Choosing a rat repellent over traps or poison is an act of … courage if you like (we found that there is a significant proportion of bad reviews or negative discussions about this method; but this only happens when people buy cheap products, or they misuse the device). Or maybe you’ve done your homework, and you know that in certain situations rat traps and poisons are out of discussion. Although this doesn’t need a reminder, we’ll jump the fence and say it again: you can’t use traps or poison when they pose a threat to your kids, pets, livestock or wild animals. Or maybe you want to try this method first because it’s cheaper; who knows, our solely goal is to guide you through and point the best options.
Internet is full of contradictory discussions about rat repellents; for some is a waste of time, while others find success in the first try. With this section of our website we’re trying to place you in the latter category.
Rat repellents are classified in two distinctive categories:
- electrical (ultrasonic, electromagnetic or radio waves)
- botanical (using plants scents).
Herbs with distinctive scent such as mint, rosemary, rue, southernwood, thyme, tansy and fewerfew were used as rat deterrents since ancient Greek and Roman times. At first they were hung in the larder and in the kitchen to keep flies away, but soon people realized that rats also were avoiding these plants. The Pied Piper of Hamelin lured the rats away using his flute and valerian.
Cats, and this is not a typo, are the most influential factor of the spreading speed of the bubonic plague in 14th century. You will say rats were; yes, but it wouldn’t have gone out of proportions if people suddenly have started killing the cats. Problem was that often cats were associated with witchcraft and demons. Back then, the plague disease wasn’t understood and it was associated as well with witchcraft, and obviously cats took the blame, not the bacteria. Now we know that plague is caused by a bacteria called Yersinia pestis and it’s spread by rats and flea bites. And we stopped blaming the cats.
Ultrasonic repellents takes the highest share of the rat repellents market.
We call ultrasound the sound emited at high frequency, imperceptible by human years. Usually over 20.000 hertz is unnoticeable by humans; our ears aren’t built this way. Most of the animals hear well over this point.
The ultrasonic devices rely on emitting high frequency sounds, ultrasounds, that disturbs the rodent. They are well calibrated to ensure only the target receives the sound waves, in this case rats. Many of bad reviews on the market gives a negative impression over this devices, but this mostly happens because people are buying cheap products, or they use them without basic knowledge.
Some guidelines to follow
Rat proof your home first of all, by covering all the entry holes. Make sure there are no holes in the wall to roof conjunction, not even the tiniest crack. Check the roof pavement, the basement, the drainage, everything you could think of.
Remove all the incentive food supplies, because rats are some extremely opportunistic critters. All of the repellents combined can’t keep a hungry rat away, if food is available. Their olfactory senses are among the best in the rodent species, so store anything in containers or bags, and out of the harms way in unreachable places. Rats are able to gnaw through almost any material, especially if they smell food, or need an exit point from a trap. In fact, rats incisors never stop growing, and they are often gnawing through materials to keep their teeth from growing too large.
Rats are really sensitive to black pepper and peppermint; using a rat spray repellent based on these scents on rat gnawing marks would greater improve you chances to scare the rats away.
Ultrasounds emitted by rat repellents are weak, and they can’t pass through walls, glass, doors or sometimes even furniture. You will need multiple devices, strategically placed. In some rooms you can even supplement the repellers with rat traps (sound will often determine rats to scurry around, leading them into traps), but keep in mind that these traps are often hazardous for other animals or children.
This is not a set it and forget it method. Rats eventually get accustomed to the sound produced by ultrasonic devices, making them ineffective in the long run. They only provide means for a quick solution, they don’t remove the rats for good. Not even traps or poison would get you rid of rats for good. If there is always food, shelter or warmth for nesting, your home is always susceptible for rat infestation.
Use these devices or deterrents when the rat numbers are manageable, not for big scale infestation. This should be only an alternate method for traps and poison, and temporary, until you fully rat-proof your home.