Rats in the walls are a common problem for apartment dwellers. If you hear scratching, clawing, or scurrying in your walls, you likely have unwelcome rodent roommates.

Here’s a quick answer: The best way to get rid of rats in apartment walls is through integrated pest management using traps, baits, deterrents and sealing up entry points. Professional exterminators can also help identify and eliminate rat infestations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover how to identify a rat problem in your apartment walls, why it’s important to take action, and proven methods to safely and effectively get rid of them.

How to Identify Rats in Your Apartment Walls

Signs of Infestation

Identifying a rat infestation in your apartment walls is crucial in order to effectively get rid of them. There are several signs that can indicate the presence of rats:

  • Scratching noises: Rats are nocturnal creatures, so if you hear scratching or scurrying sounds coming from your walls at night, it’s a strong indication that rats are present.
  • Droppings: Rat droppings are small, dark, and oval-shaped. If you find these in your apartment, especially near food sources or in hidden corners, it’s a clear sign of an infestation.
  • Gnaw marks: Rats have sharp teeth that they use to gnaw on various objects. Look for gnaw marks on furniture, electrical wires, or even walls themselves.
  • Unpleasant odor: Rats have a distinct, musty smell that can permeate your living space. If you notice a strong, unpleasant odor, it could be a sign of a rat infestation.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent the infestation from worsening.

Locating Entry Points

Once you’ve identified a rat infestation, it’s essential to find the entry points through which they are accessing your apartment walls. Rats can squeeze through very small openings, so it’s important to thoroughly inspect your living space. Common entry points include:

  • Gaps around pipes and utility lines
  • Cracks in the foundation or walls
  • Openings around doors and windows
  • Spaces under doors

Sealing these entry points is crucial to prevent rats from entering your apartment in the future. Use steel wool or caulk to fill in any gaps or cracks, and make sure doors and windows are properly sealed.

Health Risks of Rat Infestations

Rat infestations can pose serious health risks to you and your family. Rats are carriers of various diseases, including:

  • Salmonella: Rats can contaminate food and surfaces with salmonella, causing food poisoning and other gastrointestinal issues.
  • Hantavirus: This potentially life-threatening virus is transmitted through rat droppings and urine, and can cause severe respiratory problems.
  • Leptospirosis: Rat urine can carry the bacteria that causes leptospirosis, a disease that can lead to kidney damage, liver failure, and even death if left untreated.

It’s important to take rat infestations seriously and address them promptly to protect your health and well-being.

When to Call an Exterminator

While there are DIY methods for getting rid of rats in apartment walls, sometimes it’s best to call in a professional exterminator. Consider calling an exterminator in the following situations:

  • The infestation is severe and persistent
  • You are unsure about the proper methods for eradication
  • You are dealing with a large number of rats
  • You have tried DIY methods without success

An exterminator has the knowledge, experience, and proper tools to effectively eliminate rats from your apartment walls. They can also provide advice on preventing future infestations.

Remember, early detection and swift action are key to successfully getting rid of rats in your apartment walls. By identifying the signs of infestation, locating entry points, understanding the health risks, and knowing when to call an exterminator, you can effectively tackle this problem and restore peace to your living space.

Why It’s Important to Get Rid of Rats

Disease Risks

Rats are known carriers of various diseases that can pose serious health risks to humans. These pests can transmit diseases through their droppings, urine, and saliva. Some of the common diseases associated with rats include:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Salmonellosis
  • Rat-bite fever

These diseases can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and in some cases, can even be life-threatening. It is crucial to get rid of rats in apartment walls to prevent the spread of these diseases and protect the health of the residents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rats are responsible for transmitting over 35 diseases worldwide, making it essential to take immediate action if you suspect a rat infestation in your apartment.

Property Damage

Rats can cause significant damage to the structure of your apartment. They have strong teeth that can chew through various materials, including wood, plastic, and even concrete. Once inside the walls, rats can gnaw on electrical wires, insulation, and pipes, leading to costly repairs.

Not only can rats damage the infrastructure of your apartment, but they can also destroy personal belongings, such as furniture, clothing, and food. Their constant gnawing and nesting behaviors can cause extensive damage, leading to financial losses for the residents.

