Norway rats commonly infest homes and buildings in all areas of Maine, and they can be found indoors throughout the year. Norway rats have adapted to thrive alongside humans within structures where they sometimes prefer to live indefinitely due to an abundance of available food sources, a lack of natural predators, and protection from adverse climatic conditions. Rats damage a variety of valued materials and items within and outside of infested homes, including wood-siding, plaster, plastic, insulation, upholstery, cultivated vegetation, and packaged foods. Rat infestations are often first noticed by the presence of their fecal pellets, odor, or footprints within a home, and they will eat just about anything that they encounter. For example, one study found more than 400 identifiable items within the stomach contents of one Norway rat.

Rats often invade pantries and kitchen cupboards where they destroy packages in order to access food. All damaged food items found within homes should be discarded, as rats leave behind disease-causing excrement within the food packages that they infest. While rats are not generally picky about what they eat, they can be suspicious of unrecognizable food items that suddenly appear along their indoor foraging roots, such as bait. After becoming used to the presence of bait, however, rats generally consume the poison food source, and die as a result. It is also important to note that, unlike mice, rats are known for hoarding food items within their nesting sites, and these food items include bait. Rats do not immediately consume the food items that they gather within their nest, which is why bait may disappear from homes while infestations remain active. Unsurprisingly, during inspections, pest control professionals sometimes encounter several bait stations within indoor rat harborages. In order to prevent rats from making off with bait, bait blocks should be used since they adhere securely to the ground.

Have you ever used bait blocks to eliminate rats from your home?