There are few pests met with the same level of disgust as the rat – and rightly so. Typically associated with nastiness and urban areas, rats have been known to carry disease and damage property. From the plague to listeria to salmonellosis – and a host of other fevers and diseases – rats have wreaked havoc on the human population for thousands of years. Native to Asia, the rat eventually migrated to Europe and then made its way to America where people have been seeking to find the best rat poison, trap and altogether eradicate them ever since.
Habits of Rats and How They Are Harmful to Humans
It is helpful to understand a little about these rodents and their habits. Rats are in the genus Rattus along with mice, but rats are quite different, with larger, thinner bodies and longer legs.
Rats live in every part of the world now, but they prefer warm or temperate climates. They are mostly nocturnal, but some will be active during the day.
They live together in packs and a new pack is formed when a male and female venture off together to breed and start a new nest. The packs are usually led by a dominant male.
Most rats are omnivores, eating both meat and herbs. Brown rats like to sponge sustenance from humans, rummaging through trash and sneaking into kitchens for food.
Rats can be more than just a nuisance, however. Their presence can pose some serious public health and safety risks.
Some of the diseases they can carry include, Hantavirus, Listeria, Rat-Bite Fever, and Salmonellosis.
They are, perhaps, most famous for causing the Bubonic Plague – also called the Black Death – that killed one-third of the European population in the 14th Century.
Rats have sharp teeth and can chew through electrical wiring, insulation, and even wood while gathering materials for their nests. They can also carry dangerous allergens in their urine and feces, causing sickness in many households.
Best Way to Kill Rats
Most people agree that these dangerous rodents need to be exterminated and wonder, “What kills rats?’ One of the oldest methods is to simply set a rat trap.
Some of the best rat traps are available for purchase at any home improvement store and many online retailers. Another great way to trap a rat is to cut two holes in a box with a lid. Place some food such as cheese or peanut butter in the box. The rats will climb in to enjoy the treat, then the box can be confiscated and discarded.
Traps and Baits: The Best Rat Bait
What makes the best rat bait? Some of the many foods rat like to eat are peanut butter, cheese, meat, and even fruits and vegetables. The best food for a rat trap doesn’t even have to be food at all. Leaving a little insulation or shredded paper in a rat trap can lure rats attempting to gather materials for their nests.
Brown rats are omnivores and eat a wide variety of foods. Black rats are herbivores, so the best rat foods for them are fruits, nuts, peanut butter and even insects. The best rat food that attracts the rodents to the traps should emit powerful smells. The smelliest foods make the best bait for a rat trap. These rat foods can be turned to the best rat poison, since these rodents are naturally attracted to them.
There are commercially available rat baits that guarantee success when rats are around, for convenience buying some might be a good and reliable choice.
Best Rat Poison: How Do Best Rat Poisons Work?
Rat infestations leave many households wondering, “What is the best way to kill rats?” One solution to consider is poison.
There are a variety of rodenticides, the most common and best rat poison being anticoagulant. It takes a few days to work, but anticoagulants are quite effective. Anticoagulant rat poison contains chemicals that halt Vitamin K production – the blood clotting vitamin.
Other chemicals cause trauma to the blood vessel walls and internal bleeding. This combination of internal bleeding and inability to clot usually causes the rats to die within 1 to 2 days.
Another popular, maybe not the best rat poison though, is zinc phosphide. Some rats are resistant to coagulants, and in the cases where coagulants are not effective, phosphides can be a good alternative. One positive aspect of phosphide poisoning is that it does not remain in the rats’ tissue after death.
If a household pet was to find the rat, it would not be harmed by the phosphide. However, if a pet directly consumes the rat poison itself, there is no antidote. Be sure to keep any phosphide poisoning in a secure container away from any pets or children, as it is extremely dangerous.
Many effective rodenticides are available for purchase and are highly effective.
It is important to remember that these poisons take a few days to kill the rat, so if there does not seem to be decreased rat activity within the first week of setting out poison, just give it a little time.
Also, there is no way of controlling where the rat will die. It could begin decomposing inside walls or under the house, causing the smell of decay to permeate the air – certainly not a pleasant odor to have around the house.
It is not always easy locating dead rats to discard them, but that is an extra measure that must be taken.
Repellents: The Best Way to Repel Rats
Of course, the easiest way to deal with rats is to never have to deal with them in the first place! Using rat repellents can be an effective way to keep the rodents away. There are several natural or household items you can employ or purchase for this task.
Home Remedies that Repel Rats
Some home remedies include mothballs, ammonia, peppermint oil, bay leaves, and steel wool. Moth balls are easy to find at any home improvement stores and can be sprinkled in the attic, under the house, in the garage or basement.
They do emit an odor that can be overpowering if there are too many moth balls in a space. Also keep in mind that moth balls are poisonous to both humans and pets, as well. Do not leave them lying around inside where pets or children can get into them.
Rats hate the smell of ammonia, which makes it another effective repellent. Mix 2 cups of ammonia with 2 teaspoons of detergent and ¼ cup of water. Place it anywhere rat activity has been noticed.
