Pest Control’s A Tough Game, But It’s Winnable

Strategizing For Success

Rats aren’t masters of strategy games like chess, but if you’ve ever tried to get rid of them on your own, it may feel as though they are. This is because conventional understanding of rodent intelligence underestimates them on a regular basis. Consider rat poison, as an example. Rats are designed to eat garbage. But if anything can “smell a rat”, it’s another rat.

There’s a great documentary that circulated NetFlix during the Christmas season of 2016 called “Rats”. In that documentary, a professional exterminator describes rodent behavior. He points out that when rats suspect food might be tainted, they send in a weaker—or less “dominant”—member of their group to see if the food is poisoned.

Should the rat stooge bite the bullet, then the other rats avoid that poisoned bait. But an even more disturbing phenomenon is that some giant rats—now called “super rats”—can actually build up tolerance to certain anti-rat pesticide solutions. It works in a way that is likely similar to how some alcoholics build up a certain immunity to cyanide.

If you do a quick Google search on Rasputin’s assassination, you’ll find that this particular Russian monk was difficult to kill. They got him drunk and gave him cyanide, but it didn’t seem to affect him. They had to shoot him and drown him in an icy river to get rid of the guy. The reason is that alcoholics so abuse their liver it becomes able to process portions of cyanide.

Rats ingest substances that are much more toxic than alcohol on a regular basis. Now while this may be an exaggeration conceptually, it’s actually imaginable that some rats might even grow to enjoy certain pesticides like alcoholics “choose their poison”. Over the top? Maybe; but the existence of super rats puts such speculations within the realm of possibility.

Pest Control’s A Tough Game, But It’s Winnable

Going All The Way

The point is, if you want to get rid of rats, you can’t just put out traps and poison. These animals are clever enough to overrule conventional means of pest control. If you really want to get rid of them, you’re going to need multiple strategies. You’ll need to put steel wool in their holes, rat poison in thought-out locations, rat traps where they must travel, and more.

Additionally, you’re going to want to clean the area where an infestation has occurred. What draws rats to a given place is the prevalence of refuse—it’s their natural ecological purpose to be the “bottom feeders” of the world. When there’s a lot of “bottom” to feed on, they’re naturally going to multiply. So you’ve got to clean away the degradation which draws them.

But after you’ve cleaned, you’re still not done. Rats nest in areas that silhouette living spaces. They’ll get in vents, ducts, insulation, and anywhere else where they can safely rest, nest, breed, and expand.

The Infrastructural Angle

Pest Control’s A Tough Game, But It’s Winnable

One aspect of eradicating pest that is fundamental to hygiene is infrastructural; according to, the “greenest” attic cleaning service Los Angeles has to offer: “When rodents and wildlife infest a crawlspace, they nest in the insulation that is tucked between the floor joists under the floor.” It makes sense—is there a place more ideal for a clutch of rats to multiply “safely”?

If you’re going to eradicate the pest problem, you’ve got to go several steps further than simply getting the pests out of your home. You have to eliminate any trace of them, and be proactive in ensuring cleanliness from that point forward. If you don’t, they’ll just show up again a few months later.

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