Can Insect Spray Kill Rats?

Most bug sprays are designed to eliminate tiny insects. Rats are bigger with an immune system that can survive lots of intoxication as compared to insects. They are also smart, and sneaking up on them is difficult unless they are trapped.

Insect spray can kill rats because it contains DEET which is extremely toxic. However, it will only work if the rodents are trapped and sprayed in a closed area. Insect spray can also repel rats instantly because it irritates their eyes and nose.

Bug repellents will only deter rats for a few minutes because they become less efficient in an open space. This makes them a temporary solution against rats and mice. Several alternatives, including rat traps and homemade poisons, are recommended.

Can Insect Spray Kill Rats?
Insect Spray for Killing and Repelling Rats

Effects of insect spray on rats

N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, also known as DEET, is an active component in bug repellents that can severe tremors and paralysis in rats. This can only happen if the rats are trapped in a closed area with zero air circulation.

Insect spray will only kill rats if you spray it in their hiding holes and block the entrance. It takes about 10 minutes for bug spray to start affecting a rat’s nervous system. If rats and mice remain trapped in an air-tight place that has been sprayed for more than 1 hour, they will die.

Signs of a nervous breakdown in rats caused by insect spray include weak muscles, memory loss, and frozen legs with constant sneezing. Rats sneeze when in contact with bug spray because of the choking chemicals. However, this will only happen if they are exposed to significant quantities.

If you hold an insect spray close enough to rats and spray them, they will have an intense stomach upset with nausea. Note that the same effects can also reflect on you. Before you do spray them, cover your nose and keep away from the pesticide fumes.

Some insect sprays and repellents do not contain DEET, and those will not kill rats. Those are made from natural insecticide plants; the best they can do is repel rats and mice if sprayed close enough. Other bug sprays are also less toxic because they are designed for specific insects like mosquitoes.

Is it safe to use insect spray to get rid of rats and mice?

It is never safe to spray rats and mice with insect repellents because the effects are likely to affect you and your pets. Depending on the brand, some insect sprays can cause severe reactions, I.e., seizures and loss of breath in cats and dogs.

The fact that you have to spray generously makes it an expansive option. Therefore, you can only use insect spray against rats and mice if you really run out of options. However, remember that it will only keep them away temporarily.

If you have rats in your bedroom, it is not okay to use bug sprays against them, especially at night. Inhaling DEET and pyrethrins, common in bug sprays for a long time, can cause severe breathing problems. Pesticides and insecticides should not be used in the bedroom at night whatsoever.

Roach spray can kill rats and mice if they ingest it in large quantities. If rats eat roaches that have died from toxic pesticides, they will have severe stomach upsets. Dead roaches are toxic and can also spread germs and bacterial infections. Remove the dead ones after spraying an infested area.

Insect spray VS rats facts

For insect spray to work against rats and mice, you need to suffocate them in it or spray close enough. Spaying it on them is almost impossible since rats are very fast. Sneaking up on a rat just to spray it is not practical. It’s better to find other ways of killing them.

There are high chances of killing rats with a bug spray if you find their hiding holes indoors. Simply spray it generously inside the hole and block the entrance. However, this will only work if the rat hole is shallow with just a single entrance.

Rats always make several inlets and outlets for security reasons. If the hole you want to spray has several outlets, they will escape. Therefore the logistics of using an insect spray for rats in most cases prove that it is not a good idea. In most cases, it wastes resources, time, and money.

Pros and cons

When indoors, rats will always nest away from human activities. They will go for higher places like roofs, attics, ceilings, and rafters. There is no way one can easily spray them since they will not allow you to do so.

Spaying rats in an open space when outdoors will also not work, and this is only a waste of resources. Field mice and rats are pros at avoiding human contact; the only way to get rid of them is to use baits. Even traps for outdoor rats often fail because they have a wide area to cover while looking for food.

When rats dig holes in your compound or backyard, the only way to kill them is to use dry ice. Insect spray will not have much effect on them because they always dig them deep and wide. Sometimes, they have alternative routes down there, and once they get irritated, they flee.

Tricks like homemade plaster of Paris rat poison can work against rodents in general instead of using bug repellents on them. When dealing with an outdoor infestation in your backyard, you can use ammonia or dry ice to kill rats and mice.

Even if rats ingest an insect spray that contains DEET, the intoxication level is low. It will only become deadly to them if they are exposed to large quantities for a good amount of time (1-2hours). DEET fact sheet on rats indicates that they can somehow manage to resist it if it is in small quantities.