Rats in attic health concerns is one of the many worries you and I have to deal with on a constant basis.
Whenever rats live in attics, they make a harmful environment for both the inhabitants of a home and the house itself.
While we may think that rats are ground-dwellers, a lot of them are actually skilled climbers and can easily find their way into attics or roofs.
Mice in the attic, and the bugs they carry along with them, are potentially harmful to your health, your pet’s heath, and can cause material or structural damage to your home.
Sadly, this is an all-too-common questions homeowners ask. Rats are seen as dirty pests that can chew their way through just about anything, including steel, but how much of an issue do they really pose to families?
Rats in Attic Health Concerns
Rats are one of the best disease-carriers pests in the animal kingdom, and were directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people during the time of the bubonic plague. Although the plague died out, rats still have the potential to make pets and humans very sick in the following ways.
Here are some health issues with rats in attic:
Lack of Sleep and Stress
Let’s first talk about the first effects if having rats living inside your attic: Emotional stress and lack of sleep.
Rats, like many rodents, are nocturnal, meaning they are actively in search of food and water under the cloak of the night.
Once you lay down to rest in bed after a long and exhausting day at work, you might hear the scampering of rat feet throughout the attic.
Instead of seeing some much-needed sleep, you lie in bed staring at the alarm clock for hours on end.
Rat infestations also come with some very real emotional stress. Even when you cn’t see them, just knowing that you are sharing your lovely home with these dirty rodents creates emotional stress.
Rats are omnivorous, but are most likely to scavange a veggie diet than actually kill something. Consequently, the desire and moves to find a means of getting into any and every food source near their nest, which is likely to be your pantry or kitchen if they have taken home in your attic.
Drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated with rat saliva, scat or urine is potentially very dangerous for humans.
Diseases that are transmitted through contamination are Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Salmonellosis and Leptospirosis, amongst others.
Bites and Scratches
Again, this is one of the many rats in attic health concerns.
Wild rats are not your friend – if cornered and without the chance to flee they will scratch and bite anyone who tries to get close to them.
If this does happen, whoever is scratched or bitten would have to immediately see a doctor to make sure they do not contract rat-bite fever or tetanus, both of which can be contracted after the rat is dead.
Mites and Fleas
Rats carry with them other critters that can cause disease, such as fleas and ticks. These can infect any household occupant, from people to pets.
Rats bring with them other critters that can cause disease, such as ticks and fleas. These can infect any household occupant, from pets to people.
Rats in Attic Safety Risks
Although rats are primarily thought of as health risks, roof rats can also cause serious damage to property and cause unnecessary safety risks.
Chewing and Gnawing
Rats are fast chewers because their teeth are constantly growing. To keep them short, trim and stop them from growing out of control, rats need to constantly chew on hard substances like plastic or wood.
Sadly, when rats make home in your attic, the hard substances they choose to chew on are often important items, pieces of electrical work or pipe insulation.
At times, rats even chew through wires, turning your entire attic into a safety hazard and possibly damaging your appliances.
One of the largest safety concerns of roof rats is the potential for fire, which can really become a reality if the rats chew through important electrical wiring.
Although roof rats will most times nest and breed in attics, they also build extensive burrow systems on the ground for shelter or food storage.
The burrows can cause structural damage, as they are often found under decking, garden sheds or houses themselves.
Evidence of Roof Rats
- Droppings – rat droppings are concentrated and usually look like a brown grain of rice.
- Scratching – Many times people will hear scratching sounds from their attic at night, when everything is quitter and the noise is more noticeable.
- Running Tracks – rats use the same tracks over and over, leaving footprints and tail marks in dusty, diseased areas.
- Damage – small tooth imprints or bite marks are likely caused by rats.
Rat Droppings In Attic Insulation
Yes, rats always deficate and soil your attic with urine. This can lead to odor problems, a breeding ground for mold, is host to potential dangerous pathogens and health risk, plus the odor contain phermonones that attract other rats into the attic.
