How do I recognize a rat?

The Norway Rat — also known as the brown, house, barn, sewer or wharf rat —is dull brown in colour and measures (from nose to tail) from 325 mm to 450 mm (12 1/2″ to 17″), with small, close-set ears, blunt muzzles and very sharp teeth. The Norway Rat is common throughout North America, with the exception of Alberta. Canada (where large-scale treatment programs have kept the Norway Rat under control). Another common species of rat is the smaller, grey-coloured Roof Rat, which is found principally in coastal areas.

Do rats cause damage?

World wide, rats are the most destructive pests known to man. Rats are a known source of numerous diseases affecting man and his domesticated animals. Rats contaminate food and cause extensive damage to buildings and equipment in houses, granaries, restaurants and bakeries —anywhere food is handled or stored. Rats will gnaw through wood and enlarge masonry openings to gain entrance into buildings. In the construction of their nests, rats destroy fabrics and other dry goods and can cause fires by chewing through insulation on electrical wires.

Are rats hazardous to humans?

Yes. Rats are a serious hazard to public health. Aside from contaminating food with their droppings and urine, fleas from rats were responsible for spreading the bubonic plague. Today, such diseases as salmonella bacteria (food poisoning), leptospira (jaundice) and typhus arc commonly spread by rats. Because of their unsanitary habits, secondary infections from rat bites can be serious and sometimes fatal. An infestation of rats must not be tolerated.

When are rats most common?

Rats are year-round pests. Under certain conditions, rats can survive outdoors during the winter, however activity and indoor migration increases as weather gets cooler and outdoor food and water sources decrease.

When am I most likely to see rats?

Rats are most active during the evening and remain so until the middle of the night. If food and water are scarce, or in the case of large infestations, rats become active during day light hours.

Where do rats build nests?

Rats nest in any safe location near food and water. Outdoors, rats burrow into the ground.

Indoors, nesting occurs in double walls, between ceilings and floors, closed-in areas around counters and any area where rubbish is allowed to accumulate.

What are their breeding habits? Do rats multiply quickly?

The average lifespan of a rat is 18 months. Young are born about 22 days after mating and mature rapidly. A single female may have us many as six litters per year, averaging from six to 14 young each. By three months the young are independent and capable of reproduction. If not controlled, an infestation of rats will increase rapidly.

How can I tell if I have an infestation of rats?

Rat droppings near available food sources is the most common indication of an infestation. Evidence of gnawing, rub marks, tracks, burrows, nests and damage to stored products are indications of the extent of an infestation.

What can I do to prevent an infestation of rats?

Rats will invade almost any home or business, however it is the presence of unsanitary conditions that encourages their activity. All goods must be stored in properly sealed jars or tins and waste should be prevented from accumulating, or kept in containers with tight-fitting lids. Seal all openings to the outside, including wood around doors and windows; repair masonry and seal openings for utility lines, conduits and drains.

If I have an infestation of rats, what can I do to eliminate them?

Your local PCO Service and Products Center has products developed for the control of pests such as rats. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a single control measure may not be effective and an integrated program, conducted by a PCO professional, will be required.

Please remember all pesticides can be harmful if misused. Follow the label directions carefully.