What Do I Do About Rats Under My House? Pest Control Products
What Do I Do About Rats Under My House?
We have a rat under our house. My husband has been under the house to find it. He found how it/they got in so he fixed that, but the rat has gotten part way into our house. We live in a manufactured home and our home has what is called a “rat barrier” then the actual floor of the house, so the rat is between the barrier and the floor.
We have tried the rat traps (use cheese, peanut butter and sardines as bait) and even went the poison route, but still we hear the little invader under our bathroom floor every night around 2:00am. My husband is obsessed with getting this guy and last weekend he put a hose up through the little hole under the floor and attached the other end to the tailpipe to his truck…I told you he was obsessed. He ran the truck for about 30 minutes hoping to kill him.
We use to have a little 8 pound dachshund that found a rat in our yard and killed it but she has passed and the dogs we have now only show interest in squirrels. I have noticed our dogs sniffing a lot by the back porch steps…in fact they really sniff all the stairs which is near the entry way(or former entry way) of the rat. My husband cant figure out if he did away with all the rats points of entries how does he keep getting back in under the house? Any ideas to get a rat out from between to layers? We don’t want to have to rip out a big section of under flooring. I need to figure something out before my hubby goes insane.
There is nothing like a rat gnawing at the floor beneath your feet at 2 in the morning to stir up an obsession with rodent control. But first of all, a word of caution about using your truck’s exhaust to kill a rat in your floor.
Anything in your vehicle’s exhaust that can kill a rodent can also kill a human. The carbon dioxide in vehicle exhaust is heavier than air, and will tend to sink into the rat barrier and asphyxiate the rat -if it doesn’t just scurry away- but the carbon monoxide in vehicle exhaust is lighter than air and will tend to rise into your home, where it can poison you. Please, please don’t try to kill rodents with vehicle exhaust!
And if you still had your little Dachshund, or another little dog, or a kitten or a cat, your pet would be at even greater risk of asphyxiation or poisoning than you.
So how DO you get rid of rats underneath the floor? Here are some ideas that actually work, although it may take some experimentation to find out which one works best for you:
- Place a fan or blower in the crawl space beneath your floor. You probably want a smaller unit, so the noise from the fan does not become as annoying as the noise from the rat. This method is especially useful during the winter. Small animals have to avoid drafts to conserve body heat, and they will avoid any kind of air movement if they can.
- Place a light in the crawl space beneath your floor. Rats are phototrophic. They prefer the dark, and will avoid lighted areas.
- Look for burrows leading into your house around your foundation. This can tell you where rats are getting in.
- Make sure there is no trash or debris against the side of your house. Any kind of clutter gives rodents cover to travel in and out at will.
- Use a black light to detect rat urine. The average rat urinates 300 times every night. Each drop will show up under black light (much like some other substances that police investigators use black light to detect in crime season investigation). Where you see rat urine, you have rats. You can follow their trail to determine where they are coming in.
- An alternative to a black light is to use a camera trap. Camera traps allow you to capture the rats in digital pictures or video and are motion activated so you don’t have to watch an empty room for hours. You can read a review about them here.
If you are inclined to use rat poison, it’s important to understand two things. One if that if a rat eats poison and dies, it may not die where you won’t smell it. The downside to killing a rat beneath your house is that you may smell it for several days or a week. But at least you will know it is gone.
The other thing that it is important to understand about using rat poison is that almost all poisons that kill rats will also kill pets and children and make adults very sick if the poison isn’t placed correctly. This means you need to use a poison that the rat can’t spread from place to place, and that you can place so that only the rat comes in contact with it. And you also don’t want your dogs eating a poisoned rat.
If you are sure you can keep both rat poison and poisoned rats away from pets and people, then here are some possibilities I didn’t mention on my site:
- Water baits. Rats like every other animal need water as well as food. A water bait like Liqui-Tox will attract the rat, and can be placed where pets won’t find it.
