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How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Rats?

How Do Exterminators Get Rid Of Rats?

A rat infestation is dangerous, as rats carry diseases that can affect your pet(s) and family members.

The safest bet is to hire exterminators to eliminate the rats disturbing your property.

But what do these pest control experts do differently to get rid of rats so efficiently?

We will answer this question and more in the next few headings.


An exterminator understands the different rat species, their diet, and their weak point. This knowledge helps them combine the best rat removal methods to end an infestation problem.

Typical rat extermination involves the following stages:

  • Initial inspection
  • Exclusion
  • Elimination
  • Follow up

These four steps are what exterminators adopt when handling rat infestations. Keep reading the guide to learn what each entails!

In the following sections, we will discuss the steps involved in typical rat extermination.

But before we go into all that, let’s briefly make some notes about who professional rat exterminators are. Here we go!

Who Is an Exterminator?

Who Is An Exterminator?

Simply put, an exterminator is a pest nemesis.

When these pesky crawling invaders sight their tools, they run for cover. But hardly can they hide from an exterminator’s thoroughness.

In this case, an exterminator understands the different rat species, their diets, and their weak points.

They also have treatment plans for each home they visit. These treatment plans combine other rat removal methods that we will consider next.

4 Steps Exterminators Take To Eliminate Rats

Steps Exterminators Take To Eliminate Rats

Different pest control companies have their standard operating procedures. But on average, these are the basic steps exterminators follow when conducting a rat extermination:

Step 1: Initial Inspection

Step 1: Initial Inspection

Before an exterminator starts work on an infested property, they first visit for an inspection. This Inspection is the first of many through the course of the treatment.

Through this inspection, the exterminator can assess the extent of the damage and how far gone the Infestation is. This is when they establish whether you have a rat or mouse problem.

You may think these pests are the same, but that is not true. Rats and mice have different behavior patterns and will require specific elimination techniques and tools.

After confirming that rats are on your property, the next step is identifying their hiding spots. Exterminators use technical tools like UV trackers and UV lights to highlight rat urine and other tell-tale signs.

If the rats prove too elusive, the exterminator may use tracking dust as a last resort. When rats step on the powder, they leave marks that glow under UV lights, making it easier to follow.

However, with this method, the exterminator must leave for some days and return for another inspection. During the second inspection, they can better understand the rat activity in your house, following the powder marks.

When put together, these procedures affect the overall bill. Forbes magazine conducted a recent analysis and estimated that minor infestation costs around $200. But When the rats are many or hidden in inaccessible areas, the price can skyrocket to $1,200 or more.

Step 2: Exclusion

Step 2: Exclusion

After an inspection and identifying rat activity, the next step is to exclude them from your property. Killing or chasing rats away is pointless if they can easily find their way back.

A typical rat exclusion involves boarding their access point to prevent them from entering your house. Exterminators identify holes and other openings and cover them with mesh, foam, and other sealants.

Some areas where exterminators pay close attention are vents, cabinets, closets, broken windows, and building cracks. Other access points are holes in doors, ceilings, and drainages.

Food sources are another way for rats to find their way into a house. So, exterminators identify and remove all potential food sources during the exclusion process.

These include open trash cans, rotten food, and improperly stored food. Sanitation procedures then follow, like trimming bushes and removing wood piles around the house.

Step 3: Elimination

Step 3: Elimination

After completing the steps above, the next thing is to face the existing rats on the property. Here, exterminators will adopt different methods depending on the situation’s seriousness.

Baits and traps are the most common but are not fast-acting. Rats are naturally cautious; getting them using a trap will take a while. But with time and patience, this method can work.

Ultrasonic technology is another way that exterminators use to eliminate rats. This is a safer and less cruel option that does not kill the rats. Instead, it drives them away with intense sound waves to reduce their population on your property.

However, ultrasonic technology alone cannot completely rid your house of rats. The experts typically combine it with other procedures.

Other elimination techniques include rodenticides, tracking powder, and fumigation. Exterminators are better positioned to handle rodenticides due to their chemical content. They often adopt this technique when others fail because of its harsh effects.

Rodenticides are lethal to the targeted animals, poisoning them to death after consumption.

Tracking powder is a typical example of these lethal rodenticides. It sticks to rats’ paws and other body parts, like fur. As the rats’ groom, they ingest the powder, which releases toxic gas into their system, killing them within days.

If everything else fails, exterminators will then opt for fumigation. The process involves sealing off the property and releasing a fumigant into it.

This results in an almost-instant elimination of existing pests. Although expensive, this option guarantees the most success.

Step 4: Follow Up

Step 4: Follow Up

Rat extermination can take a while, even days, regardless of the methods chosen. However, the task is not complete without post-elimination visits. Exterminators will typically follow up to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly.

Once satisfied that there are no longer any rats to worry about, the exterminators will activate a clean-up. There must be cross ventilation to allow fresh air into the property.

Another thing to consider is that dead rats may litter the property after extermination, and touching them with bare hands is not advisable.

Exterminators have the right gear to move the dead rats and often include these clean-up procedures in their charges.

So, discuss with them and determine the extent of their services.


Once you spot a rat on your property, assume that there are more of them. Then, call an exterminator to assess the situation and help.

A typical professional rat extermination would involve four processes – initial inspection, exclusion, elimination, and follow-up. Above, we described what exterminators do in each process.

Any questions? Read our answers to some common inquiries below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Find Rat Exterminators?

The easiest way is through an online search for exterminators in your area. Alternatively, you can reach out to family and friends for recommendations.

When Is the Time To Call Exterminators?

After trying your self-help method and they don’t work, call a professional. You can also call experts when you don’t want to deal with the situation yourself.

What Diseases Can Rats Infect Humans With?

Rats transmit diseases like hantavirus, salmonella, tularemia, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and more.

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