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Atlanta Rat Removal and Control

Heartbreaking rat damage to a classic car

Heartbreaking rat damage to a classic car

There are many species of rats, but the two species that most often become pests in Metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia are the roof rat (Rattus rattus), and the Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). Although both rat species are found in both urban and rural areas throughout Georgia, roof rats are slightly more common in wooded rural areas, and Norway rats are more common in urban areas such as Atlanta and Marietta.

Roof Rats

In nature, roof rats (also known as black rats or tree rats) live in trees and spend most of their time aloft. In Atlanta and other cities throughout Georgia, roof rats are most often found in attics, roof soffits, drop ceilings, mechanical equipment rooms in commercial buildings, church steeples and bell towers, the tops of elevator shafts, and other elevated areas.

Roof rats are smaller and slimmer than Norway rats, have exceptionally good balance, are excellent climbers, and can chew holes through many building materials. Their biology and behavior, as well as the damage they do, are very similar to those of gray squirrels; but because roof rats are slimmer animals, they can get into buildings through smaller openings than squirrels need. They usually get into homes and other buildings from nearby trees, especially if the limbs touch or overhang the house; or by running along aerial wiring that enters the building. They can also climb walls very well if they need to, and can travel inside wall and ceiling voids once they get into a building.

Norway Rats

Norway rats (also known as brown rats, sewer rats, water rats, or wharf rats) are burrowing animals by nature; but they're also happy to live in homes and other human-occupied buildings if given the opportunity. They have powerful teeth and jaws and can gnaw through most building materials. Quite often they'll burrow and gnaw their way into basements, crawl spaces, and gaps under sheds and storage buildings. Once they're inside a building, they can make their way through wall and ceiling voids and may migrate upwards, especially if that's where the food is or if population pressures force them to move. Norway rats are also excellent swimmers and are often found in sewers and around wharves and piers. And yes, rats can swim up into a toilet.

In short, Norway rats usually start at the bottom of a building and work their way up if they have to, and roof rats usually start at the top and work their way down if they have to. But these are just generalizations. Either specie can be found anywhere in a home or building. Once in a while, both species may be infesting different parts of the same building. You won't find Norway rats and roof rats in the same part of a building, however. Despite being close relatives, the two species do not get along at all.

Rats and Human Health

Rats were the first species of wildlife known to spread diseases. Historical evidence suggests that rats have been associated with disease even before biblical times, and practically all epidemiologists believe that rats were a big part of the reason for all of history's great plague epidemics. Specifically, rats are reservoirs for Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague. The fleas that feed on the rats then vector the disease to humans. Rats are also associated with the transmission of leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis, and many other diseases.

The rat's unique place in the history of disease also gave birth to the profession of pest control. The first exterminators were called "rat catchers," and they did their job pretty much the same way Rid-A-Critter does today: by trapping rats and permanently sealing them out of buildings.

Almost any building is vulnerable to rat infestations. They can even get into brick houses. We find those vulnerabilities using time-honored methods like looking for droppings and following rub marks, as well as using high-tech methods such as night-vision cameras. However we find them, we seal up the openings to keep rats out of the home or building.

Why Non-Chemical Rat Control and Exclusion is Better

There are quite a few problems with using chemical rodenticides for rat extermination. When you consider them all, we think you'll agree that Rid-A-Critter's safe, non-chemical approach is the best way to solve structural rat problems. Instead of poisoning rats, we seal rats out of your house and make it rodent-proof without using poisons. Our non-chemical method has many advantages over chemical rat control. Let's talk about some of them.

Rodenticides are poisons. Although this may seem redundant and obvious, the fact is that any poison we put into the environment has the potential to harm non-target animals such as pets, livestock, and wildlife. In the case of rat poisons, this actually is more common than most people realize. Many rodenticides are secondarily toxic, which means that an animal that eats a poisoned rat can be poisoned, as well. So if a hawk or a fox eats a poisoned rat, the hawk or fox may die, too.

A rat hole in the roof of a Marietta home, under the shingles in the corner

Roof rat hole found during a Marietta rat removal job

Most poisoned rats die where they lived. Don't believe that nonsense that poisoned rats "go outside to seek water." Most rodenticides take several days to work, during which the rat begins to feel progressively sicker; and just as is the case with people, when rats start to feel sick, they go home. If the rat's "home" happens to be your home, then that's where they're going to die. And stink.

