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Atlanta Rat Removal and Control

Roof rat extermination in Alpharetta, Georgia

Roof rat extermination in Alpharetta, 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 throughout Georgia, roof rats are most often found in attics and roof soffits.

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 grey squirrels; but because roof rats are slimmer animals, they can get into attics 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 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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The dryer vent cover fell out of the wall of a brick house in Atlanta and allowed rats to get into the basement. We're on our way to replace the vent cover and set traps so we can remove the rats from the basement.
by Webmaster
Jul 03, 2020 10:57:28 am.

We're heading out to a house in Marietta, Georgia to remove rats that were trapped in the crawl space last night. We perform residential rat control entirely non-chemically using trapping and removal, not poisons.
by Webmaster
Jul 03, 2020 10:29:13 am.

It was No Surprise How Norway Rats Got into this House in Lithonia, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 02, 2020 11:08:52 am.

Norway Rat Hole into the Crawl Space of a House in Doraville, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jul 02, 2020 10:54:00 am.

Here's a Norway Rat Hole into the Basement of a House in Marietta, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 30, 2020 10:33:49 am.

We have a crew heading out to a house in Atlanta to trap and remove roof rats from the attic. They'll also be rat-proofing the house and replacing the contaminated insulation.
by Webmaster
Jun 29, 2020 10:44:19 am.

A Norway Rat Chewed through a Baseboard inside a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 29, 2020 10:41:45 am.

Huge Rat Entry Gap into the Crawl Space of a House in Clarkston, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 26, 2020 11:36:49 am.

Undeniable Evidence of Rats on a Workbench in the Garage of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 26, 2020 11:27:07 am.

Video of Non Chemical Rat Control in Fairburn, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 26, 2020 11:00:56 am.

Jason's Crew Cleaning Up After Rats at a Seed Laboratory
by Webmaster
Jun 26, 2020 10:54:10 am.

Our Metro Atlanta office has a crew sealing rats out of a house in McDonough, Georgia. The rats gnawed their way in through the wooden porch timbers.
by Webmaster
Jun 25, 2020 11:26:54 am.

Another Failed DIY Attempt to Keep Rats Out if the Basement of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 25, 2020 11:15:33 am.

Very Inviting Norway Rat Hole into a House in Powder Springs, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 25, 2020 11:09:30 am.

This was an Open Invitation for Rats to Get into this House in Tucker, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 24, 2020 10:37:07 am.

This Rotted Crawl Space Door Allowed Rats into a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 24, 2020 10:16:13 am.

Jason and Justin Deodorizing an Attic After Animal Removal
by Webmaster
Jun 24, 2020 10:10:29 am.

This Loose Brick Allowed Rats into a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 23, 2020 10:33:38 am.

This Sloppy Flashing Allowed Roof Rats into the Attic of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 22, 2020 10:37:15 am.

Here's a Norway Rat Foot Bridge into a House in Covington, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2020 06:23:34 am.

Norway Rats got into a Douglasville, Georgia Home Through the Foundation Vent
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2020 06:16:50 am.

This Was How Norway Rats Got into this House in Sandy Springs, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2020 05:44:40 am.

A Gap in the Soffit Allowed Rats into the Attic of a Lithonia, Georgia Home
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2020 05:38:23 am.

Fairly Typical Roof Rat Entry Gap into the Attic of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2020 05:31:39 am.

Evidence of a Failed Breaking and Entering Attempt by a Norway Rat in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 18, 2020 07:28:13 am.

We'll be sending technicians from our Metro Atlanta office out to seal gaps in the soffit to keep roof rats of the attic of a house in Berkeley Lake, Georgia.
by Webmaster
Jun 18, 2020 06:18:41 am.

Here's How Roof Rats Got into a Stone House in Avondale Estates, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 16, 2020 11:08:38 am.

We're heading out to a rat control ob in McDonough, Georgia. The homeowner found rat droppings on top of the furnace and called use to get rid of the rats.
by Webmaster
Jun 16, 2020 10:55:37 am.

Well-Worn Roof Rat Hole into the Attic of a House in Atlanta
by Webmaster
Jun 15, 2020 11:32:04 am.

Here's a Roof Rat Hole into the Attic of a House in Smyrna, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 12, 2020 10:23:40 am.

Gaping Hole in a Brick Wall Allowed Rats into a House in Stone Mountain, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 12, 2020 10:19:14 am.

Typical Roof Rat Hole Chewed into the Attic of a House in Berkeley Lake, Georgia
by Webmaster
Jun 12, 2020 09:49:47 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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