At times, the urine or feces can leak through the drywall and onto your ceiling. I have witnessed this a lot of times. Ensure you do not touch or even disturb rat droppings in an attic.
It is often a good idea to clean it up, with a full attic restoration.
As for ways on how to identify rat feces (scat, poop, droppings, turds, latrine, whatever you want to call it), look at the photographs below.
Mouse Poop Images
The feces are brown in color and small in size, around 1/4 inch in length on average, with somewhat rounded ends.
They are often scattered rather than put in piles, and sometimes the droppings number in the thousands. They often become drier and thus more chalky in appearance with age, but are usually pretty much dark brown, like your own poo.
A Trail of Rat Feces
Rats leave their waste in food and where they travel, so a trail like this in the attic is prime rat evidence. This is a good spot to set a trap or two!
Rat Droppings in Insulation
Rats run in the insulation, so often thousands of droppings become embedded in the insulation. Some people elect to have the insulation vacuumed out of the house.
Closeup of a Single Rat Turd
Feel free to click the image for a closer look. This is a single dropping from a Roof Rat (rattus rattus), which is the most common type of rat to live in the attic.
Be Sure to Clean the Attic
You might want to get rid of the mice feces, maybe the insulation, and decontaminate. Rat feces attract new rats, and can maybe spread leptospirosis or hantavirus.
How Do I Clean Rat Feces Out Of My Attic?
Now that you are more aware of the rats in attic health concerns, let’s look at how to clean rat feces from attic.
Step 1: To start with, you will want to get a shop vacuum and vac up the feces. Avoid sweeping it if at all possible.
Sweeping ay cause the parasites to become airbone, which is more dangerous to you. Plus, a shop vac is much easier to clean than a standard vacuum because you can run water and bleach through it to clean it out.
This is vital because in your other vacuum the parasites could get in the bag area or your house and spread the illnesses over months.
Step 2: Once you have sucked them all up, the next step is to mix together a concoction of hydrogen peroxide, water and ammonia.
It should be warm water.
Step 3: Put on your gloves, begin to scrub all affected areas to make sure that they are clened of urine, viruses and bacteria.
You should probably repeat this at least 3 times, and make sure that you go to at least 12 inches in all directions around the waste.
So not clean directly where the waste was unless you want to spread bacteria.
Step 4: If you found out that the waste is near or on your insulation this will have to be thrown out in the areas where you find the waste.
It is clear that this cost a lot, but your health is not something to joke around with. You must clean the waster that is around.
The Bottom Line of Rat Poo
To know which rodent lives in your attic, the best method is to look at the size. Smaller is mice, larger is rat or squirrel.
How to Get Rid Of Rat Droppings In The Attic
The best approach is a total clean-up, with either vacuuming of feces or insulation removal, and fogging of the attic with special enzyme cleaner.
However, if dirt isn’t too much in your attic, you may want to skip this expensive step.
If you just have some poop in your attic and want to know which animal caused the poop, look at the above images of rat droppings, and you should be able to identify if rats are the culprit.
10 Steps to Safely Get Rid of Rodents and Cleaning Up After Them
- First step is to keep the kids away from rodents: If you have mice in your basement or attic, the kids should not go there. If there are rats in your crawl space, shed, or under your mobile home, you need to restrict your kids from going to these areas.
- Second is exterminate the rodents. For this, you have several options:
- Rat and Mouse Snap Traps: The old-fashioned victor snap-traps with peanut butter bait is still the best option for rodent extermination. Re-useable Plastic snap traps are nit advised because of the risk of disease spread while attempting to re-use or wash. They also may be less effective and don’t snap as hard. You can buy them affordably and in bulk on Amazon.com and Walmart.com.
- Glue Traps: These are more effective for mice, and sometimes for rats, however you will probably have to get rid pf a live mouse, which puts you at risk for scratch or bite (and it’s no fun at all).
- No-kill Traps: These are hard to use because you have to relocate the rodent at least two miles away, and you need to transport and release the rodent without exposing yourself, your cat, your children, or car to the diseases these animals carry.
