Rats, though a nuisance, are much more clever than we give them credit for, especially when it comes to sensing and avoiding danger. Once inside your home where it is safe to nest, they will continue to inhabit the space until physically forced out or trapped. There are numerous DIY remedies on the market that are meant to repel rats and other types of rodents, and perhaps the most common is using mothballs. Put simply; mothballs are almost completely ineffective when it comes to repelling rats.
Mothballs contain a chemical called naphthalene, which keeps red blood cells from carrying oxygen when inhaled, so one could naturally assume that it would be an effective measure against rats. However, the opposite is true:
- The amount of naphthalene found in mothballs is a small dosage. It’s enough to deter moths and other insects when used in a small room or sealed container, but the dosage is not nearly enough to affect rats. Humans and rats have similar tolerances to naphthalene, meaning that the number of mothballs you would need to repel the rodents is not realistic. There have often been cases where rats have walked over the mothballs as if they didn’t even exist.
- Even if rats and other rodents were bothered by the smell from mothballs near their nest entrance they would soon find another way around. Rats can squeeze through holes as small as ¼”, meaning that finding a new nesting area in your home is not a problem.
Why Mothballs Are Ineffective for Rat Control
Humans have been dealing with rat issues for centuries. Rats are common in both suburban and city environments and thrive where people live because of the easy access to food, water, and shelter.
If you’ve been online to research how to remove rats from your home or business, you’ve probably seen the use of mothballs as an option. However, using poisons, such as those found in mothballs, can be hazardous to children and pets, along with others who may not know what a mothball is.
What Mothballs are and Why They are Dangerous
Mothballs are used to prevent clothes moths from chewing holes through clothing or other fabrics by killing them and their larvae with fumes. Mothballs are made with an active ingredient, either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which cause the mothballs to slowly turn from solids to toxic vapor.
For either of the chemicals to effectively work, the mothballs must be placed in a sealed container so the fumes can build up enough to kill the moths. When sealed, the fumes are not harmful, but when you open up the container or wear clothing right after the container has been opened, you are inhaling the pesticide. Mothballs are also dangerous because they poison the environment and are known to be a carcinogen.
Why Mothballs Don’t Work to Get Rid of Rats
The labels on mothball packages do not recommend their product be used as an animal repellent. And, because mothballs are pesticides, the Environmental Protection Agency legally prohibits using mothballs for anything other than their intended purpose.
In addition to being illegal, rats are very smart creatures who are suspicious of new things that enter their environment. If the mothball chemicals begin to bother the rats, they will just move to another area inside your home. You must also remember that mothballs are used to prevent the development of specific insect larvae, which means you would have to use a tremendous amount of mothballs to affect the rats. However, if you use enough to harm the rats, you will be putting yourself in the same amount of danger.
What to Do If You Have Rat Problems
While you can try a safer alternative to get rid of rats such as soaking cotton balls in peppermint oil or placing entire peppermint plants in different areas of your home, the only guaranteed way to remove rats is by trapping them and finding out how they are accessing your home. Once you learn how the rats are getting inside, you can seal the areas shut and then physically trap and remove the rats.
If you suspect you may have a rat problem, using DIY solutions such as mothballs won’t eliminate the problem. Instead, it’s recommended that you call an experienced wildlife removal expert at the first signs of a possible rat infestation.
At Critter Control® of Orlando, our trained technicians will perform a home inspection and come up with a plan to remove the rats based on the extent of the infestation. We will advise you on why rats are being attracted to your home and what you can do to keep them away. We also offer home services and exterior cleaning to get your home back to its original shape. Get a free estimate today by calling 407-295-7194.
Why You Should Never Use Mothballs for Rats
Sometimes, store-bought alternatives are a great solution to common household problems. However, if anyone has ever suggested mothballs as a remedy to your rodent infestation, you should be aware that you will not see the results you desire. While they may work forwarding off moths and insects, mothballs will not deter rats from making themselves at home among your belongings.
Why Won’t The Rats Leave
Rats are stubborn. Once one has decided to nest in a certain location, it will not leave no matter how uncomfortable the circumstances. Mothballs are about as troublesome to rats as they are to humans, which is why these rodents rarely feel the need to evacuate after coming in contact with them. Because rats are long-term nesters, they’ll need to be removed with industrial traps and professionally prevented from reentry.
Why Mothballs Are Ineffective
The active ingredient in mothballs is called naphthalene. Naphthalene can be an irritant to rats if a high enough dosage is used, but there are two problems with this.
- The amount of naphthalene used in the common mothball is not a high enough dosage to cause any harm or discomfort to rodents.
- In order to use the correct amount of naphthalene to cause any harm to a rodent, you would also be risking harm to the humans and pets living in the household.
Danger to Humans and Pets
Pesticides in general pose some serious risk to the members of your household. When the fumes from these toxic chemicals are prevalent in your home, there is an increased likeliness of long-term health complications. Accidental ingestion is one of the most common issues with these DIY alternatives, as mothballs can easily turn into choking hazards for both children and pets. Unfortunately, ingesting these pesticides can cause serious internal damage and even affect certain organs. Some of the mildest symptoms of mothball ingestion include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
A Better Choice for Rodent Control
Leave the home remedies in the past and take care of your rodent problem permanently. Critter Control® of Orlando is the top choice for rat control in Central Florida because our licensed staff of technicians can remove rats and restore your attic with premier residential services. Our experience and attention to detail will even prevent rats from coming back in the future.
Instead of spending countless hours and dollars on trying to evict rats from your home on your own, enlist the help of Critter Control® of Orlando. Our expert technicians have more than three decades of experience and the tools necessary to get the nuisance rats out efficiently.