How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Crawlspace

How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Crawlspace

Rats are common in cities and older neighbourhoods where they can find food and shelter. Century homes are especially at risk of getting rats because their foundations have deteriorated, and they may have obsolete piping that rats can crawl through. Rats are commonly found in crawlspaces because they provide rats with comfortable shelter. In the summer, the crawlspace is cool, and in the winter, it’s warm. Rats dig tunnels that let them go in and out of the crawlspace as they please.

If you have rats there now, you must evict them as soon as possible. Rats in the crawlspace risk digging up into your home where they will nest in the walls and cause a serious amount of damage. These are filthy pests that will contaminate your insulation with feces and ruin the home with odours. Rats that have passed away leave a terrible smell that lasts for weeks. Call us for rat control in Toronto and across the GTA.

How it’s Done

rodent bait stations
Rodenticide is extremely effective for getting rid of rats. Only a professional can service bait stations.

To get rid of rats in your crawlspace, you will need the help of a licensed technician. He or she will inspect your property and find how the pests are getting inside, then install a one-way door to that entry point. The one-way door only swings outward, so when the rats go out at night to feed, they can leave but they cannot get back inside. Other entry points, like cracks in the foundation, will be sealed with mesh, caulking, or other rat-proof materials.

In addition to the one-way door, the technician will set baits and traps. Snap traps will be set within the crawlspace to eliminate the rats inside and bait stations will be set outside to suppress the population overall. Bait stations are black boxes of rodenticide, with holes on their sides to let in rats. The rodenticide is specifically formulated to appeal to rats so as not to harm the neighbourhood’s animals. It is also tamper-proof and locked with a key so that dogs, raccoons, or children cannot access the bait inside. After a few ingestions, rats go into their burrows and perish.

Rat problems are usually solved within a few weeks, depending on their severity. It takes consistent trapping and baiting to get rid of rats. What you can do to help is to keep your property as neat as possible. Get rid of every food source in your yard, such as fallen fruit, bird seed, or accessible garbage cans. Move things away from the sides of the home and groom the yard to get rid of hiding spots. Indoors, keep the home as clean as possible and store food in airtight containers.

How to Get Rid of Rat Smell in Crawl Space

Once the rats are gone, there may still be a lingering smell. This is because rats leave urine and feces behind them, wherever they go.

The pest control technician you hired to get rid of the rats may offer disinfection and deodorization services. They can use a HEPA vacuum to remove all the feces and debris left behind, then use a fogger to disinfect and neutralize the smell. This is an additional service that will cost you a bit more, but, this way, you can avoid having to get your hands dirty and inhaling dangerous particles. Professional cleaning is straightforward and effective.

If you want to do it yourself, you will need to remove the feces safely. First, put on a mask and a pair of rubber gloves. Using a household disinfectant or bleach solution of one part bleach to ten parts water, spray the feces and let the disinfectant sit for 10 minutes. Disinfecting the feces before picking them up will prevent you from stirring up germs and inhaling them. Then, pick the feces up with an inverted plastic bag. Bag everything up into a sealed plastic bag and throw that out immediately.

Once you’re done removing feces and debris, you will need to disinfect every surface. Spray the walls and the floor of your crawlspace with disinfectant and let it sit for 10 minutes, first. Then, to help remove odours, pour baking soda all over the floor. You can also make a paste by mixing baking soda with water or vinegar and cover the walls with it. This will help draw out the smell. Wait for a day, then scrub the surfaces with a brush.

Ventilate the area thoroughly as you clean up the baking soda. Use fans and open all the windows in your home to help let the air out. Be sure that your windows are screened and that you have excluded your crawlspace before airing it out. Vacuum and mop up all the baking soda and repeat the cleaning process as necessary.

Keep Rats Out of Crawlspace

Keep Rats Out of the Crawlspace
Exclusion is an important part of the extermination process.

When it comes to rats, it’s important that you take preventative measures. Rats are wild animals that will repopulate an area when treatment stops. They will come right back into the home as soon as they get the chance. You can keep rats out of the crawlspace permanently by excluding the structure of your home.

Inspect your foundation carefully and look for gaps that a rat could fit through. Seal these off with epoxy or any other appropriate sealant. You should also cover wall vents with mesh and seal every other hole you find in the walls of your home. Fix holes in the sides of your deck and fill in the gaps you find surrounding your cable lines and plumbing. Put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors.

Because rats burrow underground, you may also want to put mesh along the sides of the foundation. Dig a trench along the sides of your home, about a foot deep, then screw in a 16-gauge, quarter-inch galvanized steel mesh into the foundation’s walls. This material is rat-proof. Fill in the trench when you are done. A professional can do this for you.

Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawlspace encapsulation
Crawlspace encapsulation keeps rodents out for good. The image above shows a work-in-progress.

The most reliable way you can keep rats out of your home forever is to invest in crawlspace encapsulation. At The Exterminators, we offer the complete exclusion crawlspaces in which we install a rat-proof mesh into the walls and flooring of the space. The mesh is too narrow for pests to crawl through, and it is tough enough to withstand their chewing and tearing. We will cover every surface of the crawlspace to ensure that no pests get inside.

This service comes with a 2-year warranty. So, if anything were to happen to it, we will come back and repair it. Our rat treatments are also guaranteed, so you can rest assured that we will come back and fix the problem if rats return. Give us a call if you are worried about the rats in your area. We provide effective solutions to all rodent problems.