Hi my name is Brendan Mangnitz, I have been in the Nuisance Wildlife Removal industry now for nearly 6 years since I graduated from College at UF with a background in Entomology and Wildlife Biology. I have seen and controlled just about any wildlife issue you may think of. I have dealt with rats in apartments complex, rat removal from your everyday household, rats in the attic, rats digging up yards, rats in pools, rats stuck in chimneys, and the list goes on and on. I have used several different control and removal methods for rats and that’s what I want to share with you guys on our website here at http://animalcontrol-experts.com.
The first topic to address is: Why are we having this problem with rodents at our home or in our attic? Well the answer is actually a lot simpler than you would think. It was the rodents land first, they were here before we were. Rodents are wild animals, they are used to living around trees, forests, bushes, shrubs etc. But as we have populated and continued to grow we have moved into their setting. We have taken away the rodent’s natural setting and replaced it with homes, HOA’s, apartment complexes, malls, just regular growth and construction. Well by doing this we have created a hand full of OPTIMAL settings for rodents and nuisance wildlife. As humans we create garbage, mess, waste, and all of this creates additional food for rodents. So now you take their natural setting of a forest, replace it with homes, and then add food. Well what do you think the rodents are going to do? THRIVE! And that is what they’re doing we are providing the rodents with an abundant amount of food, our trash, and we are desensitizing them, meaning they no longer have to hunt and be resourceful to eat and stay alive, but just the opposite. All they have to do is knock over our trash cans and buffet!
Now let’s talk about why the rodents are getting into your attic. It’s simple, the attic is a PERFECT place for the rodentsto create a shelter. It’s hot, it’s nice and comfy with the insulation, there are no outside elements like rain or wind, so they are protected, and best of all, there are no predators or enemies. If I was a rodent I would rather live in an attic than a tree! So you take the perfect conditions of your attic as a shelter, then you add your trash cans right on the outside of the home, and you just gave the rodent all the things that they want to live. Why would they ever want to leave your residence? Free rent, free buffet, cozy bed, and that’s why you have rodents in your attic or rummaging around your lawn and home.
10 Simple Steps for Effective Rodent Removal & Control
The first step is to Identify that you do actually have a problem. Are you seeing a lot of rat poop in the garage? Are you hearing light noises in the attic? Are your trash can being torn up or ripped open every night and trash being taken out of the cans? Well if you have these signs of a rodent infestation then keep reading. What I normally like to do and tell my customers is when they suspect that they are dealing with a nuisance rodent is document it. So make sure it is a rodent, since all animal removal methods are different.
Check the property and lawn: Feces: Are you seeing rodent poop like this in your yard or in your pool? Are you seeing rodent paw prints on your trash can, on the wall, on the pavement, do you see rodent tracks? Are the rodents digging up the yard? Confirm the activity on the exterior is indeed rodents. The next step that you are going to want to take is to see if they have made it into the attic or not. You will not always hear rodents in the attic. They can be agile, they can be quiet, and rodents in the attic are not always loud. So what you’re going to do is: get into the attic and perform an inspection. Any time you think that you have animals in the attic, especially rodents in the attic, you want to be 100% careful and safe. If you do not feel safe or do not want to take the chance call me, Brendan Mangnitz, and I can talk to you over the phone and even do an inspection for you or send you one of my inspectors to help out. I recommend hiring a rodent removal specialist for safety reasons, but if you do want to do the inspection then continue reading.
Anytime that you enter an attic for rodents there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Rodents are dangerous, they are territorial, they are nasty and have tons of bacteria, so you want to make sure you are prepared. Rodent feces is one of the most bacteria infested feces that we deal with here on a regular basis, so you will want to make sure you wear a respirator like the one on the left. There are a few issues with rodent feces that I will touch on to make sure you are protected, get it removed, and the attic and your home is contamination free.
Wildlife are known to carry many different zoonotic diseases, meaning they can be transmitted to humans. We will discuss each of those in detail. We are not intending to scare you by discussing the diseases associated with rodents, but feel you should be informed of the health risk to you, your family and pets. The following is a list of some of the zoonotic diseases that you and your pets could be exposed to from wildlife in your attic.
Leptospirosis: The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Many different kinds of wild and domestic animals carry the bacteria. These can include, but are not limited to cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents, and wild animals.
When these animals are infected, they may have no symptoms of the disease.
Infected animals may continue to excrete the bacteria into the environment continuously or every once in a while for a few months up to several years.
Humans can become infected through: contact with urine (or other body fluids, except saliva) from infected animals or contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
* There have been cases this year in Florida of leptospirosis including at least 2 cases in Orlando.
Canine Distemper: Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects animals in the families Canidae (dogs, wolves, foxes, etc.), Mustelidae (ferrets, weasels, otters, etc.), Mephitidae (skunks), Hyaenidae (Hyenas), Ailuridae (the red panda), Procyonidae (racoons, ringtails, etc.), Pinnipedia (seals, walrus, sea lion, etc.), some Viverridae (racoon-like animals in South Asia) and Felidae (cats) (though not domestic cats; feline distemper or panleukopenia is a different virus exclusive to cats). The disease is highly contagious (via inhalation) and fatal 50% of the time, thus making it the leading cause of infectious disease death in dogs. The virus infects the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, the brain, and spinal cord.
