Call Now: (770) 258-8568
We are hiring! Please click here for details.
Phone Icon Reddit Share Button Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button

Rat Removal and Control

Safe, Non-Chemical Rat Control in Metro Atlanta

Rat extermination at a house in Decatur, Georgia

Rat extermination at a house in Decatur, Georgia

There are many species of rats, but the two species that most often become pests in the Metro Atlanta Area and throughout Georgia are the roof rat (Rattus rattus), and the Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). Although both rat species are found in both urban and rural areas throughout Georgia, roof rats are slightly more common in wooded rural areas, and Norway rats are more common in urban areas such as Atlanta and Marietta.

Roof Rats

In nature, roof rats (also known as black rats or tree rats) live in trees and spend most of their time aloft. They're the kind of rats that are most often found in attics. They're smaller and slimmer than Norway rats, have exceptionally good balance, and are excellent climbers. Their biology and behavior, as well as the damage they do, are very similar to those of grey squirrels. They usually get into homes and other buildings by climbing up the walls, by running along tree branches that touch or overhang the house, or by running along aerial wiring that enters the building.

Norway Rats

Norway rats (also known as brown rats, sewer rats, water rats, or wharf rats) are burrowing animals by nature, but they're also happy to live in homes and other human-occupied buildings if given the opportunity. They have powerful teeth and jaws and can gnaw through most building materials. Quite often they'll burrow and gnaw their way into basements, crawl spaces, and gaps under sheds and storage buildings. Once they're inside a building, they can make their way through wall and ceiling voids and may migrate upwards, especially if that's where the food is or if population pressures force them to move. Norway rats are also excellent swimmers and are often found in sewers and around wharves and piers. And yes, rats can swim up into a toilet.

In short, Norway rats usually start at the bottom of a building and work their way up if they have to, and roof rats usually start at the top and work their way down if they have to. But these are just generalizations. Either specie can be found anywhere in a home or building; and once in a great while, both species can be found in different parts of the same building. You won't find Norway rats and roof rats in the same part of a building, though. Despite being close relatives, the two species do not get along at all.

Rats and Human Health

Rats have the dubious distinction of having been the first pest animals believed to spread diseases. Historical evidence suggests that rats have been associated with disease even before biblical times, and practically all epidemiologists believe that rats were a big part of the reason for all of history's great plague epidemics. Specifically, rats are reservoirs for Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague. The fleas that feed on the rats then vector the disease to humans. Rats are also associated with the transmission of leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis, and many other diseases.

The rat's unique place in the history of disease also gave birth to the profession of pest control. The first exterminators were called "rat catchers," and they did their job pretty much the same way Rid-A-Critter does today: by trapping rats and permanently sealing them out of buildings. Almost every building is vulnerable to rat infestations. They can even get into brick homes. We find those vulnerabilities using time-honored methods like looking for droppings and following, as well as high-tech methods such as night-vision cameras. However we find them, we fix the problems to keep the rats out.

Why Non-Chemical Rat Control and Exclusion is Better

There are quite a few problems with using chemical rodenticides for rat extermination. When you consider them all, we think you'll agree that Rid-A-Critter's safe, non-chemical approach is the best way to solve structural rat problems. Let's start by looking at some of the disadvantages of chemical rat control.

Rodenticides are poisons. Although this may seem redundant and obvious, the fact is that any poison we put into the environment has the potential to harm non-target animals. In the case of rat poisons, this actually is more common than most people realize. Many rodenticides are secondarily toxic, which means that an animal that eats a poisoned rat can be poisoned, as well. So if a hawk or a fox eats a poisoned rat, the hawk or fox may die, too.

A rat hole in the roof of a Marietta home, under the shingles in the corner

Roof rat hole found during a Marietta rat removal job

Poisoned rats die at home. Don't believe that nonsense that poisoned rats "go outside to seek water." Most rodenticides take several days to work, during which the rat begins to feel progressively sicker; and just as is the case with people, when rats start to feel sick, they go home. If the rat's "home" happens to be your home, then that's where they're going to die. And stink.

In fact, we do a lot of work finding and removing dead animals that were killed by the poisons that other rat exterminators left behind. It's not the most pleasant work that we do. Trust me on that. It also would have been entirely unnecessary had the job been done properly -- by trapping and removing the rats, and then sealing up the house -- rather than just tossing some poison around and calling it a day.

Non-chemical rat control is cheaper in the long run. When you pay an exterminator to control your rat problem using rodenticides, you make a friend for life: the exterminator. That's because the poisons exterminators use don't last forever. Rodenticides used inside or outside get eaten by rats and need to be replaced. They also get eaten by insects such as beetles, weevils, and moths. Even wax-encapsulated, "weather-resistant" rodenticides often get infested by insects or rot away because of mold.

As a result, rat control that relies on poisons while neglecting the more important work of rat exclusion requires that the exterminator visit you -- and bill you -- again, and again, and again, to check and refill the bait stations. That starts getting expensive after a while.

Are Rodenticides Ever Needed?

Yes, sometimes they are, especially outdoors; but almost never inside a building unless it's scheduled to be demolished.

