How Do I Get Rid of Rodents in My Ceiling?

Grey Rodent Head - 1

Rodents have been known to inhabit ceilings – if you have ever experienced a problem with these pests, chances are that you may have heard them scurrying around from one part of the ceiling to another. Other than their movements causing a lot of disturbance, rodents are also dangerous in the sense that they cause a lot of damage to property and most of them are disease vectors. Read on to find out how you can get rid of these pests.

How do I get rid of rodents in my ceiling? There are a variety of ways you can deal with a rodent infestation, including repellents, poison, and perhaps the most popular method – traps.

  1. Snap traps a pressure-sensitive switch that activates when a mouse makes contact.
  2. Electronic traps are considered to be more humane as mice and other similarly-sized rodents are killed by a voltage electric shock within moments.
  3. Glue traps feature a sticky surface that captures the rodent when it goes for the bait.

To ensure that you keep rodents out of your ceiling permanently, it is important that you rodent-proof your home by sealing holes and gaps that they may use to gain access to your living area.

Like other pests, rodents prefer to take up residence in less-frequented areas of your home such as the ceiling. These pests are known for damaging structures, chewing through electrical wires, and transmitting diseases. Here is a detailed breakdown of how you can deal with rodents.

The different types of traps you can use to get rid of rodents

  • Electric traps – Electric traps are considered to be one of the more humane and hygienic ways to kill rodents. To operate an electric trap, you will need to open the lid and place appropriate bait at one end. A rodent will be lured to enter the trap to reach the bait, and once it is inside a lethal voltage electric shock will kill it within moments.

You can then tip out the dead rodent into the trash and re-bait your electric trap. If you are skittish about having to touch or see a dead rodent, consider this trap as it is enclosed in plastic, saving you from the hustle of dealing with a dead animal. These types of traps are highly effective, plus you can reuse them over several years. Many varieties of electric traps operate on standard AA batteries, with some featuring red and green lights that are intended to indicate low battery and a captured rodent, respectively.

  • Snap traps – A snap trap that has a wooden base features a spring-loaded metal bar that functions by snapping down once it is activated by a rodent, consequently trapping or killing it. Bait is typically situated on a pressure-sensitive switch that is activated when a rodent attempts to move it.

Plastic varieties of snap traps feature a small cup where you can place the bait. Another feature that sets plastic snap traps apart from wooden varieties is the lever – the lever in the former goes back 90 degrees, while in the latter it goes back 180 degrees. As a result, the trap in plastic varieties is sprung much quicker than in wooden models. A downside for some is the fact that you are forced to handle a dead rodent when getting rid of it from the trap.

If you are concerned about using snap traps around children and pets, consider going for an enclosed model. These varieties are one-use disposables, so you don’t have to worry about coming into contact with a dead rodent. Their functioning is similar to that of a standard snap trap, although the trigger is not as sensitive, which makes them less effective when it comes to capturing particularly small rodents such as mice.

  • Glue traps – Glue traps are one of the simpler types of traps as they typically don’t feature mechanical parts. As the name suggests, a rodent gets trapped on a sticky adhesive surface that keeps it from escaping when it goes for the bait. Glue traps are somewhat controversial, especially since many people consider them to be inhumane as the trap often doesn’t kill the rodent, leaving it to suffer until it dies.

Additionally, they are not as effective as some other types of traps as rodents can sometimes escape. As a result, you may want to use them in combination with electronic traps or snap traps to increase their effectiveness.

  • Live-catch traps – Live-catch traps, also commonly referred to as catch and release traps can be made of plastic and metal. A bait lures a rodent to enter the trap, after which it sets off a trigger-activated door to close and trap the rodent inside.

It is important to keep a close eye on these types of traps to ensure that you find captured rodents alive. If you opt to release a rodent back into the wild, ensure that you do it a considerable distance away from your property to reduce the risk of them finding their way back to your home. Keep in mind that you will have to come in contact with the rodent when releasing it from the trap, so if you are skittish, this type of trap may not be the best option.

Trapping tips to capture rodents

  • Ensure you place the traps in the right places – To get rid of rodents living in your ceiling, take into consideration the type of home that you live in. if your ceiling features an attic above it, then you will want to set up traps there.  While it might not be ideal to crawl around in your attic, it is relatively easy to find areas where you can place traps.

A drop ceiling, on the other hand, does not have as much space for you to move around in, but it features tiles that you can remove. It is worth mentioning that you will need a step ladder to allow you to easily set traps on the tiles.

If you suspect that there are rodents in the ceiling between the first and second floor of your home, your solution is to set up traps in other parts of your home that you can access such as the attic, or the points of exit and entry that the rodents have been using to get into your home.