- Tamper-resistant bait stations. These are poison bait containers with openings large enough to let the rat in but small enough to keep pets and people out. If you can’t find a bait station that meets your needs (one that is the right size for your crawl space), then you can make a bait station from a “ball bait” and a length of PVC pipe. Just place the bait in the middle of the pipe. But don’t use loose bait in this kind of set-up.
- Rat zappers. A battery-operated rat zapper may be just what you need to get your rat. Just be sure to check it regularly. Somehow from your description I get the impression this won’t be a problem.
If you have any questions about doing your own pest control, then this is where to ask them.
One of our readers had a problem with mice moving into her home while she was away on holiday. Here we explained what steps to take to make sure they moved back out again pretty sharpish.
Be careful what you use to protect your decking. If you use a brand of stain that uses linseed or nut oil then you could be sending out an invitation to squirrels, asking them if they want to chew on your lovely new decking.
If you suspect you have Gophers in your basement, take immediate action because it won’t take long for them to cause havoc. Here are some ideas to be getting on with.
Chipmunks are the smallest member of the squirrel family, but many people think them as problematic as rats. Hence a question we received from one of our readers about the use of zappers.
Mark has a strong background in Engineering and a huge interest in Pest Control as a way of getting rid of rodents and other unwanted pests who can cause a nuisance in your home and garden. You can subscribe to his free daily paper on Pest Control Solutions and follow him on Facebook or Twitter
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My partner and I have just moved into our newly purchased Victorian terraced half house in SouthEast London. This is our first house purchased together and we are expecting our first child to be born in July.
During our first week living at the property I was working quietly on my laptop late into the night at a desk in our living room and it became very clear there were noises sounding like gnawing of timber beneath the floor boards in the corner of the room. This repeated 2 or 3 times through the course of the night until it was necessary for me to go to bed.
I have read through the many posts on this page and am extremely nervous regarding the situation and what my next steps should be, especially with a baby due to arrive very soon.
I have investigated the exterior of the property and am unable to locate any possible entry points . Fortunately the sounds was very much under the floorboards and there is no evidence of anything entering above the floorboards.
I’m unsure what the appropriate next steps should be as I do not know where to begin with accessing beneath the floorboards.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
There are no easy solutions, you are going to need to spend time, effort and money to get to the bottom of your problem. To check under the floorboards you have two options. One is to lift the floorboards, if you have traditional floorboards then this is a relatively simple thing to do and you should be able to put them back as you found them. If you don’t have the tools then find a chippy or builder to show you how to do it. The second way is to use an endoscope camera and check for evidence of rats. You might want to get a black light and check for dried urine in your living space to make sure they are not above the floorboards.
I am beside myself. My mother has rats. She is 91. I did her way and spent lots to seal up holes with foam by her friend, get an exterminator and put poison under the house. Then she got sick and complained like mad until I paid her friend to get rid of the rats, because she lives in the country and I couldn’t get anyone else. she just kept getting more rats and more holes in the floor. She refused to keep the food off her counter, empty her pantry, etc, “because where would she put it”. She is a hoarder to a degree with food anyway. She moved the traps the 1st company put in, and put them outside. They told her to stop. She moved them twice. They sprayed some “dust” under the house which was supposed to “irritate the rats eyes”. Didn’t work. She kept calling them over. They used sticky traps which we already had, and didn’t work. I don’t think they were very professional in their knowledge, but they cost me a $1000 which they refused to give back, for the month they were there we got more and more rats, even in her box springs!