In fact, we do a lot of work finding and removing dead animals that were killed by the poisons that other rat exterminators left behind. It's not the most pleasant work that we do. Trust me on that. It also would have been entirely unnecessary had the job been done properly -- by trapping and removing the rats, and then sealing up the house -- rather than just tossing some poison around and calling it a day.

Non-chemical rat control is cheaper in the long run. When you pay an exterminator to control your rat problem using rodenticides, you make a friend for life: the exterminator. That's because the poisons exterminators use don't last forever. Rodenticides used inside or outside get eaten by rats and need to be replaced. They also get eaten by insects such as beetles, weevils, and moths. Even wax-encapsulated, "weather-resistant" rodenticides often get infested by insects or rot away because of mold.

As a result, rat control that relies on poisons while neglecting the more important work of rat exclusion requires that the exterminator visit you -- and bill you -- again, and again, and again, to check and refill the bait stations. That starts getting expensive after a while.

Are Rodenticides Ever Needed?

Sometimes they are outdoors; but not inside a building unless it's scheduled to be demolished. Trapping and removal is the right way to do interior rat control.

Exterior use of rodenticides is sometimes used as part of wide-area public health rat abatement programs, and some as commercial food-processing facilities may be required by law or by the sanitation standards of their industries to have rodent bait stations installed around the exterior perimeters of their buildings. Most of the time, however, rat poisons are neither necessary nor desirable. Safe, permanent, non-chemical rat removal and exclusion is always the better way to eliminate rats from a building.

If you need roof rats or Norway rats removed from and sealed out of your Metro Atlanta home or business, please contact us for more information about our non-chemical, exclusion-based rat-control programs.

Rat Control Gallery

Here are some randomly-selected pictures we've taken at the many rat-removal and rat-proofing jobs we've done throughout Metro Atlanta.


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Technicians from our Metro Atlanta office are sealing the gaps around a house in Cartersville, Georgia to keep rats from getting in. Trapping and removing rats makes no sense unless you also make the house rat-proof.
by Webmaster
Jan 22, 2021 10:42:59 am.

In Atlanta today checking up on a seal up for rats. We’ve taken care of the problem in no time!
by Jake A.
Jan 18, 2021 08:28:59 am.

Another Case of Human-Assisted Norway Rat Entry into a Brick House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jan 15, 2021 10:24:26 am.

Found the entry point for the rats at a challenging job in Smyrna. The rats were accessing a sewage line from under the house. Trapped them out and the house is now ready for new insulation!
by Jake A.
Jan 12, 2021 01:50:34 pm.

Another Human-Assisted Rat Infestation at a House in Mableton, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jan 08, 2021 12:06:15 pm.

The weather makes for a slow day, but the calls tell us the rodents are still as busy as ever!
by Amber A.
Jan 07, 2021 05:44:51 pm.

In Atlanta doing a warranty inspection for rats. Found the entry point where the power lines meet the house. The rodents were climbing the lines straight in! Sealed it up in no time.
by Jake A.
Jan 07, 2021 04:01:01 pm.

In Auburn Alabama quoting exclusions for gray squirrels today.
by Jason Arruda
Jan 07, 2021 11:01:30 am.

Lots of squirrel and rat calls today. From Birmingham to Anniston.
by Chris Scott
Jan 07, 2021 09:46:52 am.

Obviously, This Brick House in Atlanta Needs Rat Exclusion
by Webmaster
Jan 06, 2021 10:45:37 am.

Chris found roof rat tracks in the dust in the attic of a house in Atlanta. We're sending a crew to trap and remove the rats, and seal up the gaps in the eaves of the roof to prevent future rat problems in the attic.
by Webmaster
Jan 05, 2021 10:50:18 am.

We have a team rat-proofing a shed on a property in Conyers, Georgia. Norway rats are burrowing under the shed through a gap in the footing. We'll trap and remove the rats, and repair the footing to keep them out.
by Webmaster
Jan 05, 2021 10:42:08 am.

In Alpharetta, Ga this morning providing a clearance letter to a customer so their buyers can rest assured they’re purchasing a Critter Free home. Did I mention our Warranty is 100% transferable??
by Tim McDavid
Jan 05, 2021 09:29:57 am.

Inspected a home that was overrun by rats in the crawlspace. We found several potential entry points where the deck meets the foundation. It was a good day!
by Jake A.
Jan 04, 2021 06:12:29 pm.