For example, exterior use of rodenticides might make sense in cases of large outside populations of Norway (or "brown") rats burrowing in the ground outside your house or building. They're also useful as part of wide-area public health rat abatement programs. In addition, some types of commercial buildings such as commercial food-processing facilities may be required by law or by the sanitation standards of their industries to have rodent bait stations installed around the exterior perimeters of their buildings.

So yes, there are some cases when the use of rodenticides makes good sense; and when it makes sense, we use them. But most of the time rat poisons are neither necessary nor desirable. Safe, permanent, non-chemical rat removal and exclusion is always the better way to eliminate rats from a building.

If you live in Metro Atlanta and have a problem with Norway rats or roof rats, please contact us for more information about our long-lasting, exclusion-based rat-removal programs.

Rat Control Gallery

Here are some pictures we've taken at the many rat-removal and rat-proofing jobs we've done throughout Metro Atlanta.

 

Reviews and Affiliations


Council on Alcohol and Drugs - Certified Drug-Free Workplace Trust DALE Certified Logo Better Business Bureau Accredited Business A+ Badge



Social
YouTube Twitter


CritterTwitter

Here's How Norway Rats Got Into this House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 14, 2019 10:27:12 am.

Well-Hidden Rat Entry Point into a Building in Douglasville, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 13, 2019 12:59:25 pm.

Norway Rat Holes in the Crawl Space of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 13, 2019 12:50:04 pm.

Pile of Rat Droppings in the Attic of a House in Marietta, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 13, 2019 12:44:46 pm.

Norway Rat Hole Into a House in Riverdale, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 13, 2019 12:42:31 pm.

Typical Rat Entry Hole in a House in Morrow, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 12, 2019 10:37:08 am.

Norway Rat Chewed Through a Foundation Vent at a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 11, 2019 10:50:15 am.

Here's How Rats Got Into a Brick House in Monroe, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 11, 2019 10:40:44 am.

Another DIY Rat-Proofing FAIL in Newnan, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 07, 2019 09:27:32 am.

Justin Sealing Rats Out of a House in Marietta, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 07, 2019 08:58:20 am.

Norway Rat Entry Hole into a Brick House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 06, 2019 10:55:11 am.

Here's How Roof Rats Got Into a House in Johns Creek, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 04, 2019 11:05:31 am.

Norway Rat Hole in the Basement of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 04, 2019 11:03:05 am.

This Was the Roof Rat Entry Point into a House in Palmetto, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 03, 2019 10:57:22 am.

Love it when a really good song comes on the radio in between stops. Gets me a little squirrelly. Lol Have a Good Friday everyone.
by Jason Arruda
May 31, 2019 11:48:33 am.

Obvious Evidence of Rats in the Attic of a House in Newnan, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 31, 2019 09:45:35 am.

Out seeing our wonderful clients in the pest control industry that refers us for wildlife (rats, bats, snakes, squirrels , bees, etc. Thank you from all of us!!
by Jason Arruda
May 30, 2019 01:45:40 pm.

Telltale Evidence of a Roof Rat Problem at a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 30, 2019 05:47:01 am.

Doing a Roof Rat Inspection in Smyrna, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 28, 2019 11:32:06 am.

Norway Rat Entry Gap in a House in Kennesaw, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 28, 2019 11:26:25 am.

This Was How Norway Rats Got Into a House in Marietta
by Webmaster
May 28, 2019 11:13:20 am.

Norway Rat Hole in the Foundation of a House in Hull, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 22, 2019 09:47:54 am.

Obvious Evidence of Rats in a Crawl Space in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 21, 2019 10:54:10 am.

Another Handyman Rat-Proofing Fail in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 21, 2019 10:40:52 am.

Justin Sealing Roof Rats Out of a House in Stone Mountain, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 20, 2019 10:50:09 am.

Telltale Evidence of Roof Rats at a House in Peachtree City, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 20, 2019 10:43:37 am.

Picture of a Rat Snake in a Tree in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 16, 2019 10:08:45 am.

Baby Rat Snake Crawling on a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 15, 2019 10:24:17 am.

Example of Stone-Age Rat Proofing at a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 15, 2019 10:08:55 am.

Roof Rat Burrow in the attic insulation in Powder Springs, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 14, 2019 10:52:44 am.

Here's a Night-Vision Picture of a Roof Rat in Atlanta
by Webmaster
May 13, 2019 11:11:52 am.

Norway Rat Hole in a House in Dallas, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 13, 2019 11:01:19 am.

The Atlanta, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides rat extermination and removal in all of Metro Atlanta including the City of Atlanta and the communities of Berkeley Lake, Buckhead, College Park, Conyers, Decatur, Douglasville, Duluth, Fayetteville, Hull, Johns Creek, Lilburn, Lithonia, Loganville, Mableton, Marietta, McDonough, Newnan, Norcross, Peachtree City, Powder Springs, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Stone Mountain, and Vinings.

Site and Photos © 2005 - 2019 Rid-A-Critter®. All rights reserved. Legal, Privacy and Warranty Information. This Web site designed and maintained by RJM Web Design.