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I Want To Discourage My Rats
updated: Jul 31, 2014, 1:30 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Dear Edhat community,

I have a minor rat or mouse problem that I would like help with. Juvenile rats or mice are partying on my small,2nd floor terra-cotta tile terrace. I never see them, but the evidence is clear. I have a cat who is not interested in the job. I do NOT want to use poison. I have tried traps, though not consistently because they are nasty and haven't been effective. I just want them to go somewhere else in the garden; there is plenty of room for coexistence - they needn't die. Does anyone have any home remedy type rat discouraging recipe they can pass on? I've heard of eucalyptus, orange or peppermint oils, cinnamon, hot pepper, borax and other items being used for various insect and pest deterrents, but what do rats/mice particularly dislike. Anybody have any success stories?

Thank you.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 541118 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:34 PM

How are they getting to your second story terrace? Are there some plants providing them a nice jungle gym you can cut back?


 COMMENT 541120 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:38 PM

Skunks love rats :)


 COMMENT 541121P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:40 PM

I've heard strategically placed moth balls can discourage them from hanging around.


 COMMENT 541123P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:44 PM

Ummmmm. Stop feeding the cat so well?


 COMMENT 541124 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:45 PM

my cat would bring in an occaisional young rat or mouse and let them loose inside the house. I used a live trap to catch them...and then released them well away from the house, like half a mile or more. Mice have a homing instinct. Once, I caught a mouse inside the house and took it outside into the yard to set it free. It jumped out of the cage, across my foot and back inside the house!

Rats.. I tell them to leave and if they don't leave, I will kill it... :0{...not nice I know..rats creep around the edges, the walls of a room so if you have one you set a trap or a live trep right up against the wall. I had a rat nest inside the back of the fridge! That one I managed to catch with a live trap and set it free. Santa Barbara, especially down town, has millions of rodents...


 COMMENT 541137 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 02:09 PM

Dr. Bromer's pure castille peppermint oil soap ~1/4 cup at health food store, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, half-gallon distilled water--we spray deck monthly or so--vast reduction in mice--we live in los padres forest so we have critters galore


 COMMENT 541152 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 03:06 PM

Jack Russell Terrier.


 COMMENT 541159 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 03:21 PM

Fire the cat he's useless. About that co-exist thing: it may sound good to humans but rats have no interest in nicey-nice slogans. They don't care about the law either or the building codes. They have routines and territory, watering holes and prey, food sources and predators. A cat knows about all of this without a college degree. Well most cats. Try eliminating the food sources, and hire a new cat.


 COMMENT 541166 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 03:45 PM

try to see how they're getting there. prune any tree limbs that may be acting as a highway.

inside, using "bounce" type dryer sheets discourages them. They hate the smell of them and stay away.


 COMMENT 541169 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 03:51 PM

Moth Balls are the best deterrent scattered around. Not such a nice smell but don't last long. Gets rid of possums and raccoons under the house as well.


 COMMENT 541171P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 03:55 PM

137: Your recipe is great. I bet it works.

The main thing is to not lure any rodents by having pet food outside. Keep the inside food, yours and pets', in glass/ceramic/metal containers, if not in your cupboards/fridge. Rats go where the food is.

I used incense, when wood rats got into one of my walls. Rats have notoriously sensitive noses. They HATED the incense. You can always try that, if you're sure you won't be tormenting your neighbors. It sounds a bit crazy, but it has worked for me a few times now.

THANK YOU for not using poison or those godawful snaptraps. If you use a live trap, make sure the grid of wires has a gap of 1" or less. I had a bad experience, when a rat tried to squeeze out of a live trap. Olive oil on the rat's neck did the trick, and the rat was released. It may have struggled for hours, with its head and neck stuck like that, though. Nightmarish.

The rats were really hungry this year. We had to keep everything edible off the counters/table at night. The little guys were even nibbling on the lemons!


 COMMENT 541184 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 04:22 PM

Just call that eRATicators guy, 805 451 7287


 COMMENT 541195 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 05:09 PM

Go easy on the incense idea. I used patchouli once...got rid of the rats but then we got overrun by dreadlocked guys playing Phish songs all night.


 COMMENT 541204 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 05:40 PM

Well, that begs the question, how did you then get rid of dreadlocked guys playing Phish songs? And will it work on State Street?


 COMMENT 541213 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 06:10 PM

^^^^Easy - tuned the TV to Fox News!


