At Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination we get a lot of questions about all kinds of pests. Some of the most common questions are around roof rats.
To make your life easier, we’ve put together an FAQ to outline some of the things we hear and we think you should know about roof rats in Phoenix.
What are roof rats?
Rodents are the largest order of mammals that includes rats, mice, hamster, squirrels, porcupines and other relatives. Known as destructive animals, the most common rodent in Phoenix is the roof rat.
A lover of fruit and nuts, roof rats are common in areas with plenty of citrus trees. Not only do roof rats feast on the fruit, they hoard it. Rotting fruit attracts other pests causing more problems for homeowners than just roof rats. When fruit and nuts aren’t available, they will also eat seeds, tree bark, and anything consisting of plant material like the wood in your home.
While dogs, cats, birds, and coyotes are natural enemies of roof rats, these rodents can still cause problems for Phoenix homeowners. In addition to their destructive behavior, roof rats can transmit disease and contaminate food with their urine and feces.
What does a roof rat look like?
Roof rat prevention begins by identifying them. Dark brown or black in color, they are a slender 13 – 18 inches long including their tail. Their ears are large and almost hairless and their droppings are long and cylindrical in shape.
Where are roof rats found?
As their name suggests, roof rats like higher places in the home like the attic and roof. They can also be found in trees, woodpiles, and dense vegetation making it important to keep your yard clear of debris. Roof rats are nocturnal; if you see them during the day, it’s likely they are sick and you should stay away.
Are roof rats dangerous?
Yes, roof rats can be dangerous to your health or your pet’s health. If a flea has bitten an infected rat and then bites you or your pet, you can get sick. Just breathing the dust from cleaning roof rat droppings can be hazardous to your health.
What about do it yourself solutions?
Many people want to save time and money by pursuing do it your self when it comes to dealing with rats. The problem is that while there are many good commercial solutions out there, most people don’t understand the right way to use them and can inadvertently make the problem worse. We’ve seen people end up with rats dying in inconvenient places or being unable to dispose of the bodies because they didn’t understand municipal rules on eliminating animals. We encourage people to work with us when they have a roof rat problem because we understand how to eliminate the problem the first time without complications for the homeowner.
Roof Rat Prevention
And while we don’t recommend that you take roof rat elimination into your own hands, you absolutely have the power to prevent these pests from making your home their home or coming back after they’ve been eliminated.
As with any pest, you must remove their food source and area of entry. Roof rats are especially tricky to evict from your home as they burrow in the attic and walls. Keep your yard, garbage cans, and dumpsters clear of debris, preventing them from reaching food. Trim trees, especially fruit and nut trees, and don’t keep woodpiles.
Signs of roof rats include sighting them, especially during the day, and droppings. A daytime sighting is an indication their hiding spaces are filled.
When summer temperatures exceed 100 degrees, it can be well over 125 degrees in the attic so rats need a cooler place to stay. Oleanders provide the perfect hiding place. If you hearing rustling in your oleanders, walls, or attic, you may have roof rat tenants that need an eviction.