In the past, I have written several articles on rats and other rodents. Most of us have never had a real problem with rats. In many of the areas in which we live rats are hardly ever seen and rarely cause a problem.
After a real disaster this would change. Without the controls and efforts of government and the easy availability of poisons, rats and other rodents will multiply over time. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, we may have a short respite right after the disaster while the rats recover and start to multiply. Check the article Rodent Control Problems After TEOTWAWKI for more information on this.
Ok so how do you keep the rats under control? First, take advantage of the lull. Kill every rat you see so that they don’t get a chance to multiply. Once they are established its much harder to get rid of them.
So why are we so concerned about rats? Mainly for two reasons, they complete with us for food and they spread disease. This includes diseases like Hantavirus, Leptospirosis and the plague. The plague killed thousands of people during the dark ages in Europe; it was spread by the fleas the rats carried. The rats will attack your food supply and contaminate what they do not eat. Rats mark their territory with urine and feces as they explore their surroundings. This helps them keep a scent-marked path that they can safely use over and over again. They will urinate and defecate on your food. Make sure your foods are properly package and stored in rat proof containers or areas. Rats can chew through 5 gallon plastic buckets, so we store them in a rat proof container.
You need to kill every rat that you see and at the same time make your home as rat proof as possible. You need to keep the following building supplies on hand so that you can properly maintain your home and do any needed repairs to keep it rat and rodent proof.
- 19-gauge or greater metal mesh, wire screening, or hardware cloth (1/4-inch or less spacing is preferred),
- steel wool,
- heavy-duty caulk or elastomeric sealant
- Expanding foam.
- Small holes can often be covered with metal that you recycle from tin cans.
We have expanded our preps to include rat poison, rat traps, and a reel mower to keep the grass down around our home. Minimizing the available cover near your home that rats can live in will help. This sometimes is a problem because the thorny bushes you plant to keep people out provide great homes for rats and other rodents.
If you have poultry, remember that nothing, attracts rats and mice faster than chicken feed. Keep it sealed in a metal container, and don’t put out a lot of extra. A good cat can help. But our best solution has been traps. With our homemade ones we have been able to catch several rats at a time. The two following posts talk a bit about how to protect your home and the second tell you about the homemade rat traps we have used.
The problem of rats and rodents can be solved, but a bit of preplanning can make it alot easier.