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I know this is a weird question but I am looking for the most probably way to attract rats in my attic and have a camera with motion sensor pointing right onto it. I believe it's roof rats. Location: Bay Area.

So far, I placed a small board of plywood next to a rafter and put (a) peanut butter, (b) oatmeal and (c) two slices of salami on it. Nobody showed up.

Background: I do not want this to be a question about rodent proofing, hence my specific answer. But here's the story: Moved into a house two years ago and there was a rat problem in the past. While I have never seen or heard any indication myself, I found an old carcass in the attic and tons of droppings. I hired a rodent-proofing company with 5 years warranty which cleaned, sanitized and re-insulated the attic. I have since found droppings on the insulation battings and had the company come a few times. They re-adjusted the traps (none of which ever caught a rat) and two times they found and closed more entry points. On their last visit they spent hours diligently looking for the roof and are confident that all entry points are closed. But the uncertainty drives me crazy. I want to know that they are gone for sure, for my peace of mind, as well as having a proof for the company if not. I purchased two Wyzecams with motion sensor but did not catch a single instance. If there are any entry points left, I want to make sure I can bring them on the camera to bring back the company as quickly as possible. Hence I am looking for most likely approach to attract rats.

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  • Is your suggestion that it's not clear whether these rats were already inside versus new entry? If you want to be completely certain that you have no remaining rodent residents you should consider fumigation. After that, any pests you notice you can be certain are new
    – Matthew
    Commented Feb 26 at 6:03
  • No, if they would be trapped they would sooner or later get into a trap. To me, it's not clear if there are more entry points through which rodents can get in and out. Hence fumigation does not help me. I want to make sure there are no entry points left and no rats are roaming in/out any more.
    – divB
    Commented Feb 26 at 6:34
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    walnuts worked for me
    – Traveler
    Commented Feb 26 at 8:08
  • For rats or mice? Anyway, I’ll add some walnuts as well.
    – divB
    Commented Feb 26 at 9:04
  • I have always used peanut butter and found it attracted rats to my snap traps. Peanut butter sticks in the cup of the trap or smears onto a surface, and is relatively cheap. Commented Feb 26 at 11:57

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How are you going to prove a negative? i.e.: How long do you need the camera running to prove to yourself that there are no critters getting into your house?

If the existing bait and camera setup hasn't caught any animal activity in x weeks, how long are you going to keep living in a tizzy worried about one getting it that's somehow not interested in your bait and is magically smart enough to stay out of range of the camera?

Set yourself a deadline and if you haven't seen any signs of critters by then, assume that the company has done an adequate job of sealing off all entry ways. You've got a 5 year warranty, so just relax. Leave the cameras up there if it makes you feel better, and have them set to notify you (by whatever means those cameras have) if they ever detect activity. No notification means the job is done!

Stop worrying and start living your life.

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