Do They Cause Damage?
Norway rats are a significant pest of stored grains and other foods causing millions of dollars in damage annually. They are also implicated in the transmission of multiple disease organisms including: plague, typhus, leptospirosis, salmonella, trichinosis, rat bite fever and others.
Do I Have An Infestation?
Usually the first indication of a problem is sightings of live rats or their droppings, which are about the size of a raisin. Burrows, gnaw marks, or grease stains can indicate a potential problem. Look for damage to food products or bird and grass seed in the garage. For those who feed birds, finding burrows in the area of the feeder is a good indication there may be a problem.
What Can Masters Touch Do?
Control of rats requires a careful inspection to determine why there is a rat problem including the source, foods being utilized, movements and entry points. Once these can be identified, a strategy to eliminate the rats can be developed. Reducing harborages outside by reducing weeds and tall grasses near the building, removing debris piles, eliminating food sources will help make the structure less attractive. Baits, traps and burrow treatments will eliminate the current population.
How Can You Help?
Preventing rat problems includes modifying habitat around the structure to make it less attractive to them. Reducing harborages and food sources is especially important as well as inspecting plumbing systems for open or broken pipes. In some settings, mostly commercial and industrial, a constant presence of rodent bait stations in maintained. Rodent proofing (sealing entry points) is also critical as rats follow the same pathways as other rats before them.
Norway rats are nocturnal and cautious. They are capable of learning from their experiences and avoiding those which are unpleasant or dangerous which can quickly result in bait or trap shyness. They prefer to burrow into the ground especially under debris and concrete slabs. They are social animals and an area will often have multiple burrows. Large populations can exist in storm and sanitary sewers and it is possible for them to enter structures through broken or improperly capped drain lines. In residential settings, feeding animals and wildlife outdoors can provide a significant food source for rats.
Litters contain an average of 7-8 young which are capable of breeding in 2-5 months. The average lifespan of a wild rat is about 1 year. Other names for the Norway rat include brown, sewer and wharf rat.