What are the health risks involved with rat infestation? How much does a rat exterminator cost in Australia?

Dealing with unwanted guests like household pests can be a real hassle. If rats have taken up residence in your home, it can make you feel uneasy. Fortunately, calling in professionals to handle the situation is the best way to restore comfort and peace of mind.

A rat exterminator will assess your situation and devise a plan to evict the rodents. Depending on the severity of the infestation, this plan might involve using traps, baits, or even fumigation. While removing a single rat is relatively affordable, tackling larger infestations will incur higher costs.

Below, we’ve provided an overview of rat extermination costs, along with tips for recognizing a rat invasion and preventing future infestations.

How many types of rats in Australia?

Australia is home to several species of rats, including both native and introduced species. Some of the most common types of rats found in Australia include:

  1. Black Rat (Rattus rattus): Also known as the ship rat, it is one of the most widespread rat species globally and is found in various habitats in Australia.
  2. Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus): Also called the Norway rat, it is another widespread species that has been introduced to Australia and is found in urban and rural areas.
  3. Bush Rat (Rattus fuscipes): This is a native species of rat found in eastern Australia, particularly in forested areas.
  4. Rattus lutreolus: Also known as the Australian swamp rat or water rat, it is found in wetland habitats across southern Australia.
  5. Rattus tunneyi: Commonly known as the pale field rat, it is found in arid and semi-arid regions of central Australia.

These are some of the primary rat species found in Australia, but there may be other lesser-known species as well.

selective focus of small rat near glass jar with barley and mousetraps

What are the signs of rodent infestation in my house?

Rodent infestations can be problematic and should be addressed promptly to avoid damage to property and potential health risks. Here are some common signs that you may have a rodent infestation in your house:

  1. Droppings: Rodent droppings are a clear sign of infestation. They are typically small, dark, and pellet-shaped. Finding droppings in areas like cupboards, drawers, or along baseboards indicates rodent activity.
  2. Gnaw marks: Rodents have a constant need to gnaw to keep their teeth from growing too long. Look for gnaw marks on furniture, walls, baseboards, and food packaging. Fresh gnaw marks will appear light-coloured, while older ones may be darker.
  3. Nesting materials: Rodents often use materials like shredded paper, fabric, insulation, or plant matter to build nests. Finding nests in hidden areas such as wall voids, attics, or behind appliances suggests a rodent presence.
  4. Scratching noises: Rodents are active at night, so you may hear scratching or scampering sounds coming from walls, ceilings, or floors, especially during quiet hours.
  5. Visible rodents: In some cases, you may spot live rodents or their corpses. Rodents are usually nocturnal, so sightings during the day can indicate a significant infestation.
  6. Grease marks: Rodents frequently travel along walls and baseboards, leaving greasy marks on their fur. These marks may appear as dark smudges along pathways.
  7. Chewed or damaged items: Rodents may chew on various items, including food packaging, electrical wires, insulation, and wood. Look for signs of damage, particularly in areas where rodents are likely to forage.
  8. Unusual pet behaviour: Pets, especially cats and dogs, may exhibit unusual behaviour, such as pawing at walls or showing heightened interest in certain areas, if they detect rodents in the house.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take action to address the rodent infestation promptly. This may involve implementing rodent control measures or contacting a pest control professional for assistance.

What are the health risks involved with rat infestation?

Domestic rat in a cage holds food with its paws and eats. A rodent with whiskers, a tail, and whitefooted mice is sitting in a cage, gazing out the window. It may be a pet or a pest like packrats

Rat infestations pose significant health risks to humans due to the potential for disease transmission and contamination of food and living spaces. Some of the primary health risks associated with rat infestations include:

  1. Spread of Diseases: Rats can carry various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, that can cause diseases in humans. Common diseases transmitted by rats include:
    • Leptospirosis: A bacterial infection that can cause flu-like symptoms, jaundice, kidney damage, and meningitis.
    • Salmonellosis: A bacterial infection that causes symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting.
    • Hantavirus: A viral infection transmitted through contact with rat urine, droppings, or saliva, which can lead to a severe respiratory illness called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
    • Rat-bite fever: A bacterial infection transmitted through rat bites or scratches, causing fever, rash, joint pain, and other flu-like symptoms.
  2. Allergies and Asthma: Rodent droppings, urine, and dander can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and exacerbate symptoms of asthma.
  3. Contamination of Food and Water: Rats can contaminate food and water sources with their droppings, urine, and hair, leading to the spread of diseases such as salmonellosis and leptospirosis.
  4. Damage to Property: Rodents gnaw on various materials, including wood, plastic, and electrical wiring, which can cause structural damage and increase the risk of fires or electrical hazards.
  5. Infestation of Parasites: Rats can host external parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites, which may infest human living spaces and pose additional health risks.
  6. Psychological Impact: The presence of rats in the home can cause psychological distress, anxiety, and fear, particularly for individuals with rodent phobias.