  • Choosing bait for traps – The bait you choose to use for a rodent trap will depend on the species of rodent you are attempting to capture as diets vary from one species to another. For example, brown rats are omnivores, whereas black rats are herbivores. Black rats, which are known to climb trees and gain access to homes through cracks and crevices in attics, are particularly fond of peanut butter.

Brown rats, which can commonly be found rummaging through garbage, can be lured with bacon bits. Regardless of the preferred diet of the rodent you are dealing with, food with potent smells such as pet food, cheese, and nuts are effective at luring rodents.

  • Allow rodents to get accustomed to traps – Rodents are quite smart and have been known to steer clear of new objects in their environs, which is why traps may take a long time to lure prey. When the infestation in your home persists, an effective strategy to consider involves getting the rodents accustomed to traps before you deploy them.

Start by placing a trap in an actively infested area of your home without setting it. Allow the critters to feed off the bait you set on this trap for a few days, and once they get used to it being in their environment, bait the trap and set it up to capture the next rodent that comes across it.

  • Ensure you use the right trap – Rats and mice are two of the most common rodents that infest homes. The body of the brown rat can be anywhere from 7-10 inches in length, without considering the tail which is typically 6-8b inches. On the other hand, the average length of the house mouse ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches, with a tail of the same measure. Taking all this into consideration, traps intended to capture rats have to be much larger than ones used for mice.
  • Set as many traps as necessary – If you think you are dealing with just one rat, you will probably be able to capture it with one or two well-placed traps. However, if you suspect your property is infested, you will likely need several traps set in different areas of your house, including the ceiling.

Other strategies you can use to deal with a rodent problem

  • Ultrasonic rodent repellents – Ultrasonic rodent repellents work by emitting vibrations and ultrasound waves that are usually reflected by hard surfaces and consequently absorbed by soft surfaces. These devices can emit frequencies ranging from 30-65 kHz. Rodents find these sound waves irritating and will try to avoid it at all costs.

The frequency levels emitted by ultrasonic repellents are non-repetitive, causing even more discomfort to rodents as it doesn’t allow them to become accustomed to the sound. It is worth noting that ultrasonic frequencies cannot travel between walls, so for the best results, install ultrasonic repellents in multiple rooms.

If the infestation in your ceiling is already established, then you will want to also use traps in conjunction with ultrasonic repellents. This is because solely using these devices may not be enough to drive out these pests especially if there are sufficient shelter and food in your home. Placement of ultrasonic repellents can also affect their effectiveness – as previously mentioned, hard surfaces reflect ultrasound, while soft ones absorb it, so placing this device behind boxes in your attic, for instance, will not allow the waves to travel freely, resulting in a hostile sound environment.

  • Peppermint oil – You can also try applying drops of peppermint in your ceiling as well as suspected entry and exit points to control a rodent infestation.
  • Seeking the services of an extermination company – If the rodent infestation in your ceiling keeps recurring despite applying various elimination techniques, then you might want to let a professional extermination company deal with the problem. A procedure typically includes:
    • Survey- An exterminator will inspect your property to determine all the entry and exit points that the rodents use to access your home using specialized equipment.
    • Treatment- The exterminator will seal off all the entry points and apply the appropriate rodent control measures.
    • Observation- The exterminator will once again pay you a visit to assess the situation and repeat the treatment if necessary.
    • Prevention- Most experts will then install devices that will prevent future infestations (such as a vent mesh and door brush seal) upon the customer’s request.

Rodent proofing your home to keep rodents out

To keep rodents off your ceiling and property as a whole permanently, you will want to rodent-proof your home. You will need coarse stainless steel wool, tin snips, exterior caulking, caulking gun, sheet metal screws, flat-blade screwdriver, and roof flashing. Here are some key steps of rodent proofing to consider:

  1. Start by inspecting the ceiling for gaps and holes. Check around attic vents, chimneys, conduits, pipes, dryer vents, and coaxial cables for possible entry points. You will also want to look for cracks and crevices on the exterior lower level of your home as well as inspect door and window framing.
  2. Run a bead of exterior-grade caulking along gaps that are ½ an inch or less in width to fill them. Fill gaps that are ¼ an inch or wider with caulk.
  3. If you come across larger gaps, start by packing them with coarse stainless steel wool, then push the steel wool into place using a flat-head screwdriver. Follow this up by sealing the gap with caulk.
  4. For particularly large holes, start by patching them with pieces of roof flashing. Using tin snips, cut a piece of the metal flashing and screw it to the gap with a screwdriver and metal screws intended for use on sheet metal.

Final thoughts

After exterminating rodents from your ceiling, you must take preventive measures to reduce the risk of recurring infestations. In addition to sealing off entry points, you will also want to get rid of any food sources near your home. This means storing your garbage accordingly and clearing pet food accordingly, among other measures.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author, and she enjoys traveling, reading, and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC.

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