Just how to Identify and Eliminate Roof Rats Although some people have little to no problem with rodent pests, you will find certain aspects of the United States which are more vulnerable to rodent problems than others. One particular areas may be the southern third of the United States and the coastal states. If your home is in these zones, your attic may become the target of roof rats, which can make a number of problems for your family and property.
Beware of Roof Rats in the Attic
Roof rats are known by a number of other names, including palm rats, fruit rats, ship rats and Alexandrian rats. Both roof rats and Norway rats, a stockier variety of rat, can infest homes. For effective pest control, you need to determine what sort of rat is scurrying around your attic. Roof rats change from the Norway rat in several ways. Let’s look at many of these differences.
Unlike the Norway rat, which can be also referred to as a sewer or brown rat, roof rats are smaller in dimensions and their tails are longer than their bodies. They grow up to 18 in in total, including their tail, and weigh at the very least 5 oz. Appearance Roof rats are usually black in color, while Norway rats are brown or gray. Roof rats have smaller and sleeker bodies than Norway rats, and their fur is smooth. Other roof rat features include large ears with almost no hair and pointy faces.
Unlike other rat species, roof rats may also be good climbers and build nests above ground, not underground in burrows. Outdoors, you will find roof rats nesting in trees, shrubs, wood piles and dense vegetation. Indoors, roof rats like to build nests in top of the areas of the home where it’s kept warm by rising heat. You could find them nesting in a variety of places inside your home, including: Attics Cabinets Ceilings Garages Inside walls and sheetrock Laundry rooms Patios Pool areas Their living space must provide them with enough water to sustain life.
Unlike other rat species that always prefer to eat meat scraps and high-protein foods, the diet of roof rats is comparable to that of squirrels. What this means is they mainly eat nuts and fruits, but, just like other rat species, roof rats are omnivorous. They’ll eat almost anything if they are hungry enough, including: Ornamental plants Dog and cat food Feed for cows, swine and chickens Vegetables in the garden Nuts Seeds Tree bark Insects Lizards Paper Candle wax These rats may also be hoarders and stash nuts and seeds within their nesting areas for later use.
Water sources for roof rats include:
- Bird baths
- Leaky pipes
- Ac condensation drip line
- Pets’water bowls
- Saucers under potted plants
- Irrigation lines
Roof rats will also chew through plastic and metal pipes to obtain water, that may cause serious structural damage.
Signs of an Infestation of Roof Rats
You won’t always see roof rats since they are nocturnal and forage for food at night. However, you need to find out the signs of infestation that could alert you with their presence. Once found, you are able to take the correct control measures. One of the very most obvious signs of infestation is roof rat droppings. Roof rat droppings are smaller than those of Norway rats. The droppings are about 0.5 in long with pointed ends.
- Other signs of a roof rat infestation include:
- Gnawing or scratching noises in the attic or walls
- Gnaw marks round the home’s roof or eaves
- Spotting them running on tree limbs,
- power lines, roofs, patios and in fruit trees
- Hollowed-out fruit if you have fruit trees
- Gnawing injury to electrical wires in the house
- Pets showing signs of stress and agitation
- Grease trails and marks because they travel regular routes through your home
- Nests present in the insulation of your home
Once inside, the roof rat population can grow rapidly. A lady may have a litter of five to eight babies. In warm, tropical regions, roof rats breed year-round, and females may have up to three litters a year. Roof Rats Can Have 24 Babies a Year How Do Roof Rats Get In the Home? Roof rats are good climbers and nest up high. They use tree limbs for travelling and easily enter into your attic if you will find open areas to squeeze through. Roof rats also can enter into your home in other ways, including: Climbing vines near your home Traveling along power lines Climbing rough surfaces, such as brick and concrete blocks Once they get to your residence, all they need is an opening about how big is a dime to squeeze through. They often enter homes trying to find food and to hide from predators.
Roof rats have many natural predators, including: Snakes Birds of prey Dogs Cats Coyotes Owls Other rats
Are Roof Rats Dangerous?
