Rats and their Control

Norway rat against a white background.

The rat holds a special place in the hearts of exterminators the world over because our profession began with rat control. Rats were the first pests that were known to be linked to the spread of disease.

In fact, there's some evidence suggesting that rats have been known to be associated with disease since biblical times. Many scholars believe that the plague mentioned in First Samuel in the Old Testament was actually bubonic plague, that the "tumors" actually refer to the buboes (or sores) associated with that disease, and that the rats reflected an ancient knowledge that the rats were somehow connected with the plague.

Whatever the case, by the Middle Ages, the association between rats and disease was well-known, and the first pest control professionals were called "rat catchers." Even today, rat control is among the most important work that pest management professionals do because of the public health and economic consequences of rat infestations.

The rat in this picture on the top of this page is the Norway rat (also known as the brown rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, or river rat), which is the most common rat found in Dayton, the Miami Valley, and most of Ohio. Roof rats are found mainly in the Southern United States.

Rats as Pests

There are good reasons why rats hold the dubious distinction of having been the first animal that people hated so much that they were willing to pay other people to kill them.

For example, there are the health problems associated with rats. In addition to being involved in the spreading of plague, rats are also associated with the transmission of hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, rat-bite fever, salmonella, tularemia, and other diseases. They also cause physical injuries when they bite humans or domestic animals.

In addition to the diseases directly transmitted by rats, their parasites carry even more bacterial and viral diseases. They also create unhealthful conditions and foul odors by their urine, droppings, and shed fur.

Rats also cause physical damage to homes when they gnaw their way into buildings, damage items that are stored in areas that the rats infest, damage car wiring and upholstery by gnawing on it, and cause countless fires every year when they gnaw on the insulation of electrical wiring.

Finally, rats are a formidable foe for exterminators. Their adaptability, cautious nature, and prolific reproduction make rats among the most challenging pests to eliminate from an area.

Modern, Environmentally-Sound Rat Control

Wires damaged by rat gnawing, causing a fire hazard

For many years, the primary rat control methods used by exterminators have depended on the use of rodenticides, or rat poisons. That's still the way most exterminators take care of rat problems. But relying on poisons as the major part of a rat control program in a home or other building isn't a very good way of doing it, for several reasons.

First of all, poisoned rats often die inside buildings. Unless their carcasses can be retrieved, they can stink up the place for weeks, or sometimes months, depending on temperature and humidity. The old story that rats "go outside to seek water" after being poisoned is more wishful thinking than fact. Rats, like any other animal, tend to go home when they feel sick; and if their home happens to be your home, that's probably where they will die.

Secondly, using poisons as the sole or primary rat control method, and ignoring exclusion ("rat-proofing"), means that the job's never really finished. You'll be paying the exterminator to come refill the bait boxes for... well, basically forever. Until the building is made rat-resistant, new rats will continue to move in as quickly as the old rats are killed.

Finally, some rat poisons are secondarily toxic, which means that an animal that eats a poisoned rat will also be poisoned. This makes every poisoned rat a potential danger to non-target animals ranging from house cats to birds of prey.

These are the reasons why at Dayton Pest Control, we don't consider poisons to be the first-line tools for rat extermination. Our focus is on rat exclusion, which provides more effective and more permanent control than simply filling bait boxes with poison every month. We complete many rat extermination jobs using no poisons at all. When we do use them, it's usually in exterior bait stations to control rats that are living outside.

The end result is that you get a home that's not only rat free, but also rat-proof. The rats have been sealed out -- for good.

Please contact us for more information about our long-lasting, earth-friendly rat extermination services.


Jarrod's Corner

Concerns about termites?  Call today at 937-478-5776 for a free inspection. Here we are performing a chemical treatment. We also offer termite bait systems. 


--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Apr 28, 2019 05:53:39 pm.

Mosquito season is quickly approaching.  We offer ongoing service for season long protection, as well as one time service for special events like weddings, graduation parties, etc.  Call us today at 937-478-5776 to find out more!

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--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Mar 20, 2019 04:17:09 pm.

Are ants invading your home?  Let us help!  Call 937-478-5776 for a free no obligation quote over the phone!


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--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Mar 15, 2019 11:06:40 am.

Termites are veracious feeders that cause over $5 billion dollars in annual damage to your most important investment (your home!).

Termite season is upon us.  If you suspect a problem or are considering preventative termite treatment, call us today at 937-478-5776 for a free termite insoection!

--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Mar 13, 2019 04:21:03 pm.

Bed bug heat treatment. 



--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Feb 27, 2019 01:31:23 pm.

Rodent season is upon us. If you suspect mice have invaded your home, give us a call today!  We work hard to keep your home pest free!

--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Jan 10, 2019 12:21:45 pm.

The Dayton area just ranked #34 in the nation for bed bugs. If you need help, call today for a free estimate. Here is a picture from a heat treatment today in Huber Heights. 


--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Nov 02, 2018 11:12:28 am.

Here are some impressive mud tubes found at a home in Englewood. We treated this home with a combo chemical/bait treatment. 


--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Oct 03, 2018 09:12:44 pm.

Check out today’s latest post from a termite treatment in Springfield!


--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Sep 20, 2018 08:58:53 pm.

We service the entire Miami Valley for all your pest control needs. Today, we were in Springfield helping a customer with bed bugs. 


--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Sep 05, 2018 10:07:21 am.

Check out this video from a bed bug heat treatment done near downtown Dayton today. 


--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Aug 29, 2018 11:08:23 am.

I’m often asked by my customers if our vehicles will have a big bug on the side of it when we arrive for a service call. This question always comes up when we are called for a bed bug problem. Take a look at the following link ...



--Posted by Jarrod Kelley on
Aug 24, 2018 03:24:44 pm.

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