Help! I have rats in my crawl space!

lizsbizApril 5, 2002

I am so disgusted. For a few weeks I have been trying to figure out what a urine/feces smell was in my house that started in the closets and the radiated to the rest of the house. I heard a scurry a week ago but didn't clue in. Then last night I was snuggling with my son and heard it again. The smell has gotten so bad. I know it sounds silly not to have found it until now but I have a 6 year old girl and a three year old boy. I just kept looking for something my son hid (food, weird stuff, you know how it is). He had also had an episode of peeing in obscure places (under the table, outside, in the corner, etc.) just because he can. I had caught him in the past as he was not exactly discreet and I own a steam cleaner so I clean frequently just in case but the smell just kept getting worse until today. My son flooded over the bathroom sink (stuffed with toilet paper) and then it occured to me that maybe when he overflowed the toilet 6 weeks ago (stuffed his sisters picture that she painted and flushed) and then I thought "Hey. Maybe it ran in to the basement and was stagnating down there." So I figured I would go check and I opened the door and there were lots of droppings about 3/4" long and it reeked! They have torn up the insulation and stuff. I rent this place and have called the landlord and he is downplaying it and thinks traps will do it but all my stuff is ruined and the house smells. My husband assured me they couldn't get in where we live but then I went to cook dinner and there were droppings in the pan that I wanted to use. Help! I need solutions I can live with because I am afraid to sleep and have stuffed every hole upstairs with whatever I can think of and blocked all the cupbaords with chairs the kids are sleeping in the top bunk. I bought javex to bleach out the cupboards and stuff but part of me is afraid to take all the food out of the cupboards because if I do then will hey venture put further? I don't want to be paranoid about this but this really makes me feel ill. The research that I have done already types them as Norway rats. Is there anything they can't stand the smell of that will deter them naturally because I can't use poison upstairs because of the kids and it causes the rats to hemmorage to death. Don't get me wrong I do want them gone but humane is good if at all possible. Thanks and look forward to your reply.

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IMO, it is a war of attrition. You need to reduce their numbers until they are all gone. I have never dealt with rats, but have eliminated a mouse infestation. Use traps, poison will kill them but who knows exactly where they will expire and decompose - you think you have a smell now ? Having sevral rat carcasses rotting in your crawl will be unbearable.
Yes - it is unpleasant. I still trap the occasional rougue mouse and get the willies when I have to clean up. But to do this effectively you need to deal with it. A proffessional will cost $$ and will not be there every day to empty the traps.
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2002 at 10:49AM
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Seems your landlord should have to hire a pest control company. They will use a poison that makes them not stink as the works well. And they come back every week and remve the problems. Rats travel along the wall and can make a huge mess. You can buy rat traps. Also you can buy sticky traps, don't know if they work with rats though...
Karen L

    Bookmark   April 5, 2002 at 8:28PM
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Go to to learn more about rats and rat control. It is the landlord's responsibility to provide you with a safe home. If you have no success with the landlord, contact the local Health Department as well as the Housing Authority. If you can afford to move, do so for the sake of your family's health.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 5:46AM
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I read about people having rat problems in countryside magazine. All they did was put dry dog food in the bottom of a trash can, and provide a board for them to get into the can. Apparently they fell in and couldn't get out and the guy emptied the can on a daily basis until all rats were caught. Not sure if your crawlspace is tall enough, but hope you control the problem soon.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2002 at 9:52AM
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Sounds to me like you don't need to involve your landlord in anymore than getting an exterminator for possible rodent infestation.

You admit your kids pee wherever they feel like it and flood up your toilet with papers. That's probably where the "reeking smells" come from.

I live in Florida, and during the cold months the ugly rodents (fruit rats) have the nerve to think that the rat poison I put out is their daily buffet and they crap all around my water heater, but never have I smelled anything.

You need to take another look at how you're letting your kids behave in regards to rental units ... if it was yours, would you let them flush papers???

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 11:56PM
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Thank you for everyone for your helpful information everyone thus far. I have recieved a lot of help in all kinds of area's with all kinds of remedies. I have even received parenting tips! You will be happy to know that I have not had any rats eating the poison my landlord put in the crawlspace, nor have I heard any scratching. We have now blocked the entrances that they were entering in and I am hoping that this will be the last. Now for the clean up. One thing I have learned is that you can't vacuum it because there is a disease in the dust. You have to wear a mask and wash or throw out your clothes right away and then have a shower. My landlord says to just vacuum it his quote was "have you ever heard of anyone who had that happen?" I just told him he wasn't going to get me down there to do it and he said he would come help me. I'm for that! I have also a couple of those air neutralizers down there for the wretched smell and that seems to have helped. He sympathized with us because him and his wife had rats at their house on year too and it stunk for them. As for my 3 year old son I just wanted to let you know that he is doing very well and has not peed in the house for a while as he is over that form of experimenting. As for the flushing of things down the toilet, short of stapling my right pant leg and his left pant leg together, I am glad to report we have had no floods so far but as I have been reassured by my friends whom I respect and have been and/or are parents, the people that I "seek constructive criticism from" that he will not be doing this when he is 25! He and my six year old daughter spice up my life, hone my home maintenance skills and put a lot of kilometres on my steam cleaner but I would not trade any of it for the world. GOD BLESS YOU. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2002 at 8:20PM
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I had rats in my crawl space and tried almost everything to get rid of them. Finally I bought about 5 of those pest chaser ultrasonic noise makers and put them under the house using extension cords. They left that night never to return until one day I thought I didn't need them anymore, within 2 months of unplugging them they were back. I have since sealed every hole I could find and installed permanent outlets under the house to plug the pest chasers into. I have not seen any more signs of the rats.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 8:07PM
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Hi Mike,

What brand is your ultrasonic pest repeller?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2002 at 12:32AM
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Which ultrasonic device did you get?