Then I hired a man who said to leave the poison boxes he put out for a month. It is 3 weeks. She has put moth balls here and there to protect her precious plants, still leaves food on the counter, but puts moth balls there and on the chairs around her table, where unfortunately they go. They destroyed everything in her pantry but she says it is due to the new guys boxes not working. They are digging through the rat barrier and into the floor everywhere. They are brave now. It has been since November. She still had food on the counter today, (because she keeps her fridge so full she can’t put anything in it), and she is shampooing and said she was going to put moth balls around the house. That wont kill them or chase them away because they are still there. I keep asking her to just clean up and do nothing till the pest control man comes this week. He doesn’t answer me right now. I hope he will this week. My mother and I fight constantly over the phone and she says “you always are right”. I threatened to move her out, (its my house I keep for her, worst deal I ever made, she’s always like this when she doesn’t get her own way).
She refuses to leave and got furious when I told her I would move her out till they are gone if this doesn’t work. Is she crazy to not leave? Is there anything I do? They keep telling us to patient, but she is not. I understand it is a horrible situation, but it could have been over with much faster if she had listened.
I hear there is a liquid poison. What about that? I am afraid that the house will be condemned, she will have no place to go, and after paying the last 20 years, I will have to keep paying while it is condemned. I don’t have the money to rebuild. Insurance doesn’t cover. I will lose everything, she will be furious forever.
Completely at my wits end. Can you please help? Please?
Hi Ellen – it sounds like your Mother is certainly aggravating the situation by inviting rats into your house by leaving food around. You can tell her that rats find their way around by leaving a scent trail – i.e. urinating over everything including food and kitchen surfaces. However, if she is unwilling to listen to you then you may want to consider bringing in social services and getting them to talk with her. With regards to the rats under the house, if you can easily access the underside of your house then you might want to try and find a rat catcher who uses Jack Russel dogs. I have seen them in action and they are brilliant rat catchers. I’m sorry to hear about your situation and know it can be very distressing. Best wishes.
I have a multiple rat problem house I was wondering if I poisoned them will the poison made them super thirsty and cause him to eat to my water lines is this the best way and getting rid of them we have tried trapping them but we’re not be as successful…. Sorry for misspelling voice texting
Assuming your local bylaws allow you to poison rats then this is a very effective method. Another very effective method is to hire a rat trapper that uses Jack Russel dogs. They will clear your space very quickly. Once they are gone, you need to think about how to stop them returning.
Janet Hope says
I just bought a mobile home and there are pack rats under it in the ductwork. I spent a lot on an exterminator and we trapped one rat. There are others, I know, but we haven’t trapped anymore so I have been putting things around the outside to deter them (ie. moth balls, cotton soaked in clove or peppermint oil). I even had an HVAC company come and seal off all of the air exchange vents in the house and create one single new one. I have an awful smell (probably urine) in the house from the urine that was in all of the ducts that were closed up. I had hoped closing them off would get rid of the smell but it didn’t. I don’t know what to do now – I am even considering trying to sell the place despite only living her a month. I can’t take it! How can I get rid of this awful odor that’s in the sealed off ducts? I probably shouldn’t have sealed them off and just had them cleaned out but that’s too late now. Please help!!
Hi Janet – have you tried something like “Urine Off” – the problem is I don’t know how you will get it down the ductwork.
Sonja Tijmann says
Do you think peppermint oil is a good deterrent?
Also, I saw a woman (You Tube video) pouring Ammonia on rags and stuffing them in areas in her garage.
Is that a good option to put under the house in the crawl space?
I want them GONE and then Ill tackle the issue of clean up and fixing the insulation.
It won’t have much of an effect. However, do use as many traps and deterrents as possible – you want to use overwhelming force! How will you know when they have gone?
Kris Domingo says
I agree. I use peppermint, moth balls, rat traps, many other sprays. I still get rat problema once in a while and it take a lot of repellant /deterrent to keep these pests away. I noticed that this only happens during winter.
I need help. Rats have broken through the screens that lead underneath my house. How do I replace the screens without trapping them inside? I think they’ve made their way into my walls and attic. My dog has been going crazy at night because she hears them, I hear them too! I just want to be able to sleep normal again without worrying about these rodents.
That’s a good question. You can repair the screens and put a one-way door or a one-way door cage trap built into the screen.
