Case Study: Downtown Guelph Rat Exclusion 2021

The following article analyzes and recounts a rat extermination in Guelph, Ontario. Each step in the exclusion process that technicians took to eradicate the presence of rats completely will be detailed. The infestation, in this case, was beyond severe and required multiple visits to solve. The residential property sits at a bustling intersection between a major road, several shops, and a shopping plaza.

A call was made from the homeowner reporting a severe rat presence in and outside the property. Multiple breaches were detected throughout the exterior and interior of the home. A technician was sent to evaluate and treat the rat infestation on-site. 

Guelph: A City Clad in indigenous and modern Canadian History

The present modern-day city known as Guelph was first formed by a British development firm, Canada Company. Guelph is considered to be one of the first planned towns in Canada where the location was chosen to be at the center of the Canada Company’s headquarters. The superintendent of the Company was John Galt, a Scottish Novelist who wanted to design the town around settlers and wanted to attract them in flocks. Galt had great visions for the newly formed town based on early city plans, the town was meant to resemble a classical European town square that would serve as the life and centre of the newly established town. As the story goes John Galt chose the name Guelph to name it after one of the names of the Royal Family. 

Today, Guelph occupies indigenous lands that were inhabited by the Attawandaron until their decline in the 17th century. Galt would not live long enough to see his city sprawl into what it is now until the construction of the Grand Trunk Railroad linking Toronto in 1856. Guelph is now recognized as a place of many firsts and where approximately 114,000 people call home.

Exterior Inspection

After the technician was dispatched to this home, he immediately conducted an exterior inspection. The exterior inspection is a highly crucial aspect of the rat exclusion process because it mainly leads to two conclusions. It helps the technician understand the rat infestation and will also help understand where the rats come in from. During the exterior inspection, the technician looks for entry points. 

Entry points are places along the perimeter of the property that gives easy access to the rodents to infiltrate the interior and to disperse from that point on. Entry points can also be used as an exit point when pests go looking for food and water outside. Finding entry points is a primary concern for the technician to prevent future infestations from recurring. Apart from that the technician carefully looks for clues that indicate active presence such as rat feces, debris, tracks, and clear signs of deterioration due to their presence.  

Older pipes that are out of use can also be a cause of rat infestations. Even though the water and electricity are all modernized, there are still pipes that connect to the older houses. Especially houses that date back to the early 19th century. 

The reason why this case was so significant is that it highlights a very classic example of why and how pests and wildlife are attracted to residential properties. Based on the exterior inspection, the technician quickly concluded that the homeowner was dealing with rats. This was due to finding an unusually high amount of rat feces scattered all around the yard. Rat feces are easily distinguishable by their black or brown color, shiny surface, and blunt tips. They are much larger than those of a mouse, which are smaller than grains of rice. 

In addition to finding feces, the technician also spotted vegetation and a plot of strawberries on the land concealing an entry-point at the front of the house. A weather strip on one of the doors was missing creating this big gap that gave the rats a free pass to move in. To make matters worse, a ventilation pipe was seen at the side of the house uncovered and open to the elements which must have given the rats access to the interior. The technician had a Goliath of a task in front of him.

Interior Inspection

The technician conducted the interior inspection in all rooms of the house including the garage, bathroom, living room, and garage. The interior inspection is of fundamental importance in finding an effective solution and permanent eradication. Here, the technician carefully inspected every inch of the home for signs of a rat infestation. What he found were obvious signs of a rat problem, such as rat feces scattered everywhere in very large piles. It was so severe that these rat feces could be seen from a far distance.

 

 

Several rat traps were uncovered in between the clutter of the house in which some rooms were flooded underneath. Traditional rat or mouse traps offer little to no resistance to an ever-growing army of rats that have completely overrun a house. Clutter is a major – if not the main – catalyst for a rat infestation. This is because rats, unlike their smaller rodent counterpart, the mouse, will do anything to stay under the radar. Clutter is a great method to avoid detection and to continue their multiplication without being disturbed. Clutter can function as cover so that rats easily move around the house without the worry of being detected. 

Other signs of an undoubted rat infestation were further proven by the amount of scratch and gnaw marks spotted on wooden doors and frames. The house needed extensive exterior and interior treatment to rid the rat of the property once and for all. 