Peppermint oil is safe for people to be around, but rats despise the minty smell. Soak cotton balls with peppermint oil and place them in corners, in the attic, and anywhere rats like to sneak around.
Bay leaves look and smell like food to rats, but they are poisonous to the rodents who will choke on them as they eat them. Steel wool is another household item that works well at keeping rats at bay.
Although rats have extremely sharp teeth and can gnaw through almost anything, they cannot chew through steel wool. Placing steel wool in front of rat holes or any openings where the rats are coming inside will help deter them from entering.
Having some pets around the house may help scaring rats away also.
High Frequency Sound Rat Repellents
Rats have very sensitive ears and are afraid of sounds. There are several different electronic rat repellents that are known to scare away rats and other rodents.
High frequency sound waves cause rats’ ears to hurt and can even cause them to bleed, so they avoid areas emitting these strong sound waves.
Electric and ultrasonic repellents are much safer and environmentally-friendly alternative to the best rat poison chemicals, and a less-messy alternative to rat traps.
Best Way to Get Rid of Rats: Product Reviews
Given the abundance of rat traps, rat poison, and rat repellents available on the market, we have rounded up some of the best ones to review. Check out some of these products to help find the best way to get rid of rats.
Best Rat Poison: Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx Kit
One of the best ways to kill a rat is with the Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx. This poison contains first generation coagulant, so it takes a few days for the rats to die, but it is highly effective.
The bait includes a nail hole so that it can be attached to an anchored down piece of wood, which prevents the rodents from running away with the bait. It can be used virtually anywhere – in the garden, a barn, house, attic, or garage.
As with any coagulant rat poison, be sure to store the Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx in a safe place where pets and children cannot contact it, as it is dangerous for both animals and humans to consume.
Ground squirrels and field mice are also drawn to this poison. If using Tomcat for squirrel or mice bait, try fashioning a trap using a box with a lid. Cut two holes in the box big enough to allow rat-sized rodents, but small enough so that cats and dogs cannot enter and eat the bait.
At first bait stations may need to be refilled several times in the first week. But after the coagulants have had time to take effect in the rats’ systems, there should be a dramatic decrease in the amount of bait refills.
Oftentimes, homeowners realize their rat infestations were worse than they originally suspected when baits are disappearing at rapid rates. The Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx is one of the best rat poisons available. Consumers report that it is one of the best bait to kill rats and many households notice that their rat infestation has been totally eradicated within seven days.
Be sure to save leftover bait in a safe, dry place and re-fill the bait stations as needed.
Best Rat Repeller: QUESEN Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
The QUESEN Ultrasonic Pest Repeller is another great option for electronically repelling pests.
It is available on Amazon as a set of two and they can be used both indoors and outdoors – anywhere there are rodents and humans that do not wish to intermingle.
Just plug the repellent into an electrical outlet and the ultrasonic waves will keep rats away, as well as mice, bats, squirrels, spiders, roaches, fleas, ticks, flies, wasps, ants, crickets, bed bugs, mosquitoes, bees, and other rodents and pests.
The QWESEN pest repellent is also safe to use anywhere humans or pets are present. It can be used in homes, restaurants, hotels, businesses, patios, and gardens. It covers up to 1300 square feet indoors and can be kept plugged in all day. This repellent also features a night light.
The QWESEN does provide a safer and more environmentally-friendly to poison, as well as a cleaner alternative to rat traps. Many consumers have given the product excellent ratings for being one of the best ways to get rid of rats, reporting a decrease or absence of pests, especially mice and cockroaches.
It is available at many local brick-and-mortar stores, as well through online retailers.
The Trapro Humane Rat Trap Cage can be an excellent option for trapping squirrels, chipmunks, and prairie dogs in a quick and humane way. It also may be a great product to consider when trying to find the best rat trap for catching or killing rats. It is a unique, rectangular cage made from sturdy, metal materials.
It is a cost-effective way to catch mid-sized rodents 3 to 6 inches in size who are invading homes and gardens.
Rats and mice may be at the bottom of the food chain, but that makes them savvy creatures. When they have a close encounter with a predator, they remember the sights, smells, and sounds that were present and are wiser the next time around.
Handling the Trapro with gloves can help prevent human scents from rubbing onto the trap.
As far as the best foods for rat traps, consider trying different foods each time the bait is set can attract more visitors. If a rat almost gets caught going after cheese, it will be much leerier of cheese the next time. So, the next time try peanut butter or cut up meat, such as a hot dog.
Moving the Trapro to different locations will help catch rats more quickly. After a trap has set in one location for a while, it becomes suspicious to the rat, no matter how appetizing the food may smell.
The metal Trapro may be superior to other wood models in durability and practicality. It features a safety catch that is engaged while setting the bait. The safety catch can easily be slid off once the bait is set and the Trapro is ready to catch critters.
