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Atlanta Rat Removal and Control

Two rats trapped alive at a home in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Two rats trapped alive at a home in Sandy Springs, Georgia

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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New Video: Finding an Open Pipe at a Decatur, Georgia Rat Removal Job
by Webmaster
Apr 14, 2021 09:53:57 am.

We're starting a roof rat-proofing job in the attic of a house in Powder Springs, Georgia this morning. We'll set traps to catch and remove the rats from the attic, and animal-proof the roof to prevent future critter problems.
by Webmaster
Apr 12, 2021 10:11:23 am.

Here's Why this Peachtree City, Georgia Home Needs Roof Rats Removed from the Attic
by Webmaster
Apr 12, 2021 10:08:06 am.

A Case of Human-Assisted Norway Rat Entry into a Riverdale, Georgia Home
by Webmaster
Apr 12, 2021 10:00:30 am.

A rat-removal crew from our Metro Atlanta office is repairing gaps in a brick foundation and replacing a rat-damaged clothes dryer vent at a house in Kennesaw, Georgia. The rats have already been trapped and removed from the house.
by Webmaster
Apr 09, 2021 09:45:19 am.

Chris found evidence of a longstanding roof rat problem in the attic of a house in Atlanta. The house has been vacant for a while, and the rat infestation is severe. We're sending a crew to remove the rats and clean up after them.
by Webmaster
Apr 08, 2021 10:45:39 am.

One of our Metro Atlanta rat-removal crews is on their way to trap and remove Norway rats from the crawl space of a house in Johns Creek, Georgia, and rodent-proof the foundation to prevent future infestations.
by Webmaster
Apr 08, 2021 10:39:19 am.

A rat-removal crew from our Metro Atlanta office is trapping and removing Norway rats from a house in Wast Point, Georgia. They're also non-chemically rat-proofing the house to prevent future infestations.
by Webmaster
Apr 07, 2021 10:49:52 am.

We have a Metro Atlanta rat-control team non-chemically rat-proofing a house in Marietta, Georgia. The rats gnawed right through the vinyl siding to get into the house.
by Webmaster
Apr 06, 2021 10:34:04 am.

The Roof Rats were Having a Party in the Attic of a Douglaville, Georgia Home
by Webmaster
Apr 06, 2021 10:21:36 am.

A technician skilled in masonry work is sealing gaps in the brick walls of a house in Atlanta to keep Norway rats out of the house. We treat rat problems non-chemically using only trapping and exclusion.
by Webmaster
Apr 05, 2021 10:28:47 am.

Another Human-Assisted Norway Rat Problem at a House in Dallas, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 31, 2021 11:04:05 am.

One of our technicians is heading out to remove a trapped gray squirrel from the roof of a house in Johns Creek, Georgia. The squirrel was caught early this morning and will be relocated to the forest, away from homes or buildings.
by Webmaster
Mar 30, 2021 10:10:23 am.

One of our Metro Atlanta roof rat removal crews is rat-proofing the attic of a house in Fayetteville, Georgia. They'll non-chemically catch and remove the rats from the house, and seal the roof up to prevent future rodent problems.
by Webmaster
Mar 26, 2021 09:54:42 am.

Another Case of Human-Assisted Rat Entry into a House in Johns Creek, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 25, 2021 10:10:49 am.

Old-School Norway Rats Burrowed their Way into this House in Stone Mountain, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 23, 2021 10:29:13 am.

Hope everyone stays safe from the storms. Listen out for animals, they might be taking shelter too!
by Amber A.
Mar 17, 2021 05:45:47 pm.

This Newnan, Georgia Home Needs Roof Rats Excluded from the Attic
by Webmaster
Mar 16, 2021 11:13:11 am.

Today is a wonderful day to call Ridacritter for all of your nuisance animal exclusion needs! We cover rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and more!
by Jake A.
Mar 12, 2021 02:54:13 pm.

We have technicians sealing the gap between the frieze board and the stone wall of a house in Peachtree Corners, Georgia to keep roof rats out of the attic. Stone houses are challenging to rat-proof because of the irregular surface.
by Webmaster
Mar 12, 2021 10:38:55 am.

A Norway Rat Gnawed Through this Foundation Vent in East Point, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 12, 2021 10:35:50 am.

We have a crew doing non-chemical Norway rat removal and exclusion at a house in Johns Creek, Georgia. Trapping and removing rats, and then sealing them out of the house, is the safest and most permanent method of rat control.
by Webmaster
Mar 11, 2021 10:29:02 am.

News Flash: Rat-Loving Cable Guy Strikes in Marietta!
by Webmaster
Mar 11, 2021 10:25:32 am.

Warm weather brought out calls for several animals today! From Snakes, to squirrels, mice and bees!!
by Amber A.
Mar 10, 2021 07:41:48 pm.

Our inspector found Norway rat droppings and other evidence of a rat infestation in the crawl space of a house in Atlanta. We're sending a crew to trap and remove the rats and seal them out of the house.
by Webmaster
Mar 10, 2021 10:23:23 am.

Our technicians are busy rat-proofing the roof of a house in Atlanta to keep roof rats out of the attic.
by Webmaster
Mar 10, 2021 10:20:53 am.

Old-School Norway Rats Chewed their Way into the Garage of a Covington, Georgia Home
by Webmaster
Mar 10, 2021 10:17:57 am.

We're doing a rat-removal and exclusion job at a brick house in Smyrna, Georgia. The rats got into the house through an improperly-installed clothes dryer vent that fell off the wall.
by Webmaster
Mar 09, 2021 10:20:20 am.

Here's Why this House in Johns Creek, Georgia Needs Roof Rat Removal
by Webmaster
Mar 08, 2021 09:37:38 am.

Today We'll be Repairing this Norway Rat Damage to a House in Marietta, Georgia
by Webmaster
Mar 08, 2021 09:29:44 am.

Our technicians are rat-proofing the roof of a house in Atlanta today. There are numerous construction gaps in the roof that we'll be sealing up. They'll also be non-chemically trapping and removing the existing rats.
by Webmaster
Mar 04, 2021 10:28:15 am.

Our technicians are repairing roof rat damage to the heating ducts in the attic of a house in Atlanta. They're also non-chemically treating the rat infestation, and animal-proofing the house to prevent future problems.
by Webmaster
Mar 04, 2021 10:25:47 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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