Rats have been an increasing problem within homes throughout much of Maine during the past few years, and many residents are desperate to keep the foul pests out of their homes. Rats are the ultimate pests, as they nest within obscure indoor areas where they eat and contaminate human foods. These indoor hiding places include wall voids, tight attic spaces, beneath floorboards, and many other inaccessible areas within homes. Rats also cause damage to homes and other structures, like garages, decks, patios, terraces, sheds and barns, not to mention electrical wiring, landscaping ornaments, flower beds and even vehicles. Perhaps worst of all, rats carry numerous pathogenic organisms that can easily be passed to humans. This should not be surprising considering that rats are in the habit of congregating in sewer systems. In fact, Maine’s most common rat species, the Norway rat, is often referred to as the “sewer rat.” According to the Government of Maine’s integrated pest control website, rats can even travel into homes through sewer systems.

Rats are abundant within sewer systems, especially during the winter when the sewer environment provides a warm refuge for the disgusting critters. Considering Maine’s relatively long winters and cool-to-cold fall months, rats spend much of the year in sewer systems. Disturbingly, sewers also provide rats with an abundance of food sources, allowing the pests to proliferate to enormous proportions. In rare circumstances, certain areas of sewers can become overcrowded with rats, which results in occasional mass migrations into urban and residential areas where the pests immediately seek shelter within human dwellings. Heavy rainfall and flash floods also results in mass migrations of this sort, and sewer-dwelling rats often break through sewer walls that have degraded with age, allowing the pests to gain entrance into homes directly from their usual septic habitat. Amazingly, rats can tunnel through as much as 8 feet of earth in order to travel from sewers into homes via pipeline routes.

Have you ever suspected that your past rat pest issues may have seen the pests access your home from their usual sewer habitat?