Roof rats are a growing problem in Phoenix and the takeover only
gets worse as temperatures dip because they’re looking for
somewhere warm to nest. Those warm places are often located on the
roofs and upper levels of residential homes. Phoenix residents may
likely be seeing signs of these unwelcome visitors in their home.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they kept to themselves, but roof rats are
nocturnal creatures and make noise at night chewing through your
wood, insulation and wiring, leaving you with a hefty repair bill
when they move out. They can also cause health problems because
their waste can spread allergens and disease.
So, it’s easy to understand why you want them gone for good and are
asking, how do I get rid of roof rats? We have some tips to prepare
against these rodents and to help to rid your home of roof rats.
Eliminate food and water sources
Roof rats love homes that give them easy access to their favorite
foods and drinks, so make your home less appealing by taking away
their free meals.
- Clean out fruit-bearing trees
- Their favorite foods are citrus-based fruits (like oranges, lemons
and limes) because they’re both a food and water source. Other
fruits (like figs and pomegranates), vegetables, nuts, seeds and
stored grains are also enticing to roof rats. Thoroughly pick your
trees and clear any remaining remnants from the ground, your yard
and garage before the cool weather hits.
- Secure food
- Keep bird seed, nuts and pet food in sealed containers and indoor.
Keep barbecues clean as food debris and grease are excellent food
- Minimize available water
- Rats can grab water from anywhere around your home, even places you
wouldn’t consider, like leaky faucets, sprinkler heads and air
conditioner condensation drip lines. Fix these if they’re leaking
or faulty. Also consider emptying bird baths, fountains, ornamental
ponds and outdoor pet watering dishes.
Eliminate structural entry points
Rodents cause the most damage inside your home and garage, so the
first goal should be to keep them from getting indoors.
- Fill any holes or gaps
- Rats can and will make entry points for themselves if there’s
reason enough to work at it. For best results seal up gaps in your
home with steel wool, diamond mesh wiring, or other metallic
materials. Some openings in your home need to remain open, such as
attic and plumbing vents. Use a wire mesh screen to keep rodents
out of these areas. You should never screen off a dryer exhaust
vent as these can quickly become a fire hazard.
- Plug and caulk cracks
- Rats and mice have skeletons of cartilage and can squeeze through
gaps and cracks you wouldn’t expect. Pay attention to gaps around
utility lines enter the home, such as water heater, plumbing and AC
coolant lines, as well as gaps around doors, and dog doors. It’s
also a good idea to put wool or copper mesh inside the air
conditioning line that leads into your home’s attic.
- Keep trees and bushes properly groomed
- Rodents use trees, bushes, power lines, and other items to help get
on and into your home. Where you can, trim back trees and bushes
away from structures and about 4 inches off the ground. Other
physical items that don’t need to touch the house, such as unused
ladders and dog houses should be kept away as well.
- Don’t forget your other structures
- Detached garages, sheds, dog houses, barbecues, and other
structures should not be neglected. These areas are often
overlooked because there’s not as much human traffic, which only
makes them a better nesting place for rodents.
Common entry points for rodents and rats
Cracked Stucco Space around pipes Space between buildings Holes in
Missing electrical cover Holes under eaves Space between joists
Holes around beams
Go on the offensive
Even the most diligent homeowner will have an occasional rodent
make their way inside. If that happens, you need to react quickly
so they don’t have a chance to get comfortable.
- Physical controls
- Snap traps and glue boards can be effective tools when used
properly. Place them along the wall near entry points and other
areas where you find evidence of activity. Peanut butter and
granola bars work well as bait for these traps. Be sure to place
snap action traps in areas kids and pets won’t accidentally trigger
- Use approved baits
- Rodenticides can be effective tools for eliminating almost any
infestation. Feeding stations with rodenticides can be placed near
food and water sources, in attics, near the rodent nest, and some
are even designed to be placed in trees. Be sure to strictly follow
the labels of any products you use and keep any baits safely away
from kids and non-target animals. Never use m