Things You'll Need
Rats can easily become a nuisance in any building simply based on how readily they reproduce. When a rat problem presents itself in a shed, steps must be taken to remove the problem and to prevent reoccurrence. There are several steps involved in taking care of a rat problem. By the time a rat problem becomes apparent, there are likely more than just a few rodents living in the shed.
Locate the nest where the rats are living and breeding. It is important to wear protective gloves and mask when dealing with rat feces, urine and nesting spots. A black light may be used to determine where rats are traveling or bedding down in the shed. The black light can be used to identify urine when it cannot normally be seen. Locating the nest is key to determining how many rats are present.
Determine where the rats are entering the shed. An opening as small as half an inch in width is generally all rats need to gain entry. Search along the perimeter on both the inside and outside of the entire building in order to look for entry points. Search for holes in the ground and gaps in the foundation where rats may be entering the shed.
Close off all entry points to the shed. Holes need to be sealed using materials that cannot be destroyed by the rats to provide re-entry. Cement, sheet metal, mortar and metal meshing in a heavy gauge are all viable options. If cracks are present in the foundation, they should be sealed using cement. Add ground glass to wet cement to discourage rats from digging at it before it has a chance to dry. Other holes can be covered using metal sheeting and fastened using screws. Expanding foam and caulking material can be used for the purpose of sealing holes, but the rats will likely chew the materials without some sort of cover.
Install snap traps or other rodent-catching devices in and around the shed. Snap traps are similar to rat traps but are larger. They are cost-effective, simple to set up and relatively easy to empty and dispose of. Other types of rat traps are also available depending on preference, including rat zappers and glue boards. Different traps offer different levels of effectiveness depending on the problem. The best bait for most traps is either peanut butter or regular butter. Traps should be checked once daily and disposed of as needed. Dead rats should be discarded in double bags, and gloves should always be worn.
Implement preventive measures for future rat issues. Continue setting traps with a small amount of bait to ensure the problem does not return. Setting traps on a consistent basis will allow the prevention of another serious problem. It is important to continue this process until you are certain that rats cannot re-enter the shed by any means.
Jennifer Uhl has been writing professionally since 2005. She writes primarily for the web and has been published as a ghostwriter in "Tropical Fish Magazine" and "Entrepreneur." She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health care from Mira Costa College.