You have to catch them. Mine eventually died under the floor and we had to wear masks in the kitchen for months. I made the mistake of touching the traps. You have to use newspaper to touch traps and have no trace of human contact.
I had every trap on the market – even the electric zapper ones and I didn’t catch it.
However, an electrician found a 13 inch mummified one behind a skirting – which was from another rat invasion many years ago. This rat had secreted itself between a heating pipe and skirting. I only remember an infestation of black flies and could never find the source.
Be patient and catch the rats. Believe me: you do not want them to die.
Having said that: the best poison is the mice and rat poison that comes in these “pasta” sacks. It’s not in the rat section at Homebase. It’s ultimately what killed mine. All the others do not work
Ahren Helberg says
Are peanuts and apples with peanut butter enough to entice a Norway rat to a large victor trap. I have caught 6 with peanut butter alone and traps, but they seem less desperate for food than before. There are new holes channeling under the house, rental at that, and under the deck in the back yard. Is this a sign to high tail it out of here?
I would tell your landlord about the rat problem because I would have thought they have an interest in maintaining the properties integrity. With regards to bait, I wouldn’t get over complicated with it. You could try different bait in different traps, try putting out more traps and try nesting materials as bait.
Theresa Radford says
Hi, I have a Jack Russell. She is constantly sniffing the drain lid outside of the house. She then started sniffing around the skirting board in the hallway, there was a very small gap and my husband filled it. She is now sniffing around the kitchen area towards the underground area which is around 6ft deep! I have had some building work done. The only way to get to this area is to take the flooring up! The council has dealt with any rats that were under my garden shed as the dog has also been digging there! Should I phone them?
Yes I believe you should, but you may need to gather a little evidence for them, try to identify some rat droppings.
The council will only put down poison. Your best deterrent and defence is your Jack Russell. I was on this forum 6 months ago with a rat under my kitchen floor. I tried every trap on the market to catch it. I ended up using poison after it ate through the BT cables, the Alarm and the Intercom, oh and a mains wire.
Oh and 3 oak kick boards in the kitchen.
I used the poison which is in the pasta bags from B&Q meant for mice and rats.
It was a huge mistake. The smell was so horrendous my son and I had to wear masks in the flat. It still lingers. Then when I was getting the alarm cable repaired, the guy found a mummified rat 13 inches long trapped in a cupboard behind the skirting board. It died many years ago when we had another rat infections.
Please persevere. Do not kill the creature. You have to try and catch it/them. However, whilst your dog is around they will not come out.
I can hear rats under my floorboards, they are not visible and cannot see where they got in- possibly next door.
How can i get rid of rats under the floorboards?
How many of the suggestions in this article have you tried?
Good old spring traps (extra-large size) are still very good but to trick those clever rats you should bait them without setting them for 3 or even 4 or 5 nights to habituate them. Be sure the bait is well attached. On the 5th or 6th night set the trap (mind your fingers). Works every time (almost).
Fiona Lafferty says
Hi Mark, Having read your comments above, I have now ordered a black light torch and will research Liquid-tox. We have rats under the floor. The evidence appeared over xmas when myself and the dog – an English pointer -were away for a week. I found half eaten chocolates on the xmas tree and a nest under a rolled up rug under a bed.
Also, the dog, Victor started going mad and smelling around the fridge. The BT lines are down in half the apartment and the door intercom doesn’t work. These wires are under the floor.
I have previously had rat problems (about 7 years ago) and spent around £600 with a pest control company who had been on the TV with their Terrier dog. According to this program they were marvellous. They never brought the dog. They left poison and sticky pads, then after 2 weeks and told me the rat had gone. When I told my wise Northern Mother this, she said, “well I’m not coming to visit until I’ve seen a carcass!”
