DIY Rat Removal Richmond Hill: What Works and What Doesn’t

Spotting a rat in your Richmond Hill home can be a heart-stopping experience. Indeed, rat infestations are increasingly a problem, particularly in Atlantic Canada lately, but rats are always a problem for homeowners. These unwelcome guests not only cause property damage by chewing wires and burrowing, but they also pose a health risk by spreading diseases. The natural instinct might be to take matters into your own hands, but before you embark on a DIY rat removal crusade, consider this: some methods work wonders, while others can exacerbate the problem.

Read this guide to equip yourself with the knowledge to tackle a rat infestation effectively, distinguishing between successful DIY strategies and approaches best left to the professionals.

What Works: Prevention is Key

The best defence is a good offence, and the same applies to rats. One of the most effective strategies for keeping rats away permanently is preventing them from entering in the first place. Taking the following preventative measures can significantly reduce the chances of a full-blown infestation:

Seal entry points

Rats can squeeze through surprisingly small openings. Conduct a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior, focusing on foundation cracks, gaps around pipes and wires, and spaces around vents. Seal these openings with caulk, expanding foam, or metal mesh.

Eliminate food and water sources

Rats are resourceful scavengers, but a clean home offers little incentive for them to stay. Store food in airtight containers, clean up crumbs promptly, and address any leaky faucets or pipes that could provide them with water.

Manage your garbage

Keep garbage cans tightly sealed with lids that latch. Keep your compost piles well-maintained to minimize the chances of attracting rodents. You can also rodent-proof your compost piles with hardware cloth.

Store pet food securely

Refrain from leaving pet food bowls out overnight. Food residue can provide rodents with an easy meal. You can also keep kibble in airtight containers to ensure the smell doesn’t grab rodents’ attention.

Effective DIY Rat Removal Methods

Preventive measures are always vital, but sometimes rodents may still get through. Some DIY methods that can remove those rats that make it past your first line of defence include:

Snap traps

These classic traps are readily available and relatively inexpensive. Use peanut butter or another enticing bait, and place them along suspected travel routes, such as near walls and behind appliances. Safety tip:Be cautious when setting snap traps, especially if you have children or pets in the house.

Bait stations

These tamper-proof containers hold bait that’s inaccessible to children and pets. They’re effective at attracting and eliminating rats, but ensure you use stations approved for indoor use.

Also take note to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use of bait stations.

Exclusion methods

If you can identify the entry point the rats are using, you can take steps to exclude them. This might involve installing one-way exclusion doors or metal flashing around foundation gaps. Remember to seal any new holes created by the exclusion process.

DIY Methods That Don’t Work (and Can Be Dangerous)

While the methods above can be helpful, some popular DIY approaches are not only ineffective but can also be dangerous to you, your family, and your pets. Take care when using these DIY solutions to minimize any risk to your home:


Rodent poisons are readily available, but they pose a significant risk to children, pets, and non-target wildlife. Rats can also die in inaccessible locations, leading to a foul odour and potential health hazards.

Homemade traps

While the internet is full of DIY trap designs, these are often ineffective and can be cruel to the animal. Invest in commercially available traps designed for humane capture or elimination.

Natural repellents

There are many anecdotal claims about natural rat repellents like peppermint oil or dryer sheets. Unfortunately, these methods lack scientific backing and are unlikely to deter determined rodents.

When to Call a Professional Exterminator

Keep an eye out to know when to call in a pro

While DIY methods can be a starting point, there are situations where seeking the assistance of a licensed pest control professional is the most effective course of action. Here’s when it’s best to call the experts for reliable rodent removal:

Extensive Infestation

If you’re witnessing frequent rat sightings, encountering a significant amount of droppings, or detecting a strong, musky odour, these signs point towards a large and established rat colony. Eradicating such an infestation requires a strategic approach and professional-grade tools that a licensed exterminator can provide.

Unsuccessful DIY Efforts

If you’ve implemented DIY methods like trapping and sealing entry points for several weeks without a noticeable reduction in rat activity, it’s time to call in a professional. Their expertise in identifying entry points, implementing exclusion strategies, and selecting the most effective elimination methods can quickly bring the situation under control.

Hesitation with DIY Methods

Some homeowners may feel uncomfortable handling traps, bait, or dead rodents. Licensed exterminators are trained and equipped to handle all aspects of rat removal safely and efficiently, alleviating any concerns you might have.

Presence of Roof Rats

Roof rats, unlike Norway rats (common sewer rats) that frequent ground levels, are adept climbers and can establish nests in attics or upper crawlspaces. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to implement targeted removal strategies specific to roof rat behaviour and nesting preferences.

Suspected Dead Rodent

If you suspect a rat has died within your walls or ceiling cavities, the decomposing carcass can create a foul odour and potentially pose health risks. Professionals have specialized tools and techniques to locate and safely remove dead rodents, preventing these unpleasant consequences.

Underlying Structural Issues

In some cases, a persistent rat infestation might indicate underlying structural problems in your home, such as cracks in the foundation or gaps around utility lines. Licensed exterminators can not only address the immediate rat problem but also identify and recommend solutions for any underlying structural issues that might be attracting these pests.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Exterminator

Hiring a professional exterminator can take care of an infestation at its source

Hiring a reputable exterminator offers several advantages to assist your rat-control efforts  and give you some peace of mind, including:

Expertise and experience

Professionals have the knowledge and experience to identify the type of rat you’re dealing with and develop a targeted approach for elimination.

Safe and effective methods

Professionals use government-approved products and techniques that minimize risks to your family, pets, and the environment.

Long-term solutions

Exterminators not only address the immediate infestation but also identify and seal entry points to prevent future problems.

Peace of mind

Knowing that a qualified professional is handling the situation can alleviate stress and allow you to focus on more important things.

While DIY methods can be a starting point for tackling a small rat infestation in Richmond Hill, remember that prevention is always the best approach. If your efforts aren’t yielding results or the problem seems overwhelming, don’t hesitate to call a professional exterminator. Their expertise, safe methods, and long-term solutions will ensure a successful resolution to your rat woes, allowing you to reclaim your home and peace of mind.

When you need that professional help deterring rodents, look no further than Maple Pest Control. We have a wealth of experience dealing with various pests, including rodents, but also wasps, squirrels, raccoons, and ants. We also also offer a 6-month pest-free period after we’ve worked on your home, ensuring you stay free of any pests for a while afterward. Give us a call now at (416) 520-8575 to start pest-proofing your home.

  • June 8, 2024
  • | Categories: Tips
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