Remember the mouse that I saw scurry through our living room? And how we were faced with the dilemma of dealing with the little critter? (Catch up on that story here if you need to.) For today, i will discuss Prayer To Get Rid Of Rats, prayer to get rid of pests and patron saint of getting rid of mice.
As I mentioned, the first thing we went about doing was shoring up the holes where we thought the mouse was getting in through. The closer we looked, the more we located more and more possibilities for the tiny creature. So we started the process of filling them in, closing them up in hopes that no more friends would join in the party. Most people are familiar with what rats look like, but let’s do a deeper dive on where they live, how they choose a habitat, and what they eat:
Rats are medium-sized, toothy rodents that originated in Asia and Australia and spread throughout the world. According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), more than 60 rat species exist.
Rats can range from small – about 5 inches in length – to a truly frightening version that’s about the size of a large housecat and can weigh five pounds or more.
Rats Reproduce Rapidly
Female rats can mate up to 500 times in just six hours, and brown rats can give birth to up to 2,000 babies in a single year – with up to 22 young in a single litter. Considering rats have a gestational period of less than a month, it’s easy to see how populations quickly get out of control.
As rat populations start to grow in or around your home, you’ll also notice an increase in droppings and damage.
Rats & Disease
Increasing rat populations also puts you at risk of contracting rodent-borne illnesses. Rats are famous for carrying a variety of dangerous diseases. They’ve recently been shown to be carriers of Hepatitis E and infecting people with the strain. Many of them carry the disease typhus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Flea-borne (murine) typhus is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Flea-borne typhus spreads to people through contact with infected fleas. Fleas become infected when they bite infected animals, such as rats, cats, or opossums. When an infected flea bites a person or animal, the bite breaks the skin, causing a wound. Fleas poop when they feed. The poop (also called flea dirt) can then be rubbed into the bite wound or other wounds, causing infection. People can also breathe in infected flea dirt or rub it into their eyes.
What Do Rats Need?
a rat crawling inside a home
The answer is – very little.
Rats are challenging pests to control since they live everywhere. As long as humans are around to give rats the following three things, they’ll thrive:
Rats are omnivores, so they’ll eat anything available to them. Although rats are best known for scavenging through trash and eating food that’s left out, some rats will kill small animals like birds and lizards for food.
Rats can survive for a month or more without directly drinking water. This is because they consume enough water in the foods they eat. When they need to drink water, rats can usually find enough in drains, pet dishes, or the condensation in the pipes or walls.
In the wild, rats get the shelter they need from weeds, grasses, and other plants. In homes, rats will take refuge under furniture, behind walls, or in dark, seldom-used corners of the house.
They’re also famous for making nests inside of and under appliances.
What Kind Of Damage Can Rats Cause In The Home?
For such a small animal, rats can cause significant damage to a home. In addition to spreading diseases and threatening the health of everyone who lives in the house, rats can…
Cause structural damage to wood, drywall, insulation, and other building materials
Chew through electrical wires and increase fire and electrocution risk – experts estimate that damage from rats and mice causes about 20-25% of undetermined house and structure fires each year in the U.S.
Ruin furniture by burrowing into cushions and ripping out batting
Destroy books, papers, and clothes
Create noise that makes it difficult to sleep or relax in your home
Nest in walls, below the sink, or even in appliances – like the back of the refrigerator or underside of the washer
While no rat damage is good, large rat populations can quickly cause expensive and irreversible damage in the home.
4 Signs Of A Rat Infestation In Your Home
a rat crawling in a dirty sink in a house
If you think you might have a rat infestation in your home, look for these tell-tale signs:
- Strange Smells & Sounds
Rats give off a powerful ammonia smell. They’re also very loud – making squeaking, scratching, and rustling noises as they move throughout your home. Noticing either of these signs is an indication that rats are in the building.
- Droppings & Smears
Rats leave droppings behind as they move through your home. You may notice small, dark, pellet-shaped droppings along main rat pathways. Since rats have poor eyesight, they also create and maintain established routes along the walls.
As they travel these routes, they leave grease smears and smudges along the walls.
Think you might have a rat problem? Take a look into a seldom-used, dusty corner of your home. Rats often leave foot and tail marks in the places they travel.
Tip: If you’re unsure whether rats are around, sprinkle a fine layer of baking soda on the floor and check for fresh tracks in the morning.
Last but not least, rats will leave damage in their wake. They may chew through electrical cords, gnaw on furniture, storage containers, or paper, and eat food left out on the counter.
As they do, they can leave droppings and urine throughout your home, increasing your risk of exposure to diseases.
How To Get Rid Of Rats In The House Fast
Nobody wants to live with rats. Fortunately, these tips can help you figure out how to get rid of rats in your home:
1. Inspect The Home
Before you can get rid of rats, you need to conduct a full home inspection to find out where they’re coming from.
Inspect the outside of the house – pay special attention to damaged drains, cracks in your garage door, gaps around vents, and spaces in the foundation – for obvious access points.
Inside the house, look at the vents, drains, appliance lines, and other potential access points. Once you know where the rats are accessing the house, you can seal the entry points and set traps.
2. Seal The Gaps
Rats don’t need a large entry point to get into your house. In fact, they can squeeze through any hole that you can stick two fingers through. With this in mind, seal any gaps in your interior or exterior walls.
For lasting results, fill these gaps with wire wool, metal kick plates, cement, or caulk. Check them a few times a month to make sure they’re well-maintained.
Tip: If you can’t identify entry points, contact Smith’s Pest Management for an expert analysis of your property. We service homes and businesses in California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast.
3. Clean Up
Rats love shelter and places to hide. One of the best ways to get rid of rats without poison is to eliminate their hiding places. Clean up the clutter in and around your home and move objects away from the walls.
