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Eww, rats are everywhere! 

Hello, Friend! 
As much as we might like to close our eyes and pretend otherwise, rats are everywhere: your yard, your garden, maybe even in your home and car. What can we do about this common pest?

How do you know if you have a rat problem? 


Our friends at UC Marin Master Gardeners have an excellent write-up of the tell-tale signs of a rat infestation. And if you have a rat problem, your neighbors probably do too! A coordinated effort will be most successful. Contact YardSmartMarin if you’d like us to present information to your HOA or other neighborhood organization.


Rats can damage your home and pillage the fruits and vegetables from your garden. They can also transmit disease. So it’s a good idea to prevent rat infestations.


What kind of rats live in Marin?


Marin is home to 3 species of rats, each with their own preferred habitat. Identifying your pest is the best first step toward finding a solution.


How can you get rid of rats?


Never use rodenticides! WildCare reports that approximately 80% of raptors and other rodent-consuming wildlife brought into their facility have tested positive for secondary rodenticide poisoning, which causes a slow and agonizingly painful death

Our beloved pets can become victims of secondary rodenticide poisoning as well. People can also be poisoned, with children especially at risk.


Never use glue traps. They are cruel and inhumane, as rats are left to linger slowly until they starve to death. They may gravely injure themselves in a desperate attempt to get free. When checking a glue trap, you will be faced with disposing of a live animal and may risk being bitten. Finally, glue traps can inadvertently trap, injure, and kill other creatures like birds, lizards, squirrels, and pets. 


Snap traps are an environmentally-safe method of killing rats. This video recommends a good rat trap and provides suggestions for how to avoid injuring birds, children, or pets when using traps. Set multiple traps, choose the right bait, and learn the importance of their placement.


Because raptors are such prolific rat eaters, they are great natural rodent control! Encourage owls to live nearby by hosting an owl nesting box on your property.


How can you prevent rat problems?


In your yard:

Here is some great information from the Hungry Owl Project on how you can use light, sound, and scents to deter rats from your yard.

Want to dive deeper into the subject? This hour-long video webinar will equip you with all the information you need to remedy the situation.

Remember not to leave pet food and water outside, especially overnight, as this will attract rats. For other habitat management suggestions, check out this Marin Master Gardener Marin IJ article.

In your garden:

Rats love fruit! If you see chunks missing, those might be rat nibbles. Be sure to clean up any fallen fruit to discourage rats in the garden. Check out these videos, illustrating clever solutions to keep rats from stealing your fruit and an inventive idea to keep them from eating your vegetables.

In your car:

Cold weather causes rats to seek someplace warm to nest. Unfortunately, this can include your car and they can cause thousands of dollars of damage. If you already have rats nesting, this video explains how to clean out the engine and then add peppermint oil to prevent reinfestation. (Although there are no studies to prove the efficacy of the essential oil, many people find it works. Reapply if the scent begins to fade.) Prevention is always best: this video gives 3 simple tips for keeping rats from accessing the interior of your car.


In your home:

Your house or apartment can be a cozy home for rats too! Watch this short video for tips on how to make your home less welcoming to rats. This video lists common access points around your home, so you can do a thorough review and prevent a possible rat infestation.

Want some expert advice?
Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District will do a FREE rodent inspection of your residence and is also available to do presentations for your HOA or neighborhood group about treating and preventing rodent infestation.

We hope these timely tips on rat control have been helpful. Share these tips with your friends by clicking on the link at the bottom of this email!

The YardSmartMarin Team

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