Rats aren't only a nuisance. They carry diseases that can harm humans. The best way to control rats is to deal with them as soon as you notice a problem. You can identify a rat's presence in your home by a strong urine stench that issues from its nest. There are several methods of ridding yourself of these pests.
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The first line of defense is an old-fashioned, wooden rat trap. They are inexpensive and available at most hardware and grocery stores. Make sure to purchase the larger trap; the smaller ones are made to catch mice. Fill the trap with a substance such as peanut butter. This will be a bit more difficult to remove than a piece of cheese. If you use cheese, use something such as cream cheese because it's pasty and will stick to the bait portion of the trap. Place the trap along the wall where the rat is traveling or in the area where you think it's staying. More than likely, when you turn out the lights the rat will go for the bait. Rats are smart though, so don't be surprised if it takes several tries to trap it.
If the trap isn't working, try another method. Sheets of sticky paper, which you can find at a hardware store, are designed to attract rats and trap them on the sheets' sticky surface. As the rat struggles to get free, it will wrap itself into the paper. Pick the rat and sticky paper up and discard it. Depending on how long the rat's been stuck, you might find it dead or alive.
If all other options haven't worked, try rat poison. Be extremely cautious when using rat poison if you have children or pets in the home. Rat poison comes boxed or bagged; place the poison where you've seen rat activity. The poison begins to work when the rat takes a drink. The poison then moves throughout the rat's system and it will slowly die. The problem with using rat poison is the rat might crawl off and die within a wall where you won't be able to get it. The dead rat's odor can permeate a house.
The best way to control rats in your home is to stop them from entering. Seal all the areas of your home where openings might allow rats to enter. Make sure all the doors, windows and walls are sealed. If you do find a problem area where rats might be getting in, fix it.