thermal scan picking up rat activity-v2

Case Study: Leslieville Rat Extermination and Exclusion

This article will analyze and recount a rat infestation case that required multiple visits and will detail the steps in the exclusion process that technicians took to eradicate the rat presence completely and successfully in a residential property in Leslieville, Toronto. We do not only treat the problem but also spend the time to find the root cause of the problem and solve it once and for all. If you too are experiencing rat problems get in touch with our team: rat control solutions in Leslieville

Technicians go through several steps to conclude before moving on to the actual exclusion and the eventual sealing and proofing. We received a call from a property owner in Leslieville. The activity was heard in the walls. A pest control technician was dispatched to the site. 

Leslieville: Toronto’s Bustling Historic Neighbourhood

leslieville pest control problems
Rodent issues are prevalent in almost every downtown Toronto neighborhood – including Leslieville

Older neighborhoods like Leslieville are notorious for rodent infestations. Some structures and homes date back to the 18th CE. Antiquated structures and homes are susceptible to structural gaps, and wear over the years which makes it easy for pests to enter homes and buildings in the neighborhood. Leslieville is a prominent area that is dotted with restaurants, cafes, and bars. The constant availability of activities in the neighborhood which started as a humble village grew out to be one of Toronto’s hotspots. Queen St. runs right through Leslieville and sits east of the Don River through which the Canadian National Railway runs as well. All of these elements combined make it very attractive for pests to inhabit the area. Leslieville and East York neighborhood residents often have to battle rats on their properties. Rodents, in general, have three basic needs. These are food, water, and shelter. With an abundance of food readily available at any time anywhere, rats have absolutely no reason to move away from Leslieville.

Exterior Inspection

On-site, we will conduct an exterior inspection. The exterior inspection is needed to detect possible entry-points throughout the perimeter of the property. These entry-points can consist of and are not limited to holes, crevices, gaps, vent caps, and structural gaps that develop through wear and tear over the span of several years. In Ontario, these types of entry-points are usually found, seen that many houses are several centuries old. 

Recommendations 

Technicians make note of weak spots and will recommend homeowners to have them sealed up. These weak spots consist of the following: cracks at the foundation, foundational gaps, and any type of cracks, crevice, and hole. Exterior vent covers often found on the sides of houses also pose a risk as they can be made from plastic. The material is no match for the razor sharp incisors of the rat that can easily gnaw through it.

What We Found

The technician found that there was a gap at the utility lines located at the back of the house that ran to the foundation of the house. The gap was located right above the sub-pump room in the basement room. The technician concluded the rats could be using the utility line gaps as entry points that lead to the basement area. Rats are solitary rodents that stay away from human interaction. They prefer dark and secluded areas. Thus the basement sub-pump area is perfect for the rat to thrive and to breed. It must be noted that rats look for warmth. Since the rat infestation took place in the colder winter months, it must have provided the rat with the perfect opportunity to infiltrate. 

 

Rat Entry Point - Utility Line Gap
Small gaps around the foundation are often used by rats to gain entry inside the main structure.

Interior Inspection

The homeowner is informed of the findings immediately. The technician proposes placing exterior bait-stations. Bait-stations are tamper-proof containers that are stocked with rodenticide. Once eaten, the rats will perish. These bait-stations can only be accessed by a special key and prevents children and pets from accessing the bait. The suspicion and rat activity were confirmed after a follow-up inspection of the bait-stations a few days later. The bait blocks were indeed visibly consumed. Alongside, were rodent droppings that were found inside the bait stations as well . 

Rats in the Sump Pump
Rats entering through the sump pump area.

Initial Measures Taken

The homeowner is informed of the findings immediately. The technician proposes placing exterior bait-stations. Bait-stations are tamper-proof containers that are stocked with rodenticide. Once eaten, the rats will perish. These bait-stations can only be accessed by a special key and prevents children and pets from accessing the bait. They are loaded with a commercial grade rodenticide that only licensed exterminators can use. The suspicion and rat activity were confirmed after a follow-up inspection of the bait-stations a few days later. The bait blocks were indeed visibly consumed. Alongside, were rodent droppings that were found inside the bait stations as well . 

