They don’t discriminate and every home has them: Rats.
The last several years have been above average for rat populations, according to the San Diego County Vector Control Office.
Unlike mice, they’re fairly intelligent and can often outsmart traps set for them, said American Pest Control’s Rick Arendt.
“If they see something unusual in their environment, they shy away from it,” Arendt said. “So a lot of times, for a snap trap, we do what’s called ‘pre-baiting.’ We’ll just put the trap out there and not set it, not bait it, just so rats get used to it out in the environment.”
When it comes to snap traps, Arendt says ones with a yellow triggering mechanism work better than ones with a simpler aluminum trigger.
The trouble is, these traps are harder to find, and they can break a finger if not handled with care.
Another option is a glue board, which Arendt said he doesn’t like because they are “borderline inhumane.” The rodent often suffers, and the board runs the risk of catching other animals not intended to be trapped, like birds.
Plus, rats can escape glue boards. But not mice, if that’s your problem. Glue boards can catch multiple mice.
You may have also seen fancy electronic rat traps which electricude the vermin, but they're more expensive, running near $40.
"I have heard a few homeowners that have tried them and had success,” Arendt said. “But the majority of the homeowners call us up."
Many experts recommend tamper resistant bate stations, which are designed to be used outdoors. Rodents crawl inside, eat rodenticide, leave and then die a few days later. The only problem with those bait stations is that the quality products used by exterminators aren’t readily available to everyday homeowners.
If you think you might have a rat problem, the county offers free inspection. Click here to find out more.