To mitigate these health risks, it’s essential to take prompt action to address rodent infestations through effective pest control measures, proper sanitation practices, and regular maintenance of the living environment. Seeking professional assistance from pest control experts may be necessary for severe infestations. Additionally, practising good hygiene, sealing entry points, and storing food properly can help prevent future infestations and reduce health risks associated with rats.

How much does a rat exterminator cost in Australia?

The cost of hiring a rat exterminator in Australia can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the infestation, the size of the property, the location, and the specific services required. Generally, the cost can range from $150 to $350 or more for a single treatment, but it’s essential to obtain quotes from multiple pest control companies for accurate pricing.

Some pest control companies offer initial inspections for free or at a nominal fee, during which they assess the extent of the infestation and provide a quote for their services. The cost may also vary based on the type of treatment methods used, such as baiting, trapping, or chemical treatments, as well as any follow-up visits required to ensure the infestation is eradicated.

It’s advisable to choose a reputable pest control company with experience in rat extermination and to inquire about their pricing structure, guarantees, and any additional fees before committing to their services. Additionally, consider seeking recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews to find a reliable and affordable pest control provider in your area.

cropped view of exterminator in blue latex glove catching rat near brick wall

Factors affecting rat extermination costs

The total cost of rat extermination depends on several factors, including the extent of the infestation, the size of your property, and the method of removal.

  1. Infestation Severity: Dealing with a few rats is easier than tackling a large infestation. As the extermination process begins, you may realize the problem is more extensive than initially thought. Pest control professionals typically start with a few traps and may need to return to set more traps if the infestation is severe, which can increase the cost.
  2. Property Size: If rats have spread throughout your entire home rather than being confined to a specific area like the attic or basement, it will increase the cost of extermination. Additionally, if rats are hiding in hard-to-reach spots, such as air ducts or beneath floorboards, it can further raise costs.
  3. Removal Method: There are three main methods of rat removal: traps, chemicals, and fumigation. Traditional traps are usually cheaper than live traps or chemical treatments. Fumigation, typically used for severe infestations, is the most expensive option.
  4. Access Points: Rats can enter through tiny openings, so sealing these entry points after extermination is crucial. Some pest control companies offer this service, which adds to the overall cost.

Timeline for rat removal

The time needed to eliminate rats varies depending on factors such as infestation severity, property size, and chosen removal method.

  1. Property Size: Larger properties may require more time to eliminate rats due to more hiding spots.
  2. Infestation Severity: Minor infestations with few rats can be eradicated more quickly than extensive infestations with multiple rats and nests.
  3. Extermination Method: Different methods yield varying results and timelines. Trapping is effective for individual rats but may take longer for complete eradication. Professional pest control services typically offer the fastest and most thorough solution.

Considering these factors can help determine both the cost and timeline for rat extermination.

DIY or hiring a rat exterminator

Choosing between DIY pest control and hiring a professional exterminator depends on various factors. If you’ve noticed signs of a rat infestation, such as droppings, nests, or gnawed holes, it’s essential to address the problem promptly. Here’s a breakdown of the two options:

DIY Pest Control: One advantage of tackling the issue yourself is cost-effectiveness. DIY methods allow you to control expenses by selecting your approach to rat removal. However, while it may save money, it might not be as effective since DIYers often lack the expertise to handle the problem thoroughly.

Professional Extermination: Hiring a professional exterminator offers convenience and effectiveness. An expert rat exterminator has the knowledge and tools to eliminate rats safely and efficiently, minimizing risks to you and your family. They utilize safe traps and proper disposal methods, along with expertise in handling chemicals safely. Additionally, they can provide guidance on preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of future infestations.

Ultimately, the decision boils down to your preferences, budget, and the severity of the infestation. While DIY methods may seem cost-effective initially, professional assistance can ensure thorough and lasting rat removal while prioritizing safety.

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