 

Exterior Bait Station for Rats
Significant feeding levels in exterior bait station

 

Proposed Exclusion

From the initial visit, it was determined that rodents had an access point into the property as burrow was found in the basement area. Before moving on to the actual removal of the drywall, a thermal camera was used to spot rat activity. Thermal cameras pick up damaged sections of the insulation which creates a cold front behind the drywall which is highlighted in blue. We can deduce from this information that the difference in temperature is due to the damaged insulation which in turn corresponds to the rat activity near the sub-pump area. Based on the findings, 18 inches of drywall were proposed for removal. The thermal camera pointed to heavy activity behind the drywall. Finding the interior entry-point as well as finding the exterior entry-point is crucial. For several reasons. By finding the interior entry-point, the technician understands where the rodents house themselves and from where the infestation spread.

By finding the exterior entry-point, the technician understands where the infestation originates. Drywall and insulation are fairly soft materials to chew through. Once chewed, the rats can spread throughout the premises.  However, it must be emphasized that the technician did not find an active exterior entry-point that lead to the rat presence. It was initially suspected  before removing the drywall, that the rats used the gap from the exterior utility lines to enter. Instead, not until after the technician removed the drywall, the technician concluded that the rats in question tunneled their way in from underneath the house by following older pipes that were in disuse coming into the house from the street.

Thermal Camera Pest Control Inspection
We use thermal cameras to help us pinpoint rat tunnels and nesting areas behind walls.

Performed Exclusion

As part of the exclusion process, exterior bait stations were installed so that all rats in the area would perish before moving on to the sealing and proofing. 4ft of mesh was installed around the sub-pump to prevent the entry of rats. The gap that was located at the back of the house was also sealed with galvanized steel mesh, a durable material to withstand any rodent or wildlife attack. 6ft of concrete foundational gaps were also sealed that were found on the exterior of the building during the initial exterior inspection. In the basement area, snap-traps were installed out of precaution. Snap-traps are effective traps that kill rats instantly.

Rat Exclusion near sump pump
We use galvanized steel mesh to prevent animals from entering your space. All our exclusion services are backed by a 2 year warranty.

 

Eventually, 12 ft of drywall in the basement area was removed. The area was deodorized and disinfected with hospital-grade disinfectants since rats are vector species of disease and leave behind feces, salvia, and urine. The area was cleared from droppings and vacuumed with an industry-grade HEPA Vacuum. The filter of the HEPA Vacuum is specially designed to capture smaller particles such as possible allergens. It turned out that there was an area behind the drywall that served as an interior entry-point to the basement area. The technician suspected that rats used older pipes that were into disuse. It is important to know that a lot of older homes have pipes that run to the properties, but do not serve a purpose anymore. Thermal imaging plays a key role in locating the entry-point. Once the entry point location is exactly pinpointed with the thermal camera the technician seals off the entry point with cement and galvanized steel mesh. Finding entry points and sealing them is what secures a building from future intrusions. Eventually, the old insulation was disposed of off-site and new insulation was installed.

Rats Entering Through Pipes
Old pipes are rat highways. Process of elimination, thermal imaging and follow through enabled us to find and seal the entry point.

Conclusion

A few days later, we received the good news that no snap-traps have gone off neither any noise from any of the walls was heard which means that the rat infestation was completely eliminated since we pinpointed the exact location in the interior that caused the rat infestation to grow. The exterior bait-stations during the treatment took care of exiting rats that were in search of food and water. The homeowners were in the clear to apply new drywall. Finding entry-points, and weak spots throughout the property are one of the most important steps in an entire exclusion job because it limits and prevents the infestation from recurring. Prevention is the best remedy. Knowing what attracts rodents and deterring them can help homeowners a long way in not having to deal with infestations. 

sealed interior entry point

No rat problem is the same. Every structure is different and rodents generally follow and take advantage of these vulnerabilities. If you suspect you have rat problem give us a call. Our team of experts has experience with solving even the most difficult rat problems. Call 647-496-2211. Call The Exterminators Inc.

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Joe The Exterminator

Joe is a professional pest control exterminator with over 15 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge about different pests and how you can deal with them.