- Electric mouse and rat traps: These traps electrocute the rodent as soon as they walk into the tunnel-like device to get the bait. They cost a lot of people say that they are less-effective than snap traps. They are reusable, but any reusable traps may be contaminated with a rodent-borne illness. You can buy them from Amazon.
- Poison: Poison earned a bad reputation because owls and other wildlife can and will die when they feed on poisoned rodents. However, if you are exterminating rodents that do not leave your attic or other space, there should be no risk to the owls. Pets and Children can also be at risk if exposed to the poison, but hopefully you are keeping your kids and your pets out of the rodent-infested areas. Poison is generally very effective in killing rats and mice, but it can take several days after ingesting the poison before death. Also, the dead rodents may decompose in your walls, attic, floorboards, HVAC system, or other difficult-to-reach places, causing a horrific stench that is nearly impossible to remedy. There are many brands of rodent poison available, and you will need a type that is specific for the rodent you are exterminating.
- Safely dispose the dead rodent: The CDC has stated very clearly how to dispose of dead rodents: using gloves, put the dead rodent and the disposable snap trap in a plastic bag in a sealed garbage can.
- Put on a mask: Ensure you wear a mask o that your mouth, nose, and lungs are not exposed to disease-causing particles.
- Don’t Sweep or vacuum or sweep: Sweeping or Vacuuming rodent droppings or dust contaminated with rodent urine can stir up the disease-causing particles and expose you and your household to disease.
- Clean all hard surfaces with bleach-containing solution: Using gloves and paper-towels, use a wet-method approach to cleaning. Spray all contaminated areas with a cleaning agent that contains bleach or a 1/10 solution of bleach and water. Wipe it down with paper towels.
- Steam-clean all carpets and upholstery or Rent a carpet cleaner and shampoo .It may be hard to use a bleach-containing cleanser on these areas without resulting in damage. Consider a non-bleach antiseptic agent.
- Clean everything you stored in the rodent-infested area: Plush toys, Clothing, and bedding should be washed in a washing machine. Hard surfaces of toys and furniture need to be cleaned with a bleach-containing solution.
- Check your HVAC system: If you had rodents in your cooling and heating ducts, the CDC recommends professional HVAC cleaning and rodent extermination.
- Shower: When you’re done with step 1-9, take a long hot shower and decontaminate yourself. You deserve it. Take a deep breath. You’re done. Keep some extra traps in case you see any more signs of rodents.
Learn about more FAQ alongside rats in attic health concerns questions
Can Rats In Your Attic Make You Sick
Yes, rats in in the attic, and the bugs they bring with them, make you your pet sick, and and can also cause structural or material damage to your home.
- How To Get Rid Of Mice In Attic With Blown Insulation
- Slide some gloves on, and geta broom and dust pan
- Place mousetraps around the attic, near the blown–insulation
- Takw away themice that are caught in the traps
- Place mint plants in your attic.
Mice In Attic Cost
The operation of mice in attic cost at least $300 but no more than $500 for a basic service, including repairs and removing the mice.
However, the cost to remove mice from attic vary greatly.
Health Issues With Rats In Attic
Some of the health issues with rats in attic include the following:
- Murine typhus.
- Rat-bite fever.
Can Rats Live In A Hot Attic
Yes, rats can live in a hot attic. The roof rat is more common in warm areas, and most likely to enter and make a home in your attic.
They seldom like to be seen and live in the walls and inside the attic. They are active year-round, and they can breed in very high numbers.
How To Tell If Rats In Attic
Want to know how to tell if rats in the attic are alive or not, here are some Tell-Tale Signs of rats in the walls or attics
- Scurrying or Squeaking sounds in the walls.
- Soft footstep or running sounds mainly at night.
- Piles of droppings in an area behind a stove, in the basement or attic, or on the ground.
- Wooden spoons, food packages, or containers that have been gnawed on.
Now, you know all about rats in attic health concerns and removal procedures, ensure to share.