Baits are available in several types. Grain baits in a meal or pelleted form are often available in bulk or packaged in small plastic, cellophane, or paper packets. These "place packs" keep baits fresh and make it easy to place baits into burrows, walls, or other locations. |
The common brown rat (Rattus norvegicus -- also called the Norway rat or sewer rat) is a destructive animal pest found in and around towns and farms. These rodents eat and contaminate large amounts of feed, damage structures by their gnawing and burrowing and may spread diseases that affect livestock and people.
Rats will eat nearly any type of food, but they prefer high-quality foods such as meat and fresh grain. Rats require 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food. Rats have keen taste, hearing, and sense of smell. They will climb to find food or shelter, and they can gain entrance to a building through any opening larger than 1/2 inch across.
Rats have litters of 6 to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats reach reproductive maturity in about three months. Breeding is most active in spring and fall. The average female has 4 to 6 litters per year. Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
Rat Control Sanitation: Poor sanitation and the presence of garbage allows rats to exist in residential areas. Good sanitation will effectively limit the number of rats that can survive in and around the home. This involves good housekeeping, proper storage and handling of food materials and refuse and elimination of rodent harborage (shelter). Outside dog pens must be properly maintained, to reduce potential rat problems.
On farms where food grains are handled and stored, or where livestock are housed and fed, it is difficult to remove all food that rats can use. In such situations, paying particular attention to removing shelter that rats can use for hiding, resting, and nesting is valuable in reducing rat numbers.
Warehouses, grain mills, and silos are especially vulnerable to rodent infestation. Store bulk foods in rodent-proof buildings, rooms, or containers whenever possible. Stack sacked food on pallets with adequate space left around and under stored articles to allow inspection for signs of rats. Good sanitary practices will not eliminate rats under all conditions, but will make the environment less suitable for them to thrive.
Rats will readily gnaw into these bags to get at an acceptable bait. Block style baits are also very effective for most baiting situations.
Use of tamper-resistant bait boxes provides a safeguard to people, pets, and other animals. Place bait boxes next to the walls, with the openings close to the wall, or in other places where rats are active. When possible, secure the bait station to a fixed object to prevent it from being moved. Label all bait boxes clearly with the words "Caution--Rat Bait" or another similar warning.
Sound and Electronic Devices: Rats quickly become accustomed to regularly repeated sounds. Ultrasonic sounds, those above the range of human hearing, have very limited use because they are directional and do not penetrate behind objects. Also, they quickly lose their intensity with distance. There is little evidence that sound of any type will drive established rats from buildings or otherwise give adequate control.
Predators and Biological Control: Although house cats, some dogs, and other predators kill rats, they do not usually give effective rat control. It is not uncommon to find rats living in very close association with dogs and cats. Rats frequently live beneath a doghouse and soon learn they can feed on the dog's food when he is absent or asleep. Many rat problems around homes can be related to the keeping of pets, on the other hand, some cats and dog breeds will reduce existing rat problems.
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