Malum Pest Control Services

How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Rats?

how long does it take to get rid of rats
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    There are many ways to get rid of rats, traps, poisons, blocking holes, and pest control, but how long does it take to get rid of rats? There are positive and negative reasons to use DIY methods, but there are also great benefits to using a professional pest control service as well.

    So, how long does it take to get rid of rats?

    It generally takes roughly 3 days to one week to get rid of rats with rat poison. Mechanical traps can sometimes take a few days to trap rats because the rodents may be wary of the trap. A pest control professional can remove rats in as little as one day to a few days depending on the size of the infestation.

    This guide will explore how long it takes to eliminate rats from your home or garden. Read on to find out the length of time-based on a variety of different methods.

    How Do I Get Rid of Rats Fast?

    Before we talk about the best ways to get rid of rats, you need to ensure that you have rat-proofed your home in order to prevent a re-infestation. After all, why waste time and money on traps, baits, and poisons only to allow more rats to move back in?

    Rats are not only sneaky, but they are incredibly flexible and able to squeeze their bodies through the smallest of gaps. Therefore, in order to outwit a brown rat, you need to ensure that you detect every possible entry point, no matter how big or small.

    Follow these steps to ensure you can keep the rats away and avoid a rat infestation in the future:

    • Do not leave food or leftovers out on display. Rats are scroungers by nature and will take any scraps they can find. By making sure that you clear away and wipe down all areas after food preparation will prevent rodents from sniffing out their next meal.
    • Make sure that you store all foods in a cupboard or in glass, metal, or plastic containers. And the higher you can place it, the better.
    • Avoid hoarding and excess clutter as it provides places to hide, shelter, and materials to the nest.
    • Seal your rubbish bags before disposing of them and make sure that your outdoor rubbish bins are located well away from your property. Stinky, overflowing bins are incredibly tempting to all sorts of pests and will attract rats from far and wide.
    • If you have pets such as cats and dogs, make sure that their food bowls are not left unattended. Some bowls now come with a timer you can set to limit the amount of time the food is exposed. Make sure you wash the bowls thoroughly after every meal so that the smell does not entice rodents in.

    There are a few different approaches you can take to achieve rat control in your home or garden, so let’s take a look at each.


    Rats and mice have very sensitive internal systems, even though they are in fact mammals. When eliminating insects from your home, you may notice that the process is a bit easier and this is because insects are completely insect driven with only tiny, instinctive brains. Rodents are a bit more clever and therefore it would not be beneficial to try and use chemicals targeting insects to smell-sensitive rodents.

    Therefore, chemicals that are actually quite common to human beings are the main types of poisons used to kill rodents. Diphacinone, bromadiolone, and brodifacoum are anticoagulants that are hidden inside of an attractive bait substance that should be placed in areas where rodents frequent. These chemicals slowly break down blood clotting inside of the rodents, which causes their blood to poison their systems, resulting in death.

    Rodents are mammals, which means their brains are more in tune with logic and thinking. Strong insecticides will usually cause rodents to simply regurgitate the poison and are therefore ineffective. Anticoagulants poison the rodent’s system within 3-6 days, so it is important to remember that you will need to put some work into maintaining the bait to ensure rodent mortality.

    Note: Anticoagulant rodent poison is the most common and preferred type of rodent poison. There are non-anticoagulant rodent poisons available and the most popular are strychnine, bromethalin, and sodium fluoroacetate. The most important fact about these types of poisons worth mentioning is that they are extremely toxic and deadly to rodents… and human beings. Anticoagulant rat poisons are safe for humans and large pets, and with patience, they are lethal to rodents.

    Rat Traps

    A rat trap is also a great way to get rid of rats. You can line the trap with peanut butter or cheese and simply wait for the rodent(s) to cross onto the trap to take the food waste. Traps probably take the longest amount of time to address a rat problem, therefore, it is important to give the rodents easy access to snap traps to ensure the rats are trapped.