All rats can show aggression when they think threatened. They may bite or chase you. A bite from the roof rat can transmit disease to you, including rat-bite fever which can be spread to humans via a bite or scratch. Outward indications of rat-bite fever occur within a few days to a few weeks.
Sometimes the bite or scratch is already healed when symptoms begin, so it’s important to know what they are:
Hantavirus is spread to humans if they inhale air near rat saliva, droppings or urine. You can even become ill from fleas that when fed on rats. When a flea bites a rat and then bites you, it could transmit diseases such as plague and tularemia. eliminate roof rats What Damage Do Roof Rats Cause? Besides leaving droppings and urine that creates a health hazard, roof rats also can cause injury to your home. Roof rats chew holes in your soffit and eaves to get access to the attic. Once inside, they can cause a number of damage by: Chewing on wires and causing electrical and fire hazards Gnawing on wood beams in the attic Chewing on pipes and causing water damage Trampling down insulation, decreasing its usefulness Getting Reduce Roof Rats?
If you notice signs and sounds of a roof rat infestation, you have several options to eliminate these pests. Trapping or repelling roof rats can effectively reduce the pest population in your home. You have several options in commonly used rat traps: Snap Traps Glue Traps Electronic Traps Scent Repellents Ultrasonic Repellents ,Rat Traps Baiting Rats Baiting is a significant part of using traps, and with the right bait, it’s easy to tempt these pests. Roof rats prefer a different diet than other types of rats, so you may use some of the following for bait: Dried fruit (best) Nuts (best) Berries Dental floss and other nesting material Insects Peanut butter Snail shells Rats are often very cautious of new food sources popping up within their surroundings. To lure them to the trap, bait it without setting it for a couple days therefore the rats arrived at trust it as a secure and reliable food source.
Snap traps may seem like a conventional method to catch rats, however they remain very effective. These traps have a metal bar that snaps down on and kills the rat. Each trap kills one rat, so you need to create several traps to significantly lower rat populations. There are some advantages to using snap traps: They’re disposable They’re reusable, in the event that you so choose You can use them indoors and out They’re non-toxic The dead rat is visible in order to confirm the kill You wish to be mindful when working with these traps in homes with children and pets given that they snap shut with tremendous force. You also have to take precautions when disposing of the rat carcass. Glue Traps You can find glue traps for rats, too. The sound is terrible for rodents but doesn’t bother humans and most pets. Dogs, cats and fish aren’t bothered, but you’ll need to maneuver your hamster or guinea pig to some other room.
a few good sanitation tips:
- Make certain all garbage containers have tight-fitting lids
- Collect trash and garbage debris frequently
- Don’t give your pet more food than it could eat per day
- Store pet and animal foods in metal containers with lids
- Store cereals and other dry foods in air-tight containers
Rats gravitate toward structures and spaces that provide food and water, so eliminate all water sources, such as fountains, leaky pipes and bird baths, as well as items that offer these pests with a food source.
Home and Landscape Tips You are able to take steps around your home and yard to stop roof rats from entering your home.
Begin with sealing entries in the house, then: Use caulk to fill in just about any cracks or crevices around your home that measure 0.25 in or larger Place screens over roof vents and attic turbine ventilators Use a chimney cap or screen to protect your fireplace Look for and block entryways under sinks, near washers, dryers, dishwashers & heated water heaters Always shut doors when exiting your home Make certain all window screens have been in good condition You certainly can do some simple landscaping to stop roof rats from gaining entry to your home. For example, prune back tree branches or limbs near your home within three feet of your roof. Keep palm trees trimmed and defeat vines or shrubs growing against or close to the home. Thin out bushes near your home to discourage rats from using them as cover. Homes that have attics and other high places tend to be more vulnerable to roof rat infestations simply because they prefer to live above ground. Some other items that can attract roof rats to your residence include: Heavy shrubbery Palm trees Yucca plants Honeysuckle Wood piles Storage boxes