Rats are incredible creatures, small and dynamic yet resilient to basically everything. These tiny creatures may struggle with their vision at night, but an incredible sense of smell allows these furry fellows to sniff out food sources at a great distance, often leading to home infestations along the way!
As a haven to a wide array of rodents, residents in Arizona will be best served by keeping these critters outside their homes. While small and fuzzy, rodents can bring danger along with their bite or droppings. The deer mouse, for example, can carry Hantavirus while other rodents can pass along leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, and LCMV.
To best avoid your next rat infestation let’s explore how different smells can keep these troublesome rodents away.
What Attracts Rats to Homes
Before we delve into the specific odors and scents that draw along rodents, let’s first come to an understanding as to why they are near our homes, to begin with. Rats are intelligent creatures that thrive in urban and crowded environments.
Hardy creatures capable of surviving varying conditions and climates, rats are attracted to steady sources of food. To keep rats away from your home now and in the future, consider following these tips.
- Seal ALL Garbage Bins — Both indoors and outdoors, keep garbage bins sealed to ward off potential rodents. Consider double-bagging particularly odorous leftovers before discarding them.
- Prune Your Home’s Surroundings — Clutter in or around your home may attract rats looking for a new place to call their own. Make sure that all vegetation and random materials are either locked away or sufficiently far from your home.
- Seal Gaps and Cracks — This might become a more involved task, but it is nonetheless important. To offset potential rodent infestations, make sure that all cracks, gaps, and holes within your home are sealed. Rats can fit into holes down to a quarter of an inch in size, so keep a sharp eye out!
Preventing a rat infestation is just as important as alleviating one. To keep your home secured against potential pests this summer, we’re going to explore the different scents that purportedly keep rats away.
Keep Rats Away With Scents
Rats have an incredible sense of smell as we’ve explored abundantly thus far. With their ability to sense food and track it down, it is possible to beat rats at their own game by implementing strong odors. While the efficacy of these different odors is still up to debate, homeowners may find some level of support in their efforts.
Today, we will be looking at four key scents that may repel pests and keep them away.
1. Mothballs in the Attic
When was the last time that you used mothballs in your home? Mothballs are a form of pesticide used to keep silverfish, moth, and other fiber-eating pests away from clothing materials. Effective at more than protecting clothing, mothballs contain the ingredient naphthalene which is effective at keeping rats away.
To offset a potential rat infestation, place mothballs near potential entrances into your attic. Look for small holes, cracks, or broken seals under a quarter of an inch in size. Mothballs are effective in small doses, so don’t feel obliged to pour a whole box in the attic.
2. Peppermint Oil
While there is still some debate among pest control enthusiasts, peppermint oil provides a potential way to keep rats at bay. Due to their highly sensitive sense of smell, rats can become overwhelmed by the more fragrant natural oils and herbs in our households. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil before placing them around the house where rates have been seen or are suspected of nesting.
Even though the jury is still out on how effective peppermint oil is at deterring rats, this is a natural and low-cost way of addressing the issue yourself. If you find that peppermint oil is not effective, consider contacting a professional rodent control team. No matter what, expect your home to smell great following the peppermint treatment!
3. Owl Feathers
We are digging deep into our bag of tools for this next tip! While not a common scent, obviously, owl feathers are a fantastic way to deter rats from taking up residence in your home. Owls are a natural predator to rats and this is something that those furry little creatures will never forget.
Use owl feathers to keep rats away from your home or yard by placing the feathers in key area. Some inspired property owners will even install a fake owl prop to keep watch. We don’t advocate for adopting an actual real-life owl, however.
4. Ammonia Cleaning Products
Rounding out our list of potential scents to stave away rodents is the powerful cleaning agent, ammonia. Ammonia cleaning agents are ideal for repelling rats. To accomplish this task at home, merely mix two cups of ammonia with roughly 200mls of water an additional spoon or two of detergent. Mix these ingredients together in a bowl before placing the bowl where rats are suspected of hiding.
While this is an effective way to keep rats away, make sure that no pets or children have access to this mixture. As with all other scents on this list, they can be dangerous when not handled correctly.
Rats and Mice of Arizona
Residents of Arizona will be introduced to a variety of pests throughout their time in the Grand Canyon State. While the vast majority of the rodents discussed today will behave nocturnally, thus making an infestation hard to identify, there are common signs and symptoms that rodents may be nearby.
Let’s take a brief look at the most common mice and rats of Arizona as well as common signs that they may be invading your home.
- Pack Rat — Also known as the wood rat, the pack rat is most commonly found throughout Central Arizona. The pack rat comes in a variety of subcategories, though they all measure between six and eight inches in length. Pack rats are a danger to humans due to the potential health hazards they pose through feces and urine.
- Roof Rat — Also known as the Black Rat, the Roof Rat has a long, hairless tail that adds to its impressive length of up to 18 inches. Nesting in the upper levels of a home, roof rats are commonly found in attics, ceilings, and trees.
- Deer Mouse — A particularly dangerous mouse, deer mice can carry the disease hantavirus. When feces and dust particles interact, infection can spread through inhalation. Deer mice nest and burrow into storage boxes and cabinets.
- House Mouse — The house mouse is dependent upon us for both food and shelter, thus making them quite common throughout Arizona. Smaller than rats and easy to identify, house mice are most identifiable by their gray coat and white bellies. The primary fear that these creatures create is disease through contamination caused by droppings.
Remember, as nocturnal animals it is likely that pests may be most active at night, thus making daytime identification more difficult. Keep a sharp eye out for signs and symptoms of an infestation and contact a professional pest control team when it comes time to remove the creatures from your property.
Fight Pests With the Pros at Buzz Tech Pest Control
Ultimately, rat infestations are part and parcel of the experience in Arizona. Due to the commonality of the Arizona Pack Rate, many homes throughout the area will experience a pesky rodent scrambling down its halls.
To keep rats away for good, consider calling on Arizona’s most trusted rodent control and removal experts at Buzz Tech Pest Control. Buzz Tech offers free inspections, fast responses, and 24/7 availability to ensure that the needs of their clients are always met. Buzz Tech Pest Control is based out of Phoenix, AZ, where we are licensed and insured to tackle the pest problems that homeowners face most.
From rodent trapping and removal to sealing and rodent exclusion, a happy rat-free home is just a phone call away!