Best Rodent Control Means Facing Portland’s Scary Rat Problem

by | Mar 14, 2021 | Pest, Rodent Control

In Portland, we want the best rodent control. But we also want to be cautious with pesticides. This article examines what contributes to Portland’s scary rat problem, and how to solve it the smart way. Basically, the best rodent control practices depend on preventing rats from reproducing in the first place.

How to Get the Best Rodent Control in Portland

The very best rodent control strategy is to prevent and mice 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 food is abundant and many homes are aging.

Understanding Neophobia

We know that rats reproduce fast and that often leads to issues. But they’re also incredibly smart. Over the centuries we systematically trapped, caught and killed all the curious rats.

Now, the most cautious rats survived 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

In fact, rats breed so fast, they developed resistance 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 and is used as blood pressure medication.

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.

Rodent Control 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.

Fascinatingly, rats are also smart enough to avoid traps if they see another trapped rodent. For this reason, traps (of any kind) are only part of the solution.

Best 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. It’s common for there to be one or fewer captures for the rest of the trapping service.


Do Natural Rat Repellents Work?

Rats have evolved alongside us long enough that they’re mostly used to all the smells we are. For this reason, natural animal repellents with garlic, chili, peppermint, ultra-sonic devices, or even pet odors & predator urines seem to be barely- or completely non-effective. Do not waste your money on any product that claims to repel rats, squirrels or wildlife.

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

Excluding Rodents from the Home

If sealing entry points 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. Rodent control 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 an 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 usually placed around the exterior of the home. These bait stations are put out when rat populations grow to a bothersome size. Whether we like it or not, homes, businesses, and industrial areas use rodenticides to manage urban rats populations to acceptable levels.

Do We Need Rat Extermination?

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.

Did Covid Cause More Rodents in Portland?

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.

Rodent Prevention is the Key

In Portland, rodenticide bait stations are so common that most people have seen or had them installed. For a few reasons, Portland exterminators are not able to trap every rat. While we’re asleep, thousands of pounds of rodenticides are gobbled up by hungry Portland rats every month.

To reduce rodenticide usage, we need to prevent rats from breeding in the first place.

Best Rat Control for Portland OR

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 or better maintained homes.

If you’re interested in getting Integrated Pest Management for Portland rodent control, 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.

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