We eventually caught the monster in a trap in the under sink cupboard. I had left a sealed box which I thought had some kind of glue in it. (I have tried to find the same thing on line but cannot source it) It was 1 foot long and the trap had trapped it’s head sideways rather than broken it’s neck. I assumed it had got stoned on the glue box and ended up on the trap. Thankfully, a neighbour helped me drown it.
Hence, I am loathe to call in “experts”. I am also reluctant to put down poison. IF it doesn’t like Nutella, peanut butter and fresh Brie, it won’t eat poison. Also, we have a dog. We caught one baby on a sticky pad last weekend when we went away with the dog.
I admire the creatures in many ways. They only come out when you go out, and will do anything to survive. The nightmare is the destruction. Since December 2017, It has eaten a hole in an oak grill under the cooker (now that area has 3 traps but nothing has been touched) and the following week ate a 3 inch, by 2 inch hole in the kitchen cabinet beside the fridge. I placed a humane trap (tunnel with bait that traps them alive) in front of that hole last weekend, but came back to a pile of chewed earth and wood where it had tried to burrow around the trap.
We have a sealed wooden floor. The only access to under this is behind the fridge. All holes are filled with wire wool. Oh and I’ve even had a fibre optic camera beneath the floor trying to find a nest.
I do not know what to do. However, I can completely understand the chap who put exhaust fumes under his floor.
Could I gas this thing out in some way if we moved out for a day or so?
Could I get a ferret and put it under the floor? I have asked people about this option and they say I would lose the ferret and it would kill the rats and we’d have a smell.
I could take up the floor – a vast expense – only to find they’ve moved to another corner.
If you have any thoughts I would be grateful.
Fiona Lafferty says
My comment hasn’t been posted yet. Apologies for a couple of typos. In addition to all this, I bought an infra red baby monitor to see if I could detect them. Suffice to say it was waste of money. I couldn’t watch it 24/7.
I assume your kitchen is on the ground floor. I’m also assuming the rats have entered your house from outside, so search around the outside of your home to see where they could have got in. Sewer pipes and drains are very popular with rats, have you checked them outside, undergorund? If your property is old there could be a damaged pipe which they are using as a rat run.
I hear a loud chewing coming from underneath my HOUSE in the kitchen cupboard, I’ve put bait traps outside near the noise but there not eating it. The noise went away after I put the bait traps up, but now it’s back, can’t get underneath the house, what else can I do to prevent it from getting in?
Have you implemented all the suggestions in this article?
stephen rasmussen says
We are devastated, tried everything to get rid of rads under the floor of our house.
Half the house has a “crawl” celler , the other half doesnt. ( house is 110 years old ).
we can here the rats under the part of the house when everything else is quiet , that does not have any access to it ! and am afraid they will claw their way through the floor and into the house.
the remainder of the celler has been proofed after fixing old pipes that even some of the rats had eaten trough.
we are so worried that the floor with no access to the underside of , will have to be broken up at great expense,
Any ideas would be welcome !
I personally would get a small inspection/endoscope camera and see exactly what is going on. Get one that can see in the dark and is triggered with movement. Once you know what is happening, you can then determine what is a proportional response is. If you do have rats coming and going at will, then you probably will need to bite the bullet and take up your floor. Please let us know what you do and the results.
Fiona Lafferty says
I put an endoscope under the floor. Attached it to a long bendy stick and a coat hanger. (It was about £10 from amazon) I had previously shone a torch in the rat’s face behind the fridge (where there is a gap leading to under the floor). We only saw droppings. No nest. No rats. Yet as I write, I can hear it gnawing under the floor near the fridge. Like you I have a sealed floor.
I have rats under the floorboards. The flooring is sealed and I have closed all acecess points. The problem is they are still under the floorboards and I can hear them at night. Have tried poison and some have died but there seem to be more. Has gonein for months. I have tried everything and am frustarted they are still under the floorboards. Any ideas please?
If you can’t catch them, make their lives extremely uncomfortable. Remove all food and nesting material. Use ultrasonic devices, place food outside the area to encourage them to move out.