Mice and rats also love to feast on garden veggies such as lettuce, kale, and corn. Setting out the Trapro in the garden is another one of the best ways to trap a rat. Although cheese and peanut butter are considered the best foods for a rat trap, in a garden meat aroma might stand out and attract more rats to the trap.
Try placing some food as bait at the entrance to the trap to lure the rats in. Make sure to place extra in the back part of the trap to bring them in further. Once trapped in the back part of the Trapro, they should not be able to get out.
The Trapro’s sensitivity is adjustable and it does an excellent job of keeping the rodents inside until they are confiscated.
Best Rat Killer: P Purneat Electronic Rat Traps – High Voltage Rat Zapper
This electronic rat trap emits high voltage that instantly kills the rat once it enters the trap. This option is both non-toxic and highly effective.
This Electronic Rat Trap features a secure, protective switch that is supported by a low electricity consumption system that prevents accidents between humans and the electric circuit system.
This zapper features highly sensitive detection technology. Once the rat is detected inside the trap, it emits an 8000 V electric shock which kills the rodent so quickly it is virtually painless. Even though this trap emits strong electronic bolts, it uses very little electricity.
To use the Purneat Rat Trap, set one of the best foods for rat traps, such as meat or peanut butter inside. Plug in the device with the adapter that is provided or place 4 batteries inside. Place the trap in an area of high rat activity, or in a corner because rats and mice like to run against walls.
Turn on the switch. When the status light turns green, the trap is active and ready to work. When a rat has been caught and exterminated, the status light will flash red. Discard of the dead rodent and wash the trap well to clean it of odor before the next catch.
This rat sapper’s static working current is less than 50 uA and the high-voltage working current is less than 380 mA. A high voltage bolt is emitted for 2 minutes during extermination.
The P Purneat Electronic rat zapper is a cleaner, more humane alternative to many other rat traps and rat poisons.
Some consumers who have used this product consider it to be both the best rat trap and the best way to kill rats on the market and is heralded for its humane and sanitary way of getting rid of rodents.
Best Rat Trap: Safari Garden Original Large Size Glue Traps
Glue traps remain a tried-and-true method regarded by many as the best way to catch a rat.
Many homeowners are constantly searching for the best way to kill rats, and many keep returning to the old, yet effective technique of setting out glue traps.
The Safari Garden original large sized traps feature 4 individual traps and are an affordable option for catching rats and other household pests.
These glue traps feature eugenol, which enhances stickiness, as well as a non-toxic formula. Perfectly safe to use inside the house, these glue traps may also be used to catch cockroaches, spiders, and scorpions, among other critters.
They arrive ready-to-use in 5.5 X 13 X 1.2-inch dimensions, although many other size options are available, in case you want to hunt for smaller or bigger rodents, like mice or large rats. It is not necessary to add poison or food as bait. Just place it in an area where rat activity is expected and when the rat tries to scurry across the glue, it will get trapped.
The Safari Garden Original Glue Trap is one of the highest rated rat trap on Amazon at the time of writing, which is amazing, considering the price and simple working method.
Glue traps are not advertised as the most humane way to eliminate mice and rats, but when placed near the mice holes or other high traffic areas, they are effective. Although it is not necessary to to add bait to the glue trap, placing a spoonful of peanut butter or other food at the center of the trap may help attract more critters.
Glue traps are completely safe for people and pets, unlike rat poison. They can be used in the kitchen or anywhere else in a house, as well as outdoor patios.
Ankace Mouse and Rat Trap
The AnKace Mouse / Rats Trap is another option when considering the best way to catch a rat.
Power rodent traps remain one of the best ways to kill rats because of their humane and effective tactics.
The Ankace Trap is quick, sanitary, and safe for families and pets. Compared to wooden or metal mouse traps, the Ankace trap may be more effective because of its ability to detect as little as 15 grams of weight. It offers a 100% guaranteed kill, which is so fast that the rats should not experience much, if any, pain.
The Ankace is made of polystyrene, which is both durable and easy to clean. Its materials do not absorb stains or odors, so once it is emptied and washed, it is ready for the next intruder.
Featuring a bear-claw trap design and a bait cup, the rodent is lured in by the smell of food, then the trap snaps down quickly and with great force.
The bait cup can be filled with some of the best food for a rat trap, peanut butter. After the rat has been discarded, wipe down the trap with an all-purpose cleaner and paper towel.
Many consumers report almost 100% effectiveness and the Ankace also has a reputation for being easy to set up.
Conclusion – The Best Rat Killer
Rats are unwanted visitors in most households across the U.S., as disease and destruction can accompany them wherever they go.
Throughout history, humans tried to fight these pests with more or less success. Therefore when considering the best way to get rid of rats, it is important to be well-informed about what methods and products trap or kill rats most effectively. In general, not leaving left over food, rotting produce or seeds around the yard will highly decrease the chance of attracting rats in the first place.
Whether it is a rodenticide, a trap, a cage, or repellent, being aware of the products and techniques that advertise the best rat poison, the best rat traps, or the best rat zappers can help us enjoy our home lives without having to worry about the dangers and damage these rodents can bring.