Lots of squirrel calls today. It appears gray and flying squirrels are attempting to take over every attic in the Birmingham and surrounding areas.
by Chris Scott
Jan 04, 2021 05:58:27 pm.

New Blog Post: Happy New Year!
by Webmaster
Dec 31, 2020 10:41:11 am.

Example of Roof Rat Trails through the Insulation in the Attic of an Atlanta Home
by Webmaster
Dec 31, 2020 10:25:11 am.

A homeowner in Peachtree City found evidence of Norway rats in the shed behind their house. We have a crew trapping and removing the rats, and rat-proofing both the shed and the house.
by Webmaster
Dec 30, 2020 09:56:44 am.

Technicians from our Metro Atlanta office are animal-proofing the roof of a house in Marietta, Georgia to keep roof rats and other animals out of the attic.
by Webmaster
Dec 29, 2020 11:22:13 am.

Technicians from out Metro Atlanta office are doing a non-chemical mouse-control job in the basement of a house in Jonesboro, Georgia. We never use rodenticides when treating rat problems in homes.
by Webmaster
Dec 29, 2020 11:16:29 am.

We have a crew repairing Norway rat damage at a house in Johns Creek, Georgia. Among other repairs, they'll be replacing the cheap plastic foundation vent covers that the rats chewed through with sturdy metal ones.
by Webmaster
Dec 29, 2020 11:01:27 am.

New Blog Post: Merry Christmas!
by Webmaster
Dec 24, 2020 11:23:46 am.

We have technicians working under a deck sealing gaps in the foundation to keep rats out of a house in Atlanta. We've also set traps to catch and remove the rats that have already gotten into the basement.
by Webmaster
Dec 24, 2020 11:05:59 am.

We have a crew working on a Norway rat control job at a house in Avondale Estates, Georgia. The rats are getting in through a gap through the air-conditioning pipes where they pass through the siding. We'll trap the rats and seal them out.
by Webmaster
Dec 22, 2020 11:00:47 am.

Tomorrow morning we'll be starting a Norway rat-removal job at a house in Dunwoody, Georgia. We'll trap and remove the rats non-chemically, and we'll seal up all the openings in the foundation to prevent future rat infestations.
by Webmaster
Dec 17, 2020 06:51:56 pm.

One of our inspectors found roof rat prints in the dust in the attic of a house in Marietta, Georgia. We'll be sending a crew to non-chemically trap and remove the rats, and seal the roof to prevent future rat infestations.
by Webmaster
Dec 17, 2020 08:58:05 am.

Chris's crew is setting traps to non-chemically catch and remove Norway rats from the crawl space of a house in Atlanta. They'll also be replacing the rotted old crawl space door to prevent future rat infestations.
by Webmaster
Dec 15, 2020 10:49:31 am.

Animal-removal technicians from our Metro Atlanta office are closing up the gaps along the edge of the roof to keep rats out of the attic of a house in Marietta, Georgia. Roof rats can get into attics through gaps as small as an inch.
by Webmaster
Dec 14, 2020 11:23:19 am.

Our Metro Atlanta office has a technician adjusting the limit switches and replacing the weather seal on the garage door of a house in Conyers, Georgia to keep Norway rats out of the house.
by Webmaster
Dec 11, 2020 10:51:15 am.

Technicians from our Metro Atlanta office are sealing gaps and holes in the foundation to keep Norway rats out of a house in Peachtree City, Georgia. We're also setting traps to non-chemically catch and remove rats from the basement.
by Webmaster
Dec 11, 2020 10:23:41 am.

One of our Atlanta rat-removal crews is replacing a water-damaged section of soffit panel as part of a rat-proofing job. Just removing the rats without also repairing the water problem would be irresponsible and ineffective.
by Webmaster
Dec 09, 2020 10:42:36 am.

Today we're doing a non-chemical rat-control job in the attic of a house in Atlanta. We trap and remove the rats that are already in the house, and we seal all the gaps in the roof to keep rats and other animals out of the attic.
by Webmaster
Dec 07, 2020 10:49:18 am.

The Atlanta, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides rat extermination and removal in all of Metro Atlanta including the City of Atlanta and the communities of Berkeley Lake, Buckhead, College Park, Conyers, Decatur, Douglasville, Duluth, Fayetteville, Hull, Johns Creek, Lilburn, Lithonia, Loganville, Mableton, Marietta, McDonough, Newnan, Norcross, Peachtree City, Powder Springs, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Stone Mountain, and Vinings.

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