When people hear the word “rat”, it’s safe to say that it does not evoke any pleasant feelings. Rats are known to be quite annoying pests, mostly because they reproduce at an incredible rate, and it doesn’t take long for them to establish a colony that’s borderline impossible to eradicate.
There are quite a few species of rats, around 60 to be precise, and they come in all sizes. However, if you live in Arizona, you don’t have to worry about having close encounters with massive 3-pound creatures, but that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from dealing with an infestation.
While roof rats are not native to Arizona, many homeowners in the Greater Phoenix area have noticed an increase of this particular species in the past couple of years.
Here are some facts and information about roof rats that should help you notice, identify, and deal with these pests.
What Is a Roof Rat?
As nocturnal animals, these rats are rarely active during the day. However, if their population reaches a critical point and food sources become scarce, it’s not unusual to see them during the day.
As the name suggests, these rodents prefer to establish their shelter in the upper parts of buildings, like roofs and attics. Once the colony is established, they start chewing and gnawing through building materials, which can consequently jeopardize the integrity of the whole house. Due to their incredible reproduction rate, a rat infestation can become a severe and hard-to-control issue the more you wait.
These rodents have smooth and soft fur, a scaly tail, pointed nose, and their undersides are often black, gray, or white. Their tail is noticeably longer than their bodies; the average weight of a roof rat is about 8 ounces, although they can weigh up to 12 ounces.
Identifying an Infestation – Signs of Roof Rats
While identifying an infestation might not be as challenging as it sounds, it’s still something many people struggle with.
There are many telltale signs that may point toward an infestation, and some of them include:
- Stumbling Upon Roof Rat Droppings
If you ever notice a presence of rodent feces, it’s a pretty solid sign that you might be dealing with an invasion. Fresh droppings are usually soft and moist, whereas old droppings are dry and hard. However, regardless of the freshness of droppings in your home, backyard, or attic, it is strongly advised that you call pest control services and let trained technicians deal with the predicament.
- Gnaw Marks and Damaged Goods
As you already know, rodents love chewing through virtually anything and everything, especially if the food is scarce. Now, imagine a colony of feisty rodents chewing through beams that support your roof. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be able to realize that the whole ceiling could be going down in a matter of only a couple of hours.
Therefore, if you notice any damage to your beams, doors, windows, or walls – don’t hesitate to hire a team of professionals and let them inspect your home.
- Seeing Dead (or alive) Rodents in the Vicinity of Your House
The easiest way to figure out whether you’re dealing with an infestation is to look for dead rats around your house. Some people think that stumbling upon dead rats bears little to no significance, but since rodents usually live in groups (packs), it’s safe to assume that you’re not dealing with an isolated case of a lone specimen.
As soon as you find a dead rodent or perhaps see one running frantically around your backyard, assume you’re dealing with an infestation and act accordingly.
- Hearing Strange Noises at Night
Out of all signs of infestation, this particular one is probably the easiest to notice. It’s also one of the most reliable signs that you’re actually dealing with a problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible.
If you hear strange noises coming from your attic or ceiling, it’s safe to assume that there are rodents up there, chewing through beams or electrical installations. Speaking of electricity, if you’ve experienced a bunch of short circuits, blinking lights, and general problems with power in short periods, check out your fuse boxes and wiring that’s exposed throughout your attic. There is a good chance that you’ll find a fried rodent clinging onto a live wire.
How to Keep These Pests Out of Your Home
Now that you know how to identify an infestation and are a bit more familiar with the habits of these annoying creatures, it’s time to focus on what you can do to keep them away from your house and prevent them from causing thousands of dollars in damage.
- Regular Inspections
Don’t hesitate to take a few minutes of your day every few days to inspect your yard and home for signs of these rodents. It’s the least you can do, and since it doesn’t require too much effort in the first place, there are no excuses.
The point of regular inspections is to notice signs of invasion in its early stages so that you can combat the issue before it escalates.
- Plug and Seal Openings and Points of Interest
In case you have any openings in your walls that are larger than ½” in diameter, it is strongly advised that you seal them with concrete, steel wool, or any other material that is hard to chew through. While this isn’t a 100% foolproof technique since you can’t seal every single tiny hole around your home, it’s still worth investing some time and effort into it.
- Get Rid of Unused Food and Garbage
Good sanitation practices are fundamental if you want to lower the risk of having to deal with an infestation. If you have pets, make sure to keep their food sealed and don’t leave it out at night. By the same token, if you have some uneaten food that you’re looking to get rid of, always use proper garbage disposal containers and keep the food sealed tight.
- Consulting Professional Exterminators
This is hands down, the best idea you can come up with if you’re dealing with roof rats in Arizona. While it is somewhat possible for you to try and keep the situation under control, it is highly unlikely that you’ll manage to do it without the help of some industrial-grade solutions.
A trained technician will be able to assess the situation immediately and act accordingly. Conversely, if you conduct an inspection by yourself, the likelihood of missing a bunch of holes, chewing marks, and other signs of an invasion is quite high. At the end of the day, DIY-ing your way out of this situation is simply not worth the effort, time, and money.
If you have any questions regarding rats pest control in Arizona and ways of dealing with rodents and other pests, please don’t hesitate to ask! In case you require pest control services, call us or contact us via email and we will be more than happy to help.