 COMMENT 541215 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 06:11 PM

Anchored spring traps and a 5 gallon bucket of water. Rats are good at two things: Eating and reproducing. You can shoo 'em away all you want, but that just gives them more time to do the things they do best. If you're growing your own food, they'll be back to hollow out your navel oranges or take out a few chunks of bell pepper. Coexsist? Pshaw. Sometimes, though, you may have to get up in the middle of the night to finish the job that the trap didn't quite finish. Hence, the bucket of water. That part sucks and usually makes me cry.


 COMMENT 541224P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 06:44 PM

Snap traps are surpassed only by glue traps when it comes to barbarity, wretchedness and horror. Unless you're counting steel jaw traps, snares and gill nets.


 COMMENT 541225 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 06:47 PM

The Dr. Bronner's soap mixture works very well. Now only if it would work with the Rev. Al Sharpton the FBI Informant Rat!!!


 COMMENT 541228 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 07:08 PM

Adopt a second cat from the animal shelter. Newcomer may be anxious to please. Rat problem solved.


 COMMENT 541235 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 07:49 PM

A female rat can produce six litters per year. A litter may exceed ten babies but the average is seven per litter. Others have computed that a rat may have more than a million descendents in a year. Feed them babies and watch them grow.


 COMMENT 541239 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 08:17 PM

A good cat will take care of the problem. The trick is getting a good cat. :)

Definitely don't use poison. They'll crawl into the walls to die and stink up the place. Or, worse, they'll die in the open and the neighbor's pet will eat them.


 COMMENT 541248P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 08:33 PM

239: Or worse: you could inadvertently kill any animal that scavenges for meaty foods.

@235: Which is why we all need to let snakes, coyotes, bobcats, weasels, hawks, and owls do their job. Hooray for natural pest control.


 COMMENT 541255P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 09:50 PM

You can't repel rats! These things were castaways on ships that traveled months at sea to reach america. A few moth balls or chamomile tea shavings won't do the trick. And cats can't get them all.

The answer is the Rat Zapper. It is a trap, but a trap made for the 21st century. Put in a few batteries, a little bit of rat chow which they include and once the rat is humanely zapped, a light goes on. You then pick up the trap and dump the rodent out wherever you like. Feed your pet falcon if you like.

Bottom line is the batteries are good for quite a few kills. You never have to remove or see the dead mice or rats and there is no blood- they are electrocuted and instantly immobilized then killed.

Nothing else works as well.

This is the deluxe model- way cheaper than repeat exterminator visits.



 COMMENT 541271 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 07:03 AM

I endorse 541184, The Rat Man with eRATicators is a great humane service.


 COMMENT 541275 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 07:20 AM

Ditto the Rat Zapper, just don't get it wet!


 COMMENT 541277 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 07:31 AM

Metal bands on climbing structures. Home Depot, back left of store. Nails and hammer on the tree.


 COMMENT 541278 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 07:31 AM

A lot of Edhatters have a soft spot for rodents. If they ever spent time in a hospital in a developing country and interacted with folks suffering with rat borne illnesses, many of them would be ready to deploy the Warfarin!

The big difference here is that we have the money to avoid dense living and we can afford good proactive pest control so people and wild rodents interact less and the rodents are less likely to carry infection.

Myself? I kinda like the idea of a young kitty out to prove themselves. This is what we did when we lived in the tropics and within a week, no more rodents in the kitchen, within two months, no more rodents in any of the neighbors' kitchens. Good kitty!


 COMMENT 541283P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 07:53 AM

We got a large funnel, trimmed off bottom, sliced cone to fit around wires leading to second floor. Then we duct taped the funnel and, voila, the rats couldn't get up those wires to the attic.
Same idea as you might see on the lines of an old sailing ship.


 COMMENT 541286 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 07:59 AM

Second (or third) the RatZapper. These REALLY work(unlike the Seen-on-TV crap) Only downside is cleaning them after a dozen kills..Use disposible gloves/liquid cleaner without too much fragrance/do it outside. Its worth the effort however.


 COMMENT 541295 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 08:26 AM

I have rats that pee and poop above my bathroom. I have a tongue and groove wood ceiling and sometimes it smells like a truck stop bathroom because of the rat urine (not mine, I keep the bathroom clean). There is no food source up there, so I don't know what their deal is besides safe refuge. I cut away part of my siding to look in and there are rat turds everywhere. I think I'll try a rat zapper or moth balls. They've gotten out of sticky traps and eaten the food out of snap traps. Usually the ones I catch are the younger naive ones. I hate using the traps but I hate the disgusting smell and urine soaked ceiling even more.