Initial Measures Taken 

Before taking any course of action, the technician carefully discussed the initial removal stage with the homeowner in detail. This ensures transparency throughout the process. This goes for any significant modification to the interior or exterior of the house where certain parts need to be removed to proceed with the removal process. After assessing the situation area by area, room by room, the technician proceeded with the following measures to yield maximum efficiency.

The technician proceeded to place up to 8 one-way doors over the entry points. A one-way door is a tunnel-like contraption through which rats exit the interior of the property. Once they pass through, they are locked out and cannot go back in, forcing the rats to vacate the area. 

The technician then placed 2 exterior bait stations at the front and side of the house. Exterior bait stations are special tamper-proof containers loaded with bait blocks. The bait blocks are laced with rodenticide, which is irresistible to rats and only adds to the deadly combination. Once eaten, the rats perish. The exterior bait stations are designed in a way that children and pets cannot access the bait blocks in any way. The exterior bait stations can only be unlocked with a special key.

The technician also opted to strategically place 11 interior snap traps based on the findings of the exterior inspection. Snap traps are highly efficient traps that will kill the rats on the spot once the trap gets triggered. 

From the outsider’s perspective, the number of traps and bait stations may seem ineffective, but those with experience know how much damage they can do to an entire rat colony. Not only do the rats who eat the poison die, but it will trickle down and will affect the entire hierarchy of the colony. Rats are opportunistic scavengers and will even devour their own when given a chance, so it will poison the rats that eat other rats as well.  

As a company, we deeply believe in the tenets of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) or Integrated Pest Control (IPC) which simply means that we care about sustainable practices that have a minimum impact on the surroundings as well as people. This may look like a simple principle, but it heavily influences how we go about treating cases. It has been proven countless times that quality wins over quantity. This is why we strategically place the traps and bait stations in areas that will give them a significant blow permanently. 

Vegetation was also taken care of. A plot of wild strawberries was removed to control the rat presence. Rats, along with other rodents such as the mouse are very fond of all types of fruit. When fruits such as strawberries are found in such proximity, it will push the rat into exploring other spaces inside the house for more to eat. 

Exclusion 

One of our Guelph technicians later came back for a second visit and checked up on the process and progress. Rats indeed perished. As suspected, there was a heavy rat presence. Big portions of the bait block were eaten by the rats. The technician carefully again inspected the exterior of the property for any rat presence. The one-way door that was previously installed was removed after confirming that there was no rat presence anymore. The One-Way Door was then removed and sealed using impenetrable galvanized steel mesh. This material can withstand any attacks whether it’s biting, gnawing, scratching, and squeezing through. It stops any type of wildlife right in its tracks. Attempts exhaust the animal till it gives up and leaves. A shrew was seen by the technician that tried to squeeze through but failed. The galvanized steel mesh also defends against squirrels, skunks, and mice. 

 

Wall vent covers were also used to cover up exposed all vents. These wall vent covers are securely and tightly fastened with washers and bolts that go directly into the mortar wall. The vent covers are made from the same reliable material as the galvanized steel mesh covers used for the one-way door. During the last visit, a 5-foot foundation gap was discovered at the base of the house. This was also sealed with galvanized steel mesh. 

Several windows and a door were missing sealants. This allows small insects or even animals to squeeze through and invade the house. Caulking was applied to create a seal between the exterior and the interior of the home. Not only does the caulking fend against the animals but is economically a wise option as cool drafts can decrease the temperature inside increasing heating costs.

 Around the same windows and doors that were found without sealant, insect spray was used as well to make sure they would stay away. This created a barrier between the exterior and the interior of the home.

Conclusion

As invasive as the whole process was, the technician succeeded to rid the rats from the property. The homeowner was contacted for a follow-up and no more rats were detected. This case highlights how vulnerable houses are to wildlife and how secondary factors like vegetation and clutter can exacerbate the situation beyond control. Rats are heavily attracted to oil and grease which must have been present in between all the clutter. 

It must be remembered that Ontario is bustling with wildlife and teeming with insects waiting to grab every opportunity to find shelter, food, and water inside of our homes. With that said, homeowners must take all the necessary precautions to avoid a situation like this and hire professional wildlife professionals to conduct a precautionary exterior inspection before it spirals out of control. If you too are experiencing similar issues in Guelph please call The Exterminators Inc in Guelph for assistance.

The hard work of one of our technicians did not go unnoticed as the homeowner was very pleased with all the hard work done!

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