Common symptoms can include:
1) High fever,
2) Watery discharge from the eyes and nose,
3) Vomiting and diarrhea,
4) Hardening of the footpads and nose,
5) Seizures (of any part of the body, but seizures that look as if the dog is chewing gum are unique to distemper), and
It is most commonly associated with domestic animals such as dogs and ferrets, although it can infect wild animals as well such as rodents. It is a single-stranded RNA virus of the family paramyxovirus, and thus a close relative of measles and rinderpest. Despite extensive vaccinations in many regions, it remains a major disease of dogs. Hantavirus: Infection with hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which can be fatal. People become infected through contact with hantavirus-infected rodents or their urine and droppings. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection. All cases of Hantavirus infection are reported to the CDC.
Histoplasmosis: Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne, often during cleanup or demolition projects. Soil contaminated by bird or bat droppings also can transmit histoplasmosis, so farmers and landscapers are at a higher risk of the disease. In the United States, histoplasmosis most commonly occurs in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. Most people with histoplasmosis never develop symptoms and aren't aware they're infected. But for some people — primarily infants and those with compromised immune systems — histoplasmosis can be serious. Effective treatments are available for even the most severe forms of histoplasmosis.
Rodent Roundworm: Baylisascaris infection is caused by a roundworm found in rodents. This roundworm can infect people as well as a variety of other animals, including dogs. Human infections are rare, but can be severe if the parasites invade the eye (ocular larva migrans), organs (visceral larva migrans) or the brain (neural larva migrans). Rabies: Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like rodents, skunks, bats, and foxes.
So with all these Diseases and Bacteria MAKE SURE YOU WEAR YOUR RESPIRATOR AND MAKE SURE YOU STAY PROTECTED AND REOMVE ALL THE BACTERIA POOP AND CONTAMINATION FROM YOUR ATTIC.
Next step: Once your lungs are protected, you will want to make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves. I also strongly recommend you take your phone into the attic with you or even a bluetooth speaker and just blare some music. Rodents in the attic will be afraid of all the noise. They will think that there is a party in your attic and will become afraid and want to hide or leave. This is what you want to happen when you do an inspection, if you are doing an inspection of rodents in the attic yourself, you do not want to come into contact with a mother rodent! She may get defensive and you do not want to risk the chance of her attacking you! So blare some music, have a disco in the attic, whatever, just make sure you make a lot of noise to scare the rodents. Once you are certain that the rodent are out of the attic, take out your flashlight and do an inspection. Remember to walk on the beams in your attic, you don’t want to fall through the ceiling like my buddy James did when he was doing an inspection. Walk around the attic and look for the evidence of a rodent infestation. Do you see rodent poop? Do you see urine? Do you see rodent trails? If you do, then you can confirm that you are having an issue with rodents in the attic. If you do not see any of the signs, great, you caught the issue before it became a real big problem. What you are going to want to do is continue to get ready for the steps below on how to trap and remove the rodent from your attic, lawn or property. Then next thing you want to do is close off any of the openings on the home to prevent future rodents from getting in. If you do not have them in the attic, but just on the lawn you still want to close off these openings or access points otherwise it’s only a matter of time until the rodent will want to explore and go into your attic. It’s always a good thing to be proactive and preventative when dealing with rodents. The damage and destruction rodents can cause can get into the thousands of dollars.
Next Step: Removal of the Rodent: Trapping! Trapping is the most successful and humane way to remove rodents. There are deterrents for rodents that you can use, and I will discuss tools to trap rodents, but in all honestly the best way to remove rodents is to trap them. I prefer Havahart rodent traps. You generally want to use lots of traps when dealing with rodents in case there are several in the area. You want to put the traps around the property where you are seeing signs of the rodent infestation. So, put the traps around the garbage, put them around the areas on the lawn where you are seeing the activity. Once you have determined the correct place for the rodent traps you will want to set those traps. Here is a video of me, Brendan Mangnitz, setting a rodent trap at our office.
Next you will want to make sure that you properly bait the trap. There are several different baits you can use. Peanut butter works very well, Slim Jims are good to use also, Marshmallows or jelly works good for trapping rodents, Cheetos work pretty good. Honestly, rats will eat anything.
*Note-Be very careful when setting snap traps. The victor rat traps can be very strong. I have broken my thumb nail on them several times. They are intimidating and strong, but I am telling you they are the best when it comes to rat traps!
*Note- Sometimes rodents are smart enough to steal the bait from the traps by reaching through and grabbing handfuls of bait without setting it off. They will also flip the traps. If you run into this, there are a few tricks you can use to fool them.
