How Do You Know If Rats Are Gone? 5 Simple Steps

An example of how it's hard to know if rats are gone or not

Figuring out if rats are gone after you’ve implemented some form of pest control can be challenging. These critters are small and don’t always advertise their movements!

This guide will help you know if rats are gone, and what it means if they suddenly disappear.

Why It Can Be Challenging To Know If Your Rats Are Gone

Rats are a notoriously difficult pest to eliminate from your home, but eradicating them is important. These critters can wreak havoc on your domain, spreading diseases and causing quite the fright when you see them.

Investing in treatment and professional extermination provides peace of mind. But how can you be so sure that the rats are gone for good? You might not see them, but those rodents can still lurk in the shadows.

It is challenging to know that rats are gone for many reasons.

First, these animals are more active at night. During the day, they hide out and wait for the sun to go down. The chances of seeing them are slim unless you stay up all night. They’re master evaders; in many cases, the only signs of their presence are the mess they leave in their wake.

Another reason it’s so hard to get reassurance that rats are gone is because they’re fairly intelligent. Unlike roaches or other pests, rats can learn what to avoid.

If they see other rats die from eating poison, they may learn to avoid it in the future. The same goes for traps and other extermination methods. Some rats will learn what areas to stay out of, allowing them to avoid crossing your path!

That’s why it’s important to be mindful of the results after treating your rat infestation. Even the most powerful extermination methods may fail to eliminate every rat in your home.

How To Determine This Yourself

Whether you do a DIY extermination treatment or go to the professionals, don’t rest on your laurels. You can’t assume that every method works. The key is to pay attention and be vigilant.

Here are some ways to determine if your extermination techniques worked or if rats continue to be an issue in your home.

1. Keep An Eye Out For General Rat Activity

One of the best ways to tell if the rats are gone is to keep an eye out for general rat activity. As we said earlier, rats are most active at night and do a good job staying out of sight. To understand if you still have a rat problem, look for other signs of these pests’ presence.

Take a look around your home. If there was a spot where you first noticed rat activity, check it often!

Telltale signs that rats are still around include droppings and gnaw marks on furniture. You should also look for nesting materials, like hay, shredded paper, or tissue. Accumulated nesting items could indicate that not only do you still have rats, but they could be multiplying!

Because rats are filthy creatures, they often spread dirt. So, look for dirt smudges on skirting boards, floor trim, and the bottom of doors.

Remember to watch food sources. Rats can enter your pantry, chew through food packaging, and steal snacks to stay alive. It’s also common to see holes in and around your property as these pests find ways to navigate your home.

Finally, monitor the smell! A musty or stale smell could indicate that problems persist in areas formerly infested with rats.

2. Monitor Your Traps

Traps are one of the most effective ways to eliminate rats. There are many types available. Whether you use traditional snap traps, glue traps, or catch traps, continue using them.

Don’t assume that other exterminations worked. Continue using traps to get any cunning stragglers, even if you call a professional.

Monitor those traps regularly. Please pay attention to their placement and condition. You don’t have to catch a rat to know if they’re gone or not.

If you notice that some traps were triggered or moved around, you might still have an issue on your hands.

Conversely, not seeing any changes to the traps in several weeks could mean you’re in the clear!

It’s a good idea to expand tap placement. One common issue homeowners face is rat migration. If you focus too much on one area of your home, you might not realize that the rats moved elsewhere to bypass your extermination efforts.

Place traps throughout the house (where it’s safe). Prioritize those spots where rats can easily hide, such as your attic or basement.

Keep an eye on all the traps you set and consider trying new extermination methods if the activity persists.

3. Check For Entry Points In Your Home

Another mistake homeowners make is only focusing on what’s happening inside the house. Remember: Rats found their way into your home somehow. Even if you get rid of the rats currently residing in your basement or attic, others could find their way back in.

Expand your extermination efforts outside your home. More importantly, look for entry points!

Rats are skilled climbers and burrowers. They can easily chew holes through softer materials or climb up through ventilation points on your roof! Not only do they climb, but they can squeeze through holes that are only 20 millimeters in diameter.

For perspective, that’s about the size of a penny!

They only need a little room to get through. As a result, any little gap or hole can be an overlooked access point.

Walk around your home’s exterior and look for anything a rat can squeeze through. Pay close attention to doors. The culprit could be something as simple as a gap between the door and the frame.

It would be best to look at any uncovered ventilation holes, such as dryer outlets or roof drains.

Address any entry points you see. If you need help, consider hiring a professional. They can look at possible entry points in your roof or siding.

After closing all gaps and holes, check on them occasionally to see if rats tried to get through. If those entry points remain closed for several weeks or months, there’s a good chance that the rats are gone.

4. Listen

Don’t rely on your eyes alone to see if rat activity is still a problem. Use your ears, too.

Rats do a fine job of staying out of sight but often give themselves away through the noise they make. Rats are social creatures, so they often live together in large groups. Sometimes, you can hear these groups at night.

The rodents may squeak and squeal when they think being more vocal is safe. Keep your ears to the ground and take note of any social activity you hear.

You may also hear the rats as they scurry around at night. Homeowners with hardwood floors may hear the pest’s little feet hitting the ground as they scurry across the room. Others might hear them as they bite and burrow!

Rats that get into walls are often the most audible. Most homes have hollow walls covered in gypsum material. It creates a quasi-echo chamber at night. The smallest noise can travel through the walls, amplifying the movement of rats.

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where they are, but it’s a noise you can’t miss. It comes from their nails scratching the material behind your wall and the sound of their chewing.

If you’re hearing any of those noises at night, it means that you still have rat problems. But when you start to get peace and quiet after the sun goes down, you can rest easy knowing that the rats are gone!

5. Be Patient

Our final tip is to be patient.

We get it: The idea of having rats in your home is enough to make your skin crawl. But you must remember that getting rid of these pests is often not a one-and-done ordeal. These creatures are resilient, and it sometimes takes a while to get rid of them all.

Be patient and give your extermination treatments time to work. Rats might not fall prey to the traps you place right away. If you’re using bait traps, it might take several days for the rodenticides to take effect. Even then, the rats need time to bring the bait back to the den to affect the rest of the rat population.

You can’t rush these things, so don’t expect extermination treatments to start working immediately.

It’s always a good idea to employ multiple extermination strategies. Consider combining methods, such as setting both bait traps and traditional traps. You can also set traps even if you go down the route of rodent fumigation.

Whatever the case, give those methods time to work. Keep an eye on rat activity and look for signs of rodents for several weeks after you attempt to eliminate the pests.

If you’re still seeing signs of rats, don’t be afraid to try something new or call a professional. Monitor the situation and do inspections frequently to ensure you get rid of all rats and keep your home pest-free.             


Now that you know how to determine if rats are gone or not, it’s time to do a sweep of your house. Be patient and thorough!

If you have any questions or still aren’t sure if these pests are around, feel free to let us know. We’re more than happy to help.

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