How do you put them UNDER the house? I suspect there are rodents getting underneath the house from outside.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2002 at 4:13PM
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I'd try those ultrasonic devices too. They may help your situation. I have a 6 year old girl and a 4 year old boy. I had to laugh to myself when I read about the peeing and flushing of papers. Been there, done that. Kids will be kids. Enjoy every moment with them.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 8:50PM
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The ultrasonic device worked for me and my mouse problem. Scoff if you will, but results tell.

Mine were in an inaccessible area of the attic. I would hear them in there every night. Traps: They never came out of the enclosed space, so not a solution. Poison: And have a mouse die in the walls? No thanks. Sticky boards: Again, have them stuck and die where I can't get to them. Seal the entrance: We searched and searched to see where they might be coming in from, and never could find it.

The devices need line-of-site in order to work so I wasn't sure how to handle it. Finally, I plugged it into a wall outlet that was ON the wall the mice were IN. Then I crossed my fingers. They returned 3 or 4 times after that, but you could hear them trying like heck to get back out! Then after that, no more mice.

(note: The device hasn't done a darn thing for insects. But in my situation, it sure worked on rodents.)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 8:13AM
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Mike Murphy and TREKaren,

do you mind sharing the brand of the ultrasonic device. I will really appreciate it. Thanks

    Bookmark   November 3, 2002 at 11:38PM
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Get a CAT! Of course in a rental, you're not supposed to have pets, but you might could squeeze by with one and if the rental owner asks whose cat that is in the yard, smile and lie. As a child, and as an adult, wherever I've lived I've found that when you have cats you don't have mice/rats/snakes about 99% of the time. In fact, in our last house, our neighbor across the street had a mouse problem (understandable if you saw how she lived. YUK!) and when we moved in with our cats, her mice vanished. When we moved out, she begged us to let her have one of our cats but they are like family to us so she had to break down and get her own, which she did. One more tidbit: Get a female (fixed) because they are the hunters. Males just sleep all day and "tomcat" all night, if you know what I mean. And if your female isn't fixed, every tomcat in the area will be after her and you'll soon have more kitties than you know what to do with!! Of course, then your whole neighborhood will be mouse-free!!


    Bookmark   October 28, 2004 at 11:28AM
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If possible get a cat - they do wonders. We lived by a horse racing track. When the horses left after the season, the rats would migrate over to the homes. Yikes - I saw one once. Got two cats (a female and a male - female was much better hunter) - never saw or heard from rats again.
I am currently battling mice each winter we get one or two. We had good luck with regular old standard "snap" traps baited with peanut butter - so they can't steal the bait, it sticks to the trap. We get them after a night or two. If you have a landlord - let him deal with the problem that is for sure!!! It's his problem and obligation to deal with it in a timely (immediate) manner. It may even be a law. Or just tell him if he doesn't do anything about it - you are getting a cat whether or not they are "banned" from the premises unless he does do something about the problem. It is a total health hazard - not to mention the fact that they can bite.
I just bought an ultrasonic thing - too soon to know how it works. But my neighbors have one and swear by it. Didn't cost much.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 3:05PM
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Try The have the Sunbeam brand.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 3:37PM
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I have one of those things and it works fine as long as I apply boric acid also. :o)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 11:15PM
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I have them also. I had mice a few years ago and the ultrasonic devices worked great but after the city tore up a field near my house to build a park the rats invaded.
I have had pest control in and they closed up all the places that let them in (supposedly). Took down 4 trees so they could not get on the roof and get in there. I have 4 ultrasonic devices in my kitchen. Traps in the crawl space (they seem to be able to set them off without getting caught). Last fall after 6 months of concerted effort they disappeared. Two weeks ago we found a dropping in the kitchen again. I am also able to hear them in the crawl space. So I had someone in to look at the crawl space from the inside. No one can find the opening. The only advice I have gotten is that they must have burrowed their way in under the foundation.
I have not tried ultrasonic under the house. I will try that next. But if anyone has any other suggestions I am willing to try.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 1:06PM
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I just watched an episode of one of those flip that house shows and the particular home they were working on was infested badly with rats/mice. They hired a company who used bait stations all over. Had to re-bait them several times but it did the job. I'm sure pest control companies have safe methods to rid your home of rodents.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 12:15AM
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My problem is weird. I have mice/rats living under the addition that was made to my house. We purchased it after the addition was done. But somehow those rodents are getting under the house and boy does that urine smell. You can hear them at night and i am tired of dealing with this. We had orkin try and get rid of them but they are still here. We also got terminx but they said that as long as they don't come in the house it would be okay. I have a cat so they are not going to come in without meeting him, but that smell is still around. Someone please tell me what to do?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 6:20PM
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