Home / The Orkin Blog / How To Get Rid Of Rats

Rats can be a nuisance for any homeowner to deal with. As these pests can transmit diseases and can even cause damage to your home and property, thereby compromising the structure and potentially even creating possible fire hazards.

Don’t worry, as Orkin Canada is here to help. Using our extensive experience, we’ve put together a list of the five most effective ways to get rid of rats in your home.

1.    Identify The Signs Of Rat Activity

Rat Droppings

Droppings are over 12 mm long (or 1/3”) in size, can be pointy at ends (roof rats) or blunt, pellet shaped (Norway rats). Droppings will usually be found around areas that rodents frequent regularly.

Nests/Nesting Materials

Rats use shredded material, like paper, cloth, and cardboard to create their nests. Nests are often located in dark areas like crawlspaces, between walls, sheds and in waste disposal areas, however this can defer depending upon the species of rat. Norway rats for example, prefer to nest in burrows – around the house, especially under concrete slabs beneath the house’s foundation. Their nests can be made of grass clipping, leaves and twigs

Grease/Rub Marks

Rats are well known for being unsanitary, as their bodies leave behind grease marks as they travel along walls. Darker and more noticeable grease stains can indicate more activity in that area, especially along their runways (building foundations, ledges, pipes, electrical wires, conduits, tree branches, etc.).

Damaged/Gnawed Through Materials

Rats like to chew on all kinds of items, as their teeth continue to grow throughout their life. Look for gnaw marks on walls, insulation, wires, flooring, household items, and food products, as this can be a tell-tale sign that rats are present.

Scratching Or Squeaking Noises

If there is rat activity on your property, you’re likely to hear sounds as the rats move from one area in your home to another. Squeaking, scratching or chirping noises are just one-way rats communicate with one another. If you think you might be hearing any of these noises on your property, chances are you may have rats.


Rats tend to consistently travel using the same path. As a result, they will form an easily noticeable path. In grassy areas for instance, you will notice a worn trail, while indoors, rat tracks are more noticeable in any dusty areas.

2.   Properly Seal Potential Entry Points

In order to properly solve a rat problem, it is important to prevent one from happening by keeping them out. This can be done by sealing holes in flooring, interior and exterior walls, gaps around utility entry points and unscreened vents to cut off their access to your home.

A rat can squeeze its body through any space it can get its head through. In addition, by gnawing on it with their powerful teeth, they can make an entry point of any hole having a one-quarter of an inch diameter or larger. By sealing holes with rodent proof materials such as steel wool, it can make a dramatic difference.

Related: How To Patch A Rodent Hole

3.   Vegetation Management/Habitat Modification

Unkempt landscaping can be a rat attractant. Therefore, it is important to keep shrubbery cut back at least one meter from the exterior walls of your home to eliminate any hiding spots or a “jumping off” point to access your home. Additionally, avoid planting vines that grow on walls and inspect house foundations/concrete slabs of your home for any loose soil, cracks, holes, and erosion.

4.   Remove Any Moisture Sources

When you are trying to make your property unattractive to rats it is imperative to eliminate any moisture or water sources. Examples of moisture sources you will need to eliminate can include clogged gutters, water gathering in trash or recycling bins, leaky outdoor taps and pipes, ornamental items, and planters. Rats look for ideal conditions such as easy access to food or water to ensure their survival.

5.   Keep Your Property Clean, Inside And Out

Doing simple tasks like cleaning up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen can make a difference in making your property unattractive to rats. Ensure that all food is properly stored in tightly sealed containers like plastic bins, and if possible never leave food or dishes sitting out overnight, as this provides easy access for rats. Never leave pet food or feeding dishes lying around, as this is also what attracts rats to your home.

If you have a garden, ensure that any fallen fruits or vegetables are removed promptly. In the case where you are keeping compost in the yard, it is vital to keep the area neat, clean, and tightly sealed to ensure it is properly rodent proofed.

We hope that you found these tips helpful. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by rat issues or if you think it is growing beyond what you can handle, call a professional. Our Orkin Canada technicians are experts in handling any rat issue. Contact Orkin Canada today!

Remove pests from your home, and stop them from coming back

We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation estimate today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.

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Reviewed by Alice Sinia, Ph.D., MSc on July 28 2021.

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