According to a report by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), rodents, including rats, cause an estimated $1 billion in property damage each year in the United States alone.

Fire Hazard

Rats have a penchant for chewing on electrical wires, and this behavior can pose a significant fire hazard. When rats gnaw on wires, they expose the underlying conductive material, increasing the risk of electrical short circuits and sparks.

If a rat chews through a wire and exposes the copper or aluminum conductor, it can lead to an electrical malfunction, potentially causing a fire. This fire hazard is particularly concerning when rats are present in apartment walls, as the fire can spread quickly and endanger the lives of the occupants.

It is essential to address rat infestations promptly to mitigate the risk of electrical fires in apartment buildings.

Psychological Effects

Living with rats in apartment walls can have severe psychological effects on residents. The constant scratching, scurrying, and squeaking noises made by rats can cause anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbances.

The fear of encountering rats or their droppings can also lead to a phobia known as musophobia. This phobia can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, making it difficult for them to feel safe and comfortable in their own home.

Furthermore, the presence of rats can create a sense of uncleanliness and unsanitary conditions, leading to feelings of disgust and frustration among residents. It is crucial to address rat infestations promptly to protect the mental well-being of the occupants.

Getting rid of rats in apartment walls is not only important for health and safety reasons but also for preserving the structural integrity of the building and ensuring the psychological well-being of the residents.

It is recommended to seek professional pest control services to effectively eliminate rat infestations and prevent future occurrences.

Methods to Get Rid of Rats in Walls


One effective method to get rid of rats in apartment walls is by using traps. There are various types of traps available, including snap traps, glue traps, and electronic traps. Snap traps are the most commonly used and are designed to kill the rats instantly.

Glue traps, on the other hand, capture the rats alive but allow for easy disposal. Electronic traps use a high-voltage shock to kill the rats quickly and humanely.

When setting up traps, it’s important to place them in areas where rat activity has been observed, such as along walls, near droppings, or in dark corners. Make sure to use bait that will attract rats, such as peanut butter or dried fruit.

Check the traps regularly and dispose of any trapped rats properly.


Rodenticides are another option for getting rid of rats in apartment walls. These are toxic baits that are designed to kill rats when ingested. It’s important to use caution when using rodenticides, as they can be harmful to humans and pets if not used properly.

Before using rodenticides, it’s recommended to identify the type of rats present in your apartment. Different rodenticides are more effective against certain species of rats. It’s also important to follow the instructions on the product label carefully and to keep the rodenticides out of reach of children and pets.

Natural Deterrents

For those who prefer a more natural approach, there are several natural deterrents that can help keep rats away from apartment walls. One effective method is to use peppermint oil, as rats are repelled by its strong scent.

Simply soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them near rat entry points or in areas where rat activity has been observed.

Other natural deterrents include mothballs, ammonia, and predator urine. However, it’s important to note that these methods may not be as effective as traps or rodenticides and may need to be used in combination with other methods.

Sealing Up Entry Points

To prevent rats from entering apartment walls, it’s important to seal up any entry points they may be using. Rats can fit through small openings, so it’s important to thoroughly inspect the walls and seal up any cracks or holes.

Use steel wool or wire mesh to block off these entry points, as rats are unable to chew through these materials.

Additionally, make sure to keep doors and windows properly sealed and to repair any damaged screens. By eliminating potential entry points, you can greatly reduce the chances of rats making their way into your apartment walls.

Hiring a Pest Control Professional

If all else fails, it may be necessary to hire a pest control professional to help get rid of rats in apartment walls. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to effectively identify and eliminate rat infestations.

They can use a combination of traps, rodenticides, and other methods to ensure that the rats are completely eradicated.

When hiring a pest control professional, it’s important to choose a reputable company that is licensed and insured. Ask for recommendations from friends or neighbors, and make sure to get a written estimate before any work is done.


Rats in apartment walls can be an alarming situation, but there are solutions. With vigilance, integrated pest management techniques, and persistence, you can safely eliminate unwelcome rodents.

Implementing traps, baits, deterrents, and exclusion tactics will help evict your unwanted wall squatters. Don’t hesitate to call in professional exterminators if needed to fully inspect and treat your rat infestation.

With the right strategies, you can reclaim your apartment and prevent future rodent inhabitants in your walls.

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