Rodent trapping and removal can take some time. I generally give it a total of two weeks trapping from start to finish until I catch all the rodents. Normally rodents travel in pairs or groups, so even if you catch just one rodent I would recommend keeping the rodent traps out there for an extended period of time. BE PATIENT! Give it time and don’t mess with the traps. Let the bait sit there for a few days and try to catch the rodents. Bait will normally stay good for about 72 hours depending on weather conditions, but remember rodents are used to eating trash, so the rodents will not be picky if it smells a little.
Generally give yourself about two weeks for rat trapping. When you're in the attic, set the traps in all of the areas where you're seeing rat feces and urine. These are going to be the areas in the attic and in the insulation that seem like there is trails or if you look in the insulation and you see little holes. This is where the rats are actually burrowing underneath the insulation so take the rat traps and strategically place them right by the entrance of these rat holes that way when the rat comes out at night you're going to catch the rat in the trap. Urine can be very stinky if you go into the attic and it really has a musky odor, chances are that's the smell of rat urine and rat poop, these are also going to be areas in which the rats live. So on top of AC handlers you might see a lot of rat feces and rat urine stains, put rat traps here as well. Like I said before, you want to use about 6 to 12 traps. If your infestation of rats seems very high, then put more traps! Keep the trap's out there for 2 weeks check the traps every 72 hours until an entire week goes by where your not catching anything. You want to confirm that you are not catching anything anymore and you're not hearing anymore noises from the rats in the attic. Then move on to the next steps.
Once it is confirmed that all of the rodents are trapped, and removed, the next step in How to Remove Rodents is going to be the exclusion. An exclusion is where you seal up the home and any of the openings, damage or access points that the rodents or other animals have used to gain access to your attic and home. This is more on the handyman side of things. If you are not good at handyman or construction work you may want to give me a call, Brendan Mangnitz, and I can go to your home with my exclusion crew and take care of the rodent damage for you. If you want to try it, then keep reading and good luck!
You should only use the best materials any time you are dealing with rodents. They are strong and fierce, and very determined. The foam that they sell at the hardware store is 100% GARBAGE. Rodents can chew right though this, this just makes them laugh!
You want to use only steel, metal, and concrete products. Identify all the areas on the home that have gaps or openings. You then want to seal these areas, ensuring that future animals cannot get into the structure. Take your time and do a good job closing off your home from the rodents, take a look at the roof, walk the soffits, and really make sure you get any areas that can be potential access points. Roof returns are common areas that rodents generally use, you will want to close these off using metal and concrete. See the way I closed off this roof return on a home, this is how you do exclusion work to guarantee that you will not have a future issue with rodents!
Final and Last Step! Clean up the mess left behind! No one said this was all fun and trapping games! Rodent removal is hard and dirty work, but it’s got to get done. Now that you have trapped the rodents, gotten them out of the attic, did the animal exclusion and repair work, you are on the final steps to completing the job! The last thing that you want to do is remove all the mess that the rodents left behind in the attic. This is honestly one of the most important parts of rodent removal and my how to guides for removing rodents and getting rid of rodents, but so many times homeowner’s skip this step and have more and more issues in the future.
Why: Feces and urine contaminates, this is all bacteria in the attic. Do you want this over your head at night when you sleep? NO! That is why it must be removed. There is ductwork and airways that lead from the attic into your home. Just look up, you see those vents in your ceiling? Where do you think the ductwork and vents are? Your attic, and what if there is an opening or cut in the ducts from the rodents, well then you’re breathing in all that bacteria that was left in the attic. Remember the harms from the rodent poop I was talking about before? Well that’s in your attic, you want to remove that asap. Breathing in bacteria from a rodent infestation can be fatal and cause many other severe respiratory issues. You will want to wear a full protective suit and make sure you are fully covered and protected. You can uses a shop vac with HEPA filter or use your hand and bags and start removing all the insulation that has been contaminated, also remove all the feces and urine covered areas, these are called latrines (when rodents defecate in one single area). Once ALL the contaminantes from your attic and from the rodents are removed you will want to apply a product such as DSV to all of your attic. You can use a little pump sprayer like this one from your local hardware store and apply all the product to the insulation and attic. Make sure you read the label and use the correct amounts. Here at 247, I, Brendan Mangnitz, use heavy duty equipment like an atomizer, when I am doing any type of attic sanitation. For my customers, I want to make sure that EVERY single section in the attic is fully taken care of and nothing is left behind. If you read this how to article and want to do this yourself just make sure you do a very good job, don’t cut any corners, and be extremely proficient to ensure the safety of your family.
And that is my How to Guide when it comes to rodents in the attic or your property and how to remove them. If you are interested in learning more, read my list of best rat trapping tips. Like I have mentioned my name is Brendan Mangnitz I have being doing pest wildlife and rodent removal now for over 6 years. I have worked and trained 100’s of people of the past years. It takes time, skill, and patience but removing rodents can be very fun, dangerous, but is also something that we deal with on the daily here. Rodents have learned how to thrive and do great in the urban setting. This is not something that is going away. With more and more houses coming up every day, more lad being constructed and developed we will always have issues with rodents in the attic. Just read and learn how to protect yourself you family and your home and you should be good to go. If you have any questions you can email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cell 1-321-236-9031 any time of the day or night 24/7 THANKS!