How to Get Rid of Roof Rats?
Roof rat infestations can happen on any property. They thrive in high places such as tree lines, fence rows, and attics in search of food and shelter. Although some preventive measures can keep them out for some time, it can be difficult to get rid of a roof rat colony completely.
So how can you eliminate roof rats at home? The first step is to inspect the property for any signs of roof rat infestation. After the building evaluation, it’s time to block all possible roof rat entry points and set the traps in strategic areas. For a safe and effective roof rat removal, leaving the matter to the hands of an exterminator is the best option.
4 Effective Ways to Eliminate Roof Rats at Home
House mice, roof rats, and Norway rats are some of the most common rodent pests that are rampant around the country. In a study published in July 2020, Philadelphia was determined to be the most rat-infested city in the US.
Roof rats are black rodents that generally live in the attics of the homes they infest. They are usually black in color and have slimmer bodies than Norway rats. They also have scaly tails that are longer than their bodies.
Roof rats are extremely destructive to any home they visit. They also carry different disease-causing pathogens and parasites with them. That’s why it’s important to get rid of these pests at the first sign of an infestation.
Residential services make up 68% of the pest control services in the United States because homeowners believe that control services will effectively eliminate roof rats safely. But that doesn’t mean you should idly wait for them to solve your rodent problems. There are several ways to prevent roof rat invasion or reduce their population at home.
1) Inspect the Building
Before setting traps or spraying repellent, it’s important to find signs of roof rat presence first. Thoroughly inspecting the building can give you an idea regarding their usual pathways or their nest’s location. Building evaluation can also help assess the severity of the damages caused by the rodent.
Some of the most common signs to look for are tracks, droppings, gnaw marks, and odor. If you have a pet at home, their sudden curiosity or agitation towards a specific part of the home can lead to the discovery of a roof rat colony.
2) Block All Entry Points
After inspecting the building and finding cracks and crevices where roof rats might pass through, it’s time to seal these gaps. Patch up holes using steel wool or caulk so that the rodents will have a hard time chewing through the material.
If there are trees or other vegetation around the house, ensure that they are all trimmed and pruned regularly. Roof rats can either use them as a cover or a way to enter the attic. Without an entry point into the home, roof rats will eventually give up and find another building to serve as their shelter and food source.
3) Set Traps
Traps are also utilized by pest control companies to reduce the population of roof rats present in a building. But to maximize its effects, these traps must be set up in strategic places. Aside from deciding where to put the traps, homeowners who are trying DIY pest control might also be clueless about the best type of trap to use.
Snap traps are the old-fashioned way of capturing roof rats, but they are still effective in catching the pesky animals. However, these traps should be kept out of reach of pets and children because the snapping force is strong enough to cause injuries. For more humane methods for rat elimination, other types of traps such as glue traps and electrical traps can also be considered.
4) Contact Pest Control Services
Although these methods are enough to limit the risk of a roof rat infestation in a home, these pests can be stubborn and determined to start a colony in your attic. For these instances, it is better to involve the professionals.
Effective rat extermination requires skills, knowledge, and experience. With the right tools and techniques, a pest control service can remove roof rats in the home quickly and safely. They can also guarantee that roof rats won’t return to infest the home for at least one year.
Evidence of Roof Rat Presence
Roof rats are more active at night, which is why they might be hard to spot during the day. Instead of looking for the pests themselves, you can find out whether rodents have started a colony in the attic by checking for the following signs:
- Droppings – Rat droppings are usually three times larger than mice droppings. These wastes are banana-shaped and can measure up to half an inch long. The volume of the droppings present in an area can be an indicator of a pathway or nest – as rats spend more time in a place, the more they leave droppings there.
- Foul Odor – Roof rat urine might be harder to find than droppings. If you or your pets can smell a foul odor around the home, a UV flashlight can help spot urine stains. They will appear as fine drops or streaks in the affected area.
- Gnawing Marks – Roof rats have strong teeth that can chew through any material. They are also constantly growing which is why rