City Rat, Country Rat: Rat Infestations in Rural Areas

David Bennett David Bennett


We’ve written a lot about city rat infestations, and now it’s time to turn our attention to you good people who live in rural areas in Western and central North America.   We’ve heard a lot about the bubonic plague cases carried by the fleas that rats carry  in rural Arizona, so it makes sense and is essential to your health and safety, and your livestock’s health and safety to have a comprehensive rat control strategy for your homestead.  If you live on a farm or a ranch, you’ve got rats.  You know this—we don’t have to tell you.  There are some major differences on the reasons for infestation in the country rather than the city that makes controlling rats more difficult than in the city.  For starters, in the city, a little effort goes a long way to reducing rat colonies—usually putting trash in a tight fitting can, removing refuse heaps, cleaning up doggy do in the back yard, cleaning up construction sites and plugging holes in the foundations of houses and buildings do wonders in getting rid of our rat adversaries.   You’ll never eradicate them completely of course, but cleaning up and keeping things clean tends to be the standard to do list for our city friends.

 

In the country, on the other hand, it’s an ongoing battle.   For one reason, you’ve got animal feed in the barn—where you store it, and where you feed it.  If you raise pigs, you’ve got corn silos and there’s really not much you can do to keep rats out of those.  You’ve got silage storage bags on the ground that you’ve stuffed full and put tires around to keep it sealed flush to the ground.  You’ve got nice warm hay bales for rats to shelter in and you can’t really put them up someplace where rats can’t get at it.  Your choices are the barn, the barnyard, and covering round bales with tarp.   You’ve got barn cats you have to put out food bowls for.  You’ve got a dog who needs his food bowl out too.  When cats and dogs don’t finish their food, it’s smorgasbord time for the rats. (For the brave ones, anyway—rats can be brazen little animals.  Brazen.  If you want to know how brazen, listen to Patton Oswalt’s “Rat Story” sometime.  Anyway, we don’t have to tell you.  You already know.    So you do what you can, you clean up where you can, and everything is neat and clean, and you’ve still got the rats.   So you go to Farm and Fleet or Tractor Supply and you buy poison pellets, those plastic snap traps or sticky traps, and some of the more militant among you will go and get the biggest, baddest trap you can find (we sell those by the way!   Ours is the baddest of all!)

Sit down and come up with a rat infestation plan that works for your farm, ranch or house.  Like in the city, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  When you are formulating your plan, take into account children that might be around, pets, and livestock that you wouldn’t want to get into any poisons you might lay down.  Think of what combination of rat control options you’d like to pursue—like using ultrasonic repellent in combination with traps, or working on attracting natural predators along with the other two options  (natural predators are good for your farm, garden and ranch too!)  TotalCareLab also advises to cut back overgrown vegetation and dispose of the waste.  Some other tips offered are:

  1. Try to attract natural predators to your farm/ranch/country house.  Set up nesting boxes for owls, and of course getting cats is never a bad idea.  Nesting boxes can be gotten from wildlife centers (and they’re easy to build, you can find hundreds of plans online).
  2. Try ultrasonic repellents. Because with livestock and pets and children around, poisons might not be the best option.
  3. Use traps (like ours!) in your rat infestation plan.
  4. Rats need food and water. Country Life advises that the first thing to do is to cut off their food and water supply. They also advise getting rat terriers, which are effective rat hunters.

Definitely do walk around the house and fill in any cracks or holes you see with steel wool mixed with caulking, and cover ventilation holes with mesh. Keep your yard free of doggy doo, and keep bushes and shrubs trimmed.  Also try planting mint around your house—rats and mice hate the smell of peppermint, and you get to have a tasty plant to make tea out of, or to distill to use in baked treats!

Contact us and we will be glad to help you incorporate our traps into your rat control plan.    Share our Facebook page, website or summary launch video with your colleagues and friends!  Look for the story of how we came to create our Facebook page!  It’s an interesting story, and we think you’ll have fun “liking” us and following our antics!



Tags: Agriculture, Environmental impact, Farming, Flash Blog, Instructional, Pest control method, Public Health, Rural

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