Best Rodent Control Means Facing Our Scary Rat Problem

by | Mar 14, 2021 | Pest

In Portland, we want the best rodent control. But we also want to be cautious with pesticides. Let’s examine some facts your Portland rat exterminator definitely wants you to know. The best rodent control practices depend on preventing rats from reproducing in the first place.

Norway, brown or sewer rat feeding on scraps on a sidewalk

Portland Rat Removal

In Portland, bait stations are so common that most people have seen or had them installed. As an industry insider I can assure you, Portland exterminators are not trapping your neighborhood rats in check. Thousands of pounds of rodenticides are snatched up by hungry Portland rats every month. That’s why it’s best to prevent rats from breeding before they can cause problems for you or your neighbors.

Best Rodent Control

We know that rats reproduce fast and that often leads to issues. But they’re also incredibly smart. Over our centuries long history together, we systematically trapped, caught and killed all the curious rats. However, the most cautious rats bred and passed those genes along. We refer to this hard-wired cautiousness as “neophobia,” which means the fear of anything new in the rats environment.

Rodenticide Resistance

Fun fact: Urban sewer rats are also resistant to the first generation of anti-coagulant rodenticide; warfarin. Humans widely overused warfarin in the early 20th century due to it’s surprisingly low toxicity to larger birds and mammals. It is actually therapeutic for humans in low doses. But now rat management professionals no longer have access to warfarin as a tool. Our second generation anti-coagulants and “stop-feeds” are notably more hazardous if applied incorrectly.

Rat Removal With Traps

So a new breed of neophobic, warfarin resistant rats are lurking in the sewers and underground. They pop up in the darkness to snack on seeds, nuts, fruits, garbage and whatever.

Rodent Control Scenario

Let’s say a pregnant sewer rat pops up into your Portland neighbors crawlspace and has a litter of 8 rats. For reference the average litter size is 7-14. Your neighbor calls their local rat exterminator.

The likelihood of successfully trapping all 8 rats realistically is low. Typically rat traps capture 1-3 rats in the first round of trapping. The remaining rats are likely to notice their dead brothers & sisters in the traps, and learn not to go near them. Its common for there to be one or fewer captures for the rest of the trapping service.

Rodent Exclusion

If exclusion is done before or during the trapping service, some rats or mice may escape, however others may be trapped inside. It’s always best to do any rodent exclusion after you’re highly confident you’ve controlled them all. Complications from rodent services sometimes come from rodents trapped inside. Choosing the right time to repair holes to exclude rodents from the home usually depends on the situation. Rat professionals need as much information as possible to make the right decisions.

Having a professional rodent exclusion contractor inspect & repair your home will save you time and frustration later. Do not be fooled into thinking that rats won’t return. Portland has a severe rat problem which we’ll look at the big picture shortly.

The truth is your exterminator will probably never know how many rats were in your neighbor’s crawlspace. Its difficult to know where they go, because they remain hidden away. Besides the trapped rats, random sightings, and the evidence they leave behind, it is their nature to remain unseen.

Almost every different pest management professional has their own method of performing a rat extermination. Rodenticides are almost always placed around the exterior of the home. These bait stations are put out when rat populations grow to a bothersome size. Homes, businesses, and industrial areas use rodenticides to manage urban rats populations to acceptable levels.

Artificial Tolerance Level

If no one did anything, urban rat populations would surely cause significant more problems than they already do. Sewer rats are Norway rats that colonize urban sewer systems & adjacent burrows. They can act as reservoirs for human pathogens. These pathogens could increasingly land on the counters and floors of Portland homes without someone calling for rat extermination.

An Ounce Of Prevention

The very best rodent control strategy is to prevent rats, mice and invasive squirrels from reproducing in the first place. Although we may not see or hear them, rodents invade our neighbors crawlspaces, garages and attics. In Portland rodent removal is in extremely high demand because largely our homes are aging. Increasingly, Norway rat burrows are breaching previously rat-free crawlspaces from underneath.

Difficult Conversation

Another reason is that Portland rat exterminators are so busy around town is abundant food. Yes, COVID-19 probably caused an increase of rat activity in residential areas due to restaurant closures. But even before then rats were probably more pervasive than we think.

Outdoors, high protein food sources like pet food dishes, chicken scratch and bird feed can cause rodents to reproduce out of control. Limiting seed & feed is important to prevent rats from hoarding high protein foods in their nests & burrows. Even outside foods like kale from the garden or fruit from a nearby tree can provide an extra nutritional boost for urban rodents.

Best Rat Control

It’s important to think of best rat control as a community effort. Rats have an approximately 3 block radius. Low-income neighbors with older homes may be more affected by heavy local rodent populations than folks with newer homes.

If you’re curious about learning more, don’t hesitate to call us. We’re here to help you sort through all the best rodent control options, anticipate & avoid hazards, and pick the one that’s best for you.

Give us a Call