 COMMENT 541296 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 08:26 AM

Same problem here, turned out to be "Bat Poop", not mouse poop!! Weird location, didn't make since thought they were attracted to and eating sisal door mat???--look up at night, but be careful, keep mouth closed, of what might fall.


 SB & TAHOE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 08:30 AM

In general, female cats are better hunters, and plain-old short-haired every-day cats. IN GENERAL. I am sure that in the history of cats there have been several satin pillow types that have also been prolific hunters. But if you're getting a cat purely for rodent eradication, short haired female is the way to go.


 COMMENT 541304 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 08:47 AM

Op, here. I very much appreciate all of the suggestions. I will be picking up some Dr. Bronner's peppermint and giving that recipe a try. Feeding my cat less would cause more trauma than it would be worth, I fear. If it works, I will try to do a follow-up; it may take some time. Cheers all, you are so kind.


 COMMENT 541321 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 09:55 AM

CATS, of course. ASAP has "mousers" that will make super pets, too.


 COMMENT 541332 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 10:35 AM

I've seen people mistake lizard droppings for rat's. You have any lizards up there?


 COMMENT 541350 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 11:31 AM

If you discourage rats, will they become underachievers?


 COMMENT 541354 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 12:02 PM

I've physically seen the rats above my bathroom and have trapped a few. Definitely not lizards or bats.


 HAPPYME agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 12:15 PM

Very successful with wooden snap traps. Place an almond in the trap, can lightly coat with peanut butter or pet food, do not contaminate with human fingers or odors, place away from cats and dogs, wait a day, two, or three, and odds should be in your favor. I work for a local school district and they use the same method.


 COMMENT 541361 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 12:19 PM

soak peanuts in corn oil & caster oil overnight and leave them out for the rats. see ratcontroltips dot com


 COMMENT 541365 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 12:25 PM

Most of what everyone is saying will not work
Peppermint oil, licorice plant, moth balls, ammonia,all those rat repellent techniques are BS. I have tried a few of them with no success. The only real way to get rid of rats is to find out where they are entering your home and seal it off. Mainly check the roof and garage walls. In my case I had to go in the attic and while I was in there I could see light coming through the roof. I sealed it all up then moved to the garage and sealed that up. No more rats. But once you do seal everything off you will have to trap the rats that are now sealed in.


 CORKY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 12:58 PM

If you're not totally adverse to killing, I have found an electric trap easy to use. I don't like killing, but had them in my pantry once, and in some food n the garage, so I draw the line. If you live around any other humans, it doesn't seem fair to relocate them.


 COMMENT 541392 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 01:54 PM

My mom's house had a rat problem. I was able to eradicate all of them (11 total) and I learned quite a bit about getting rid of rats. The house has been rat free over 2 years now.
1. I tried all humane methods first, none worked.
2. Do NOT use the rat zapper. If you are ever around when one gets zapped, it is not quick nor painless. It is a solid 30 seconds, some are left alive and there will be blood...
3. Buy the Tomcat brand rat traps. Easy to use, only had blood with one and you will not see the face. It happens quickly (I witnessed a few occur). Place these against walls where rats tend to run. Continue doing it until you have a week or two of no rats caught.

I will never forget the look on my mom's neighbor's face when he saw two younger women (I was 27, my sister was 18) walk out of the house with a rat trap in each of our hands with rat bodies dangling. He was doubled over laughing...


 COMMENT 541441 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 05:32 PM

Rats are not warm and fuzzy creatures. Rats carry disease and defecate and urinate all over every thing. You need to get rid of them as fast as possible and kill them for the well being of everybody, not just relocate them so someone else has to deal with them. The rat zapper is the most efficient and humane way of doing that. Unfortunately this is going to be a bad year for rats since they want water too. No cat can keep up with a bad infestation. I know. I got 5 in my kitchen one night with the zapper, and my cat got 1 !


 COMMENT 541464 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 08:01 PM

Kill the rats. Their breeding cycle is insane. You will not wipe them out.


 COMMENT 542323 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-05 11:02 AM

Careful where you put the snap traps. I put one under a garage roof overhang once and got a blue jay instead. Felt so bad I never again used them in a place where other animals could access them. Enclosed spaces only.


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