Expert’s Warning for Nebraska Households Over Rat Invasion, as Cold Period Drives Them into Homes

Rats are predicted to plague Nebraska homes in the second week of January as they seek shelter from freezing temperatures. 

Pest control experts at The Pest Dude have predicted that rodent activity in homes across Nebraska is due to pick up following freezing temperatures over the past month, and as the second half of January is typically the coldest in the year. The increase in rat invasions is caused by the animals seeking warmer sheltered spaces, such as attics and basements, to escape the harsh temperatures of winter. 

Zachary Smith, owner of The Pest Dude says: “Rodents, above all other pests, are a public health concern as they can cause considerable damage to both residential and business premises. Not only can they damage the structures of both residential and business properties, but they can also significantly affect a business’ reputation.  As temperatures continue to drop, we’re seeing increase in service calls as rats continue looking for somewhere warm to spend the winter. While most of us may associate rats with sewers and holes in the ground, brown rats are very nimble climbers, and can be found in attics and inside walls.”

He adds that “homeowners should look out for nests, droppings and gnaw marks. The animals will also shred attic insulation, cardboard and other soft materials to make their nests.”

So how can Nebraskans avoid this impending invasion? Zachary Smith says: “Rather than appealing to their appetite, effective control methods involve understanding their natural tendencies and fears, such as their skepticism of new objects and environments (neophobia). This is why traps and bait stations may be ignored for long periods of time before a rat is brave enough to investigate them, and why placing droppings or leaving them empty for a week can increase their effectiveness. It is also why poison may take days or weeks to kill a rat, as they can learn from the deaths of their peers and avoid the same fate.”

The Pest Dude has provided these 7 tips on how to prevent or deal with a rat invasion.

1. Seal entry points to your home.

2. Trim all trees at least 3 feet away from the roof line.

3. Check your vents. 

4. Clean up debris piles.

5.Clean up rats’ favorite food such as fruits. 

6. Introduce natural predators.

7. Try repellents / hazing.

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