Controlling a rat infestation may be more difficult than you think for several reasons. After all, the entire evolutionary path of this species was tied to our own for thousands of years. In other words, as we’ve adapted to new living conditions, so have the rats. Let’s take a look at what evolutionary edge rats have that allows them to evade control efforts.
They are neophobic
Rats have a trait known as neophobia, which means fear of anything new. This fear is very useful in the wild, where a slight change in the environment could indicate a camouflaged or hidden predator. As it turns out, this trait is also useful inside the home, because it makes rats avoid traps and poisons. This means that you will have to wait until the rats get used to the control devices that you placed in your home.
They avoid anything that kills another rat
Rats are smart enough to not only avoid an area in which a rat died, but to also avoid the object or piece of food that killed that rat. So if one rat sees another die in a snap trap, it will probably not go for any food that you lay in that trap. Similarly, if a rat sees another rat die after eating a poisoned bait, it will tend to avoid the food that you used for bait.
They can be picky when it comes to taking advantage of a new food source
Rats will more often choose safety over food quality, so unless you provide them a strong incentive, they will go for the food they know. So for example, if you use cheese as a bait, a food that rats are ambivalent towards, they will keep going for the cereals in the pantry. However, if you use peanut butter as a bait, a rat favorite, they are more likely to go for it.
In most situations, DIY control efforts will lead to this kind of problems, which is why you want to hire a pest control pro to deal with a rat infestation. A pro will have the expertise and the tools needed to remove a rat infestation right away, which removes the need for subsequent control efforts and the odds of reinfestation.
For more information on how to deal with a stubborn rat infestation, or if you have an infestation that needs to be removed professionally, contact us today.