ratRats and their fleas were directly responsible for one of the greatest catastrophes in human history.  In the mid 14th century, rats spread the Bubonic plague, resulting in millions of deaths. Here in the United States, there are two main species of rats: the Roof and Norway rat. Thankfully, the Roof Rat is typically found in the Southeastern and Western United States. The Norway rat; however, is the second most successful mammal to survive on Earth, behind humans.

The Norway Rat is the largest of the commensal (live closely to humans) rodent species. Their body’s measure 7 - 9 ½ inches long with a tail of 6 - 8 inches.  Their fur is coarse and shaggy, with a color mix of brown and black. Their tails are bi-colored, brown on top, grey underneath. 

Because Rats are nocturnal, you probably won’t notice an infestation until it’s a big problem.  Like all creatures, Norway rats require plenty of food and water to survive eating about 1 ounce of food and drinking a half to 1 ounce of water daily (from a non-food source).  A pregnant rat requires four times that per day!  Rats are opportunistic feeders, taking food from wherever they can at dusk and dawn.

The Signs of a Norway rat infestation are fairly similar to those of a mouse (gnaw marks, droppings, tracks, rub marks and burrows on the outside of your home). The most obvious signs are droppings, which are distinctly different from mice. While mouse droppings measure about 1/4 of an inch, rat droppings are three times bigger and have blunt ends, in contrast to the sharp ends of mouse droppings.

IF YOU SEE A RAT IN YOUR HOME, call Accurate Termite & Pest Control.  Without the use of proper baits and baiting techniques, it is nearly impossible to control a rat population. And regretfully, store-bought baits often do not do the trick. The rodent baits that we use have a high potency and a flavor combination that rats love.  After you call, it is very important that you do a thorough inspection of your home for any places a rat can enter keeping in mind they only need a half inch opening to enter your home.  While it is almost impossible to eliminate all possible entries, you can reduce their options greatly. 

Ensure all doors have proper door sweeps (this will reduce your electric bill too!).  Fill holes or cracks around your foundation and pipes with steel wool so rats cannot chew through and reopen their entryway.  Next, take a look around your yard; pay attention to the shrubs and bushes that touch your home.  They should be trimmed so the branches no longer touch your home or ground (rats like to hide and will often nest underneath bushes and shrubs that touch the ground).  And finally, clean and de-clutter. Both of these factors aid rats in their survival and make it more difficult to get rid of them.

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