The Norway rat and the roof rat are the two most common species of rat in the United States. Norway rats are larger than roof rats and prefer to make their nests inside of underground burrows. However, if these rats make it inside a home, they will make a nest in just about any secluded place. Some common household nest locations for Norway rats include upholstered furniture, inside walls, unused drawers, and woodpiles. Roof rats are excellent climbers. They make nests in the attic, fake ceilings, and upper cupboards. Rat nests are lined with fibrous material including chewed wood, insulation, and strips of fabric. Baby rats remain in the nest until they are one month old.
The material contained in a rat nest is the product of chewing. Rats can do considerable damage to the insulation in walls and attics as they make their nests. Norway rats can also undermine the foundation of structures and slabs through burrowing. Rats can carry multiple diseases, and their nests can be a health risk. Ignoring a rat nest will allow rats to reproduce in your home and spread disease.
Trapping and baiting should occur in the vicinity of the rat nest, as this is the most commonly visited area by the rat. After the rat has been killed, proceed to clean up the nest. Wear gloves and a mask to avoid contamination from airborne diseases. Disinfect the nest and surrounding area using a bleach solution or other antibacterial chemical. After the disinfecting solution has soaked into the rat nest, place the nest in a sealable plastic bag and put it in an outside trashcan that is periodically emptied. Search the foundation of your home for holes or cracks through which rats can enter. Seal these holes with caulk to prevent any further rat problems.
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