To get rid of rats in the basement, it’s essential, first of all, to understand why they’re there. Often drawn in by warmth and food sources, these unwanted guests can make a real nuisance of themselves. In this article, we will delve into various methods – from traditional traps to modern, chemical solutions – to help you reclaim your space. Prepare to bid farewell to your uninvited rodent visitors.

I. What are the signs of rats in the basement?

When rats invade a basement, you can see the signs as early as the first few days. First of all, you need to pay attention to the following:

# Feces.

Appears in some places, but most often near food. Litter looks like dark-brown, elliptical granules 3 to 8 mm in size.

It is most often found near foodstuffs, but can also be found on rodent trails.

Therefore, if droppings are found anywhere, it’s worth taking a closer look at these areas, as there’s a chance of encountering the animal.

# Food scraps.

Rats and mice are omnivores. They check everything they come across and often scatter things that are not edible for them or their fragments.

If rodents take up residence in a basement, there will soon be strange food scraps scattered around in places you didn’t even know existed.

# Damage to furniture and other objects.

Rodents can chew through anything. Rats with strong teeth are very dangerous.

Their bite marks can be found on walls, cables, pipes and many other places that not only disfigure, but also threaten to damage.

If they reach electrical wiring, plumbing and other communications, it can cause a breakdown, flood or even fire.

# Basement noise.

Rats are quite large animals, so you can hear the sounds of their presence: squeaking, moving, etc.

II. How do you get rid of rats in the basement?

Rats can be in the cellar for a variety of reasons. The cellar is usually a warm, dry place sheltered from the outside climate, so it provides a comfortable environment for these pests.

In addition, if there are food or water sources available in the basement, such as pet food or even sealed food stores, mice may be attracted to these food sources.

Basements often have cracks or fissures in the walls or floors, so rats could easily enter from the outside in search of a safe haven.

Water and sewage pipes can also provide entrances for rats if not properly sealed.

1. How do you use rat poison effectively and safely?

Rat poison is the most effective form of rodent control in basements.

However, the poison can be dangerous not only for mice and rats, but also for humans.

That’s why it’s important to know how rat poison works, to avoid any inconvenience.

Rat poison (rodenticide) is a rodent control agent that is a chemical-based poison mixed with bait.

Like many other rodenticide poisons, they are divided according to the principle of exposure.

In general, all rodenticides can be divided into acute and chronic poisons.

# Acute poisons

Acute poisons differ in that they act on rats and other rodents as soon as they are ingested. The disadvantage of acute rodenticides is that rodents may begin to avoid poisoned baits. They are also extremely dangerous for pets.

# Chronic poisons

Chronic poisons work differently. They are administered in small doses, so their effect appears much later than with acute rodenticides. As a result, it will take longer to get rid of these parasites.

This type of rodenticide is more effective than instant poisons. Rats don’t notice the link between the death of other rodents and food. So they don’t avoid poisoned bait.

Chronic poisons are less dangerous to pets because the concentration of poison in a portion of bait is too low to cause serious damage.

 Poisons act as anticoagulants, causing internal haemorrhaging that leads to certain death.

2. Are rat traps effective in the basement?

The mechanical trap:

One of the best-known and most common traps is the mechanical or spring trap, which is created with a simple spring mechanism into which is inserted a bait that attracts the rat.

Any rodent approaching the bait triggers the mechanism, which closes, trapping or killing the mouse.

Then there are the traps that capture the rat alive, which are self-closing containers that are triggered when the rat enters the box to eat the bait it contains.

The type of bait chosen depends on the type of rodent and must be strategically positioned to allow the flap to close, catching the rat.

If baited traps are used, it is important to wear gloves when handling the food as rats can recognize the smell of humans and will not approach the trap.

Glue traps:

As an alternative to food bait traps, you can opt for the glue trap. This type of trap is created using rigid cardboard or a board coated with rat glue.

The trap can be enriched with food to attract the rat, or simply placed on the path the rat usually takes.

To identify the path, simply look where droppings are left when passing or stopping, in any case along walls and under furniture.

And when preparing the trap, make sure you don’t get stuck, as the glue is very strong and difficult to remove from skin or clothing. In particular, you mustn’t touch your eyes or mouth with your hands or objects soiled with glue.

You must also be very careful in the presence of pets or children, who could touch the trap with serious health risks.

3. Are there any home remedies to deter rats?

There are a variety of natural and household methods you can use to keep rats out of your basement. here are just a few:

Baking soda:

If you’ve got a pack of baking soda in the pantry, consider using it as a rat repellent.

It’s a totally eco-friendly and safe deterrent, which can be easily distributed in the areas considered most at risk, before being removed with a vacuum cleaner or simple sweeping. In this case, there is no danger to children or pets.

Fox urine:

Foxes are nocturnal predators par excellence (there are many others, such as the barn owl), and their presence is a very strong danger signal for mice.

Use bottles of fox urine, available in some stores.

Snake droppings:

Use dried reptile droppings, available from reptile houses, zoos or some exotic pet supply outlets, remembering to place them near entrances, in areas inaccessible to pets and children.

