around 6 inches in diameter.

They will usually be found in dark, enclosed spaces. This could be under the foundations of your house, shed, or garage. Rats also like to nest in overgrown grass and near walls. Rats burrow nests into soil to nest, eat, and raise their young. 

If you have a sustained rat problem in your house, chances are that a rat nest has formed close by. The best thing to do is stop nesting sites before they even pop up. Regularly clean and monitor your property.

Nooks and crannies are safe havens for rats! Try to eradicate any prospect of a nest popping up by destroying signs of nests, setting traps under your house, cutting back overgrown areas, and removing any wood or debris from your property. 

Monitor Compost Heaps 

Throwing food waste in compost heap

Compost heaps for food waste can attract hundreds of rats to your property. Rats are scavengers that will eat anything they can find regardless of whether it is decomposing or not!

If you have a compost bin in your garden for food, you will need to regularly monitor it. Make sure everything is composting in good time and there is nothing that remains fully intact. 

We recommend investing in a lidded compost bin for food waste to keep rats away. Rats will jump at any opportunity to pester you.

Your environmentally friendly and much loved compost bin can easily become overrun with rats. A sealed, secure compost bin prevents this from happening! You can even add a small fence to the bin for added security. 

Keep Your Garden Clean

Your environmentally friendly and much loved compost bin can easily become overrun with rats. A sealed, secure cIt’s really worthwhile to give overgrown areas a massive clean. A good clean up of the whole garden, including grassy banks,  can significantly reduce the risk of rats returning. A manicured garden means there are fewer places rats can safely run through, find shelter, and nest. 

Rat Blockers for Drains

Rat blockers are stainless steel blocks that stop rats from climbing up and onto drain pipes. Drain pipes allow rats to easily access the inside of your house. You can prevent this from happening by blocking the initial entrance way on the drain. 

This is a low-maintenance and easy way to stop a rat infestation. Just make sure you drain inspection covers regularly to ensure everything is flowing correctly and no nasty rats have snuck inside.

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