    No matter which types of traps you decide to use, it can sometimes take days for rats to get up the courage to actually take the bait and fall for the trap. This is exactly the same for poisons because the rodents are wary of new changes in their area, even if the new change is ly available food.

    How Do You Stop a Rat Infestation?

    Rats are nocturnal so they sleep during the day and forage for food at night. However, if hungry enough they will risk scurrying around in daylight hours in order to seek out supplies. Therefore, there is a chance that you may see a rat scampering across your kitchen floor. And where there is one, there will be many more because rats are social rodents who like to live in packs.

    If you don’t see a rat, chances are that you might hear them tiptoeing across floorboards, scratching inside the walls, or chewing through cables.

    Other signs of pesky night-time visitors include droppings. On average a normal-sized rat will produce up to 40 stools a night. These droppings will be dark brown in color and around the size of a single grain of rice. You are most likely to spot rat droppings around food sources, pet dishes, and rubbish bins.

    Finally, rats thrive in dirty conditions, so tend to have greasy bodies. Due to their poor vision, they rely on their other senses such as smell and touch, so look out for oily smudge and smear marks along surfaces and walls.

    Pests such as brown rats and mice can easily access a property, and when they do, they can spread disease and cause serious damage. Rats often damage structures by burrowing, biting, and gnawing at insulation, wiring, and wood. Over time, their efforts can produce gashes and holes that allow entry for more rodents and pests. Check your home for these signs of damage and take the following steps as needed.

    See our post on rat holes in your garden.

    How Long Does it Take for Rat Poison to Kill a Rat?

    Rat poison is a controversial practice, even in pest control. As rats are natural scavengers, they will eat anything, and everything put in their path. So, in order to gain back control, one of the easiest ways to kill a rat is to provide it with food that has been laced with poison.

    The best rat poisons and rodenticides work due to their toxic ingredients such as anticoagulants, that are designed to thin the blood and prevent it from clotting. Depending on the strength of the poison, both single and multiple feed baits are available to buy off the shelf. It is important to note, however, that certain jurisdictions may have strict controls on how rat poison is used.

    Children and pets are also susceptible to the side effects of rat poison, so it is really important that you use alternative methods. But if poison is the only way to destroy rats in your home, and all entry points have been sealed, and traps are not effective in rat removal, poison can work well for rat infestations.

    Anticoagulant rodent poisons are not like traditional poisons, which are usually repellent to rodents. Anticoagulants will take time to poison a rodent’s system, so it is important to have patience during the process and be sure to refill the bait once you notice it missing. Anticoagulants generally take 2-3 days to kill mice and 3-6 days to kill rats.

    No exact timetable can be given because rodent’s systems may vary depending on different factors. Rodents can be picky about certain types of bait, so do not be surprised if you notice the bait has not been eaten in a day or two. Also, the larger the rodent, the more time it will take for internal bleeding to completely poison the rodent.


    If DIY measures are proving to be futile, pest control is likely your best method to consider. Here at Malum Southern Pest & Bird Control, we can provide the following:

    • Inspect your property to identify the source and extent of your rat infestation. Once located we will begin treatment by laying rodenticides and/or traps, all within a controlled and safe environment.
    • We will return, reset, replenish, and dispose of any dead rodents from your property within a one-week period.
    • Upon our third and final visit, we will remove all rodenticides and traps, talking you through recommendations to reduce the risk of any future infestations.

    Contact us today for a quote and let us help cut down the time it takes to achieve rodent control with DIY methods that may not even work.

    Got rats in your loft? Read this article for guidance and advice!

    Picture of Dean McFarlane
    Dean McFarlane
    Dean is an expert pest control specialist and has been providing pest control services for over 10 years. His company Malum Southern Pest & Bird Control can deal with a wide range of pest problems and is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

    Request a quote today

    We are experts in private and commercial pest control in Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex. If you think you have a problem with pests call us for a quote.

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