Keep all trash and food in closed bins, clean up any spills rapidly, and keep your pipes and drains clean.
4. Consider Trapping
As rodenticides and harsh poisons have fallen out of favor or been outlawed (as they were this year in California), trapping has become the most effective way to eliminate rats; it is what kills rats fast and effectively. Trapping is a poison-free method of reducing rat populations.
If you’re going to place your own traps, be sure you use plenty of them and that you position the traps in high-activity areas. Use peanut butter, unsalted seeds, bananas, or apples as bait.
Tip: If you prefer not to set the traps on your own, contact a professional pest management team to do it for you.
5. Use Natural Deterrent Methods
When it comes to getting rid of rats, a few simple, natural ingredients can go a long way.
Try these natural options:
- Spread peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, black pepper, or cloves around the home’s exterior to prevent the rats from entering the house in the first place. Apply your substance of choice generously along the line between your foundation and the ground.
- Sprinkle crushed pepper (or spray pepper spray) near rat openings and holes. This will irritate the rats’ noses and airways and discourage them from reentering your home.
Patron Saint of getting Rid of Rats
But then we had to deal with the mouse (or mice) that were already here. After discussing our options, we decided we wanted to buy traps rather than poison because we wanted to know if we’d got the mice and keep them from dying somewhere in our house.
We placed them strategically, with a dab of cashew butter as bait. After the first night, we went and checked them. The mouse had managed to nibble the butter off without setting off the trap. This guy was craftier than we’d expected!
So we re-set the trap and put the bait further along the back, so that they had to climb in further. We caught one that night. I was so thrilled but wondered if there might be more? My fears were concluded the following evening when I was putting away groceries and as I placed a bottle of olive oil in a cupboard, a mouse jumped out and ran behind the stove.
Of course, I screamed bloody murder and my husband came running, thinking I’d cut myself on a knife or something. Oh, no. Just a flying, daredevil mouse, that’s all.
So we reset the traps again, realizing that this was not a one-mouse ordeal as we’d first hoped. Over the course of five nights, we caught five mice.
The entire time, I kept praying that there would be no more. That the Lord would keep them away so that we didn’t have to keep catching and killing them. And yet, then we’d catch another.
Finally, on Saturday night of that week, after catching the fifth mouse, I was desperate. I stood in our kitchen and was reminded of the place in Matthew where Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
These mice were much smaller than any mountain. If my faith could move a mountain, surely it could move a handful of mice. And so I took that command to heart and, out loud, told the mice to leave this house, in the name of Jesus Christ.
The next morning, my husband and I went to church. One of the things that I fell in love with when we first started checking out this church was that they take prayer requests during the service and pass around prayer-request binders that the leaders pray over and that get emailed out to all the members. Prayer is not something underestimated, here.
In the binder, my husband wrote down our paltry prayer request: That there would be no more mice in our house. It was not asking for healing or salvation or any other prayer request that deserves to be answered. But yet, our prayers need not be big for the Lord to care about them and take them seriously. The only requirement of our prayers? That we ask.
So we did.
And you should not be surprised to find out that we have not caught a single mouse since. Not a single one. No sightings of any other ones, either. The cashew butter is fresh on the traps, waiting just in case. And it’s been that way ever since.
Because even though God cares about all the big things in our lives, he also cares about the littlest. Like a tiny, brown mouse who popped in for a visit.
prayer to get rid of pests
More than a week into his stay, I’m starting to think we might always have a mouse. We don’t just have signs of a mouse. We have an actual mouse.
Every night between 8 and 10 p.m., he makes an appearance—or two or three. He explores the kitchen and the dining room. Sometimes he makes a rapid dash across the living room. You might think I’d be getting used to the idea of having the mouse around, but last night when I saw it, I screamed. My scream startled the mouse—and the boys reminded me yet again that we are not supposed to scare the mouse. Apparently we want him to feel comfortable so we can catch him.
But it’s not working. I don’t know what that mouse is living off of, but he is not interested in anything in the traps. And yes, we have involved professionals—professionals who are returning today. Because if there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that professionals are professionals for a reason, and we should call on them for assistance.
Nonetheless, I am starting to believe the mouse might never ever ever leave. In desperation I Googled “life span of a mouse” the other day. In case you are wondering, a mouse lives about one year, but it can live two to three years in a controlled environment. Our house is, fortunately, always out of control, but it’s also heated and has plenty of food available. If I were a mouse, I would stay here forever. And yes, I am hoping it’s just the one mouse—though I am not sure how to confirm that.
“We could put a nametag on him when we see him, and then we would know if we see another one,” one of our boys suggested. It’s the best idea anyone has had. That’s why we call the professionals.
Prayer to get Rid of Rodents
The other night during bedtime prayers, I prayed: “And God, please take the mouse away from our house.”
“No, God,” our 7-year-old said, “please let the mouse stay because I really want a pet. And please make all the mousetraps magically disappear.”I’m pretty sure this boy has God’s ear.Meanwhile, after some research into patron saints, I have decided I am long overdue for beginning a novena to St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who happens to be—and not coincidentally, I believe—the patron saint of both mice and cats.
I can’t find a novena to this wonderful saint who shares a feast day with St. Patrick, so I’m writing one. (For a lovely selection of novenas you can have emailed directly to you so you can remember to pray nine days in a row, visit here.)
Novena to St. Gertrude of Nivelles
Dear St. Gertrude, you have long been venerated as a patron against rats and mice. Please intercede for us, we pray, and ask God to rid our home of all mice. We ask for your prayers as we work to reclaim our home as ours alone, free from mice and any other pests. May this time sharing our space with mice also strengthen us as a family and be fruitful for us spiritually, drawing us ever closer to our Father in Heaven. Amen.