By Zachary Ciras on November 23, 2020.

I think I saw a rat in our yard this morning! It was larger than a mouse and ran under the deck. I don’t want rats but I also don’t really want pest control techs in my house right now because of coronavirus. Is there anything we can do?

L.L., Waltham, MA

You’ve come to the right place! At Colonial Pest, we have established a very workable plan for dealing with COVID-19 risk that prioritizes the health of our customers and our technicians – see COVID-19: Colonial Pest Control’s Response to Coronavirus, and feel free to call us with any questions.

Norway rat. Shutterstock.

The really good news though is that control of Norway rats is rarely an inside job. Rat control is usually an outside job with no need to enter the structure. We can safely inspect your yard, identify the animal in question, and implement control measures with no person-to-person customer contact, outside of phone and email communications.


It’s not too surprising that you would have a rat problem at this time, even if you never had one before. I don’t know whether you live in a city or maybe near an industrial area, but pest management professionals are finding that rats have been moving out of typical inner-city areas and into outlying areas in a search for food (see Starving Rats Are Moving into New Areas). Like humans, rats are having a hard time dealing with coronavirus because of the many restaurant and other business shutdowns that are depriving them of their normal food supply from dumpsters and alley garbage.


In any case, the reason rats establish in any new area is because they have found an easy food supply. Think about whether you are providing food for rats in the form of accessible garbage, bird feeder spillage, pet food left out, pet feces left out, fallen tree nuts, or rotting garden produce left on the ground, to name a few. For a full list of unintentional rat food lures, see Manage Food and Garbage to Manage Rats.

Of course, the rat you saw may just have been passing through. Our technician will inspect your yard looking first for evidence left by rats (burrows, fecal droppings, foot prints, etc.) that would help confirm its identity. Then, the presence of any signs of active nesting will further confirm (or rule out) that you do indeed have a growing rat problem on your property.

Norway rat outside. Shutterstock.

Fortunately, you seem to have spotted a potential rat problem early on so it will be much easier to eliminate any rats and advise you on how to further rat-proof your property to make it less desirable to rodents in the future. In neighborhoods, rats may roam and nest in several different yards so sometimes a group approach to rat control is necessary (see When the Rats Belong to the Neighbors…).

Give Colonial Pest a call today. No time to delay when it comes to rats, or one may soon be ten!

For more information on dealing with rats, see:



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