How to keep rats away from your home without traps or poison

It's one of urban America's biggest problems – rats!

D.C. wrapped up an academy of sorts on Thursday giving residents the ability to learn more about the creatures and how to keep them away from your property.

The number one thing that attracts rats is trash, whether it's in a park, on the street or at your home.

READ MORE: Rat problem in DC sparks calls for investigation from neighborhood group

Rats like to be near consistent food sources, and where there is poorly stored trash, there will likely be rats.

"It could be in that yard, it could be in an alleyway, it could be in beautiful landscaping around a gorgeous hospital," says urban ratologist Bobby Corrigan. "The point is: What was the original trigger? Trash management…So when people say to me and they ask me, ‘What is the best poison to use against rats?’ I say, ‘That’s the wrong question.’ The best poison to use for rats is good garbage management."

READ MORE: DC Popeyes shut down after viral TikTok showed rats swarming kitchen

Corrigan says it’s not just your imagination: Rat populations in urban areas have exploded in the last few years. The number of calls to 3-1-1 in DC since 2018 about rats has nearly doubled.

Image 1 of 3

Rat burrow holes. These large ones means large adult rats are coming and going. Larger means they’re feeding and breeding. The way the holes are tells Corrigan these are well established colonies here. (PHOTO: David Kaplan)

There are many reasons why, but one of the biggest is that people are out more than they were early on in the pandemic and where there are people, there's food, and where there's food, there's waste.