4. Do ultrasonic rat repellents work in basements?

In most cases, rat ultrasonics operate at frequencies ranging from 25,000 Hz to 65,000 Hz: a perfect range of action to discourage not only rats, but also other pests such as mosquitoes, cockroaches and even ants.

As expected, a professional rat ultrasonic device allows you to vary the frequencies, so you can emit waves capable of eliminating several pests at once.

Secondly, the above-mentioned feature is also ideal for preventing rats from getting used to this particular type of noise. So when buying an ultrasonic rat repellent, make sure it gives you the option of exploiting a wide range of frequencies.

But there’s much more to sound analysis than that. Specifically, there are three factors to consider: sound quality, reverberation and the number of loudspeakers (or speakers).

To sum up, ultrasonic rat devices work, provided you choose a professional model, so you don’t cut corners.

Bear in mind, however, that a device of this type has its limits, especially when you’re going to use it in an environment already suffering from a heavy infestation.

If you find that your device isn’t working, you’ll have to resort to traps, or other solutions such as rat poison or mouse glue, especially in the basement of a holiday home.

5. Is there a natural way to get rid of rats in the basement?

To expel rats from a basement without destroying it. You can scare the pests away with strong scents, such as

  • Essential oils with strong, sharp aromatic components – lemon balm, lavender, peppermint, chamomile, you can use an aroma lamp or candles;
  • Bleach and natural vinegar – these products are additional disinfectants, and can be used for deep cleaning in areas where rats live;
  • Ammonia – ammonia can be poured into a rat hole or plugged with a cloth soaked in this odorous substance;
  • Fumigation with smoke bombs – the method is rather complicated for basement use, but quite effective.

6. Do cats deter rats in basements?

The cat is one of the rats’ historical enemies. If left free to roam the house and basement, cats can make life miserable for rats, forcing them to leave.

The feline is an instinctive hunter and can also help with its droppings: cat litter is absolutely unwelcome for rats, who identify it as a potential threat. And in fact they make the association ‘urine smell=danger of nearby predators’: it can be useful to place the box near basement doors.

III. What attracts rats to basements?

Food is the first thing that attracts rats to a basement. That’s why if you have to leave food inside, make sure you keep it in an airtight plastic box.

A thorough cleaning of basements and the house is therefore essential. Therefore, carefully clean all surfaces and worktops in the kitchen and other environments likely to attract rodents due to the presence of food residues, using special detergents. 

Don’t leave food around, and seal leftovers in glass or plastic containers.

The same goes for garbage cans, which should always be tightly closed and placed outside your home.

IV. Can rats damage the structure of my basement?

This depends on the structure of the house’s foundations. If they’re made of concrete, there’s nothing to worry about as far as the solidity of the walls is concerned, even if you’re faced with a large infestation.

But in the case of a wooden house, rats can pose a threat to the solidity of retaining walls, especially wooden pillars, which can be tidied up by rats.

In any case, it’s important to get rid of rats in the basement.

V. How do I prevent rats from entering my basement?

Try to eliminate all possible access routes to your home and basement.

Rats can get in anywhere, even in the most unexpected spaces. Check the whole house very carefully for potential access points.

Seal pipes and ventilation ducts.

Window shutter housings are also used as access points.

Put steel wool in pipes and ducts before sealing them. Steel wool will add an extra protective barrier in the event of stubborn rats.

Any openings larger than a pencil sharpener are potential entry points. Be sure to seal them all.

VI. What are the risks associated with having rats in the basement?

The real reason we need to keep mice and rats out of our basements are the diseases they can transmit, both through their droppings and as vectors (like fleas on rats).

Any surface or food in our home and passing through our basement could be contaminated by mouse and rat droppings, putting our health at risk.

Bacteria and viruses that can spread through contact with skin, mucous membranes or the respiratory system.

Diseases transmitted by rodents include leptospirosis and salmonella.

For the record, rat fleas are the main cause of plague and cholera epidemics.

VII. How do you get rid of dead rat smell in the basement?

Smelling the pungent odor of a decomposing animal is one of the things you never want to smell in your home, but unfortunately, it does happen.

The first thing to do is locate the rat carcass and remove it, and that can’t always be easy.

The first thing to do is to open all the windows and air the house thoroughly.

Even if you’ve removed the dead animal, the stench may linger in the house for some time.

If the carcass can’t be found, the stench is bound to continue until the decomposition process is complete.

The unpleasant surprise of a dead rat in a basement can give us the opportunity to clean the furniture, if possible using a disinfectant product which, as well as eliminating germs, is also lightly scented.

For floors, you can also use bleach dissolved in a bucket of water, provided that the surface of the floor allows it and that it does not damage it, of course.

Useful Links:

Efficacy of cholecalciferol rodenticide to control wood rat, Rattus tiomanicus, and its secondary poisoning impact towards barn owl, Tyto javanica javanica

Anticoagulant rodenticide use in oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia and hazard assessment to non-target animals

A scheme for the placement of rodenticide baits for rat eradication on confinement livestock farms