Over the years, we have performed thousands of rodent jobs, attended rodent academies and classes, and gained certification for rodent control. Through this process, we have acquired vast amounts of experience in and knowledge about rodent control. While there are a lot of rodents living in Arizona— like pack rats and house mice—the roof rat is the most infamous of the bunch.
Keeping roof rats out of your home can be a challenge, but if you want to learn to control your roof rat problems like the pros, keep reading to learn our three-step approach!
Step 1: Inspection
First, start by asking yourself “why” and “what”. Why are rodents attracted to your home? What about your environment is so appealing to rodents? It might be that your home has conditions that are favorable to enhancing the rodent population. Having fruit trees, orange groves, nuts, gardens and other sources of food in your yard or nearby can make your home look like an all-you-can-eat buffet to a roof rat!
If you suspect you have root rats, search your home and yard for droppings and little pawprints in your attic. Check under areas they may be nesting, such as attics, cabinets, ceilings, garages, patios, and pool areas. You may also be able to find gnaw marks on your roof eaves.
Other signs that you have roof rats include:
- Gnawing or scratching noises coming from the attic or walls
- Gnawing damage on electrical wires
- Sightings on tree limbs, power lines, roofs, patios, and other above-ground structures
- Grease trails and marks where they may travel regularly in your home
- Distressed or agitated pets
If you find signs of a late-night visit from a roof rat, you’ll need to perform a more thorough inspection of your home to find all entry points and begin the process of sealing your home.
Step 2: Sealing
Once signs are discovered and a more thorough inspection to find all the entry points have been performed, it’s time to begin the exclusion process. Using caulk, fill in any cracks or crevices around your home that are at least .25 inches or larger, don’t forget about areas around sinks, near washers and dryers, dishwashers and hot water heaters. Place screens over open holes, such as roof vents, and use chimney caps or screens to protect your fireplace. Make a note for yourself to check any screens for damage often.
It’s also a good idea to take the time to eliminate ways for rats to climb into your home. Trim tree branches away from your roof and utility lines, as they can act as a roof rat superhighway. Keep palm trees trimmed and remove all vines, such as ivy, growing against the home.
After your home has been sealed, but you’re still hearing and seeing signs of roof rats, it may be necessary to move to step three.
Step 3: Trapping
We typically suggest traps to capture any possible rodents that either already live in the home or that were sealed into the structure when the exclusion process was performed. In some cases, such as when it was only a visiting roof rat, you might not catch anything. This is a good thing! It means you caught the problem before an infestation was allowed to happen. If traps are necessary, you have a few options available:
- Snap traps- the old-fashioned way to catch rats. While effective, you may want to be cautious about using these traps in your home if you have pets or children since they snap shut with great force.
- Electronic traps- as a more modern option, they’re a humane and non-toxic way for you to deal with rats and are safe around kids and pets.
- Glue traps- these traps don’t require any baiting and are easy to use.
- Ultrasonic devices- these are more proactive than reactive. Ultrasonic devices work by emitting high-frequency sounds that deter rodents from entering your home. People, dogs, cats, and most other non-rodent pets aren’t bothered by the devices.
Our Top 10 Tips to Prevent Roof Rats
Whether you try a DIY solution or call the professionals to assist you, prevention is the best way to ensure your home stays rodent-free. If you follow these 10 tips that we give all our customers who have dealt or are worried about dealing with a rodent problem, you’re well on your way to preventing an infestation!
Trim bushes and shrubs so they don’t collect leaf debris
Pick fruit from trees.
- If you must have a compost pile, keep as far away from the house as possible.
- Make sure all garbage cans have tight-fitting lids.
- Don’t let tree branches grow over or touch the house.
- Don’t leave pet food dishes full of food and store food in metal containers with lids.
- Seal all holes or cracks over the size of a quarter.
- Replace all door sweeps and thresholds if you can see light enter around the door.
- Talk with your neighbor about rodents and offer this list of to do’s.
- Call your local Pest Management Professional to perform an inspection.
Cold months are the most common months to have rodents looking for a warm place to spend the winter, so keep an ear out for noises coming from the attic or walls! Don’t wait for them to have babies, a typical roof rat will have six to eight babies that will all grow up to be a nuisance pest.
You don’t have to live with rats that can carry disease and damage your home. We offer inspections and customized treatment plans to help keep your home rodent-free year-round! Call us now at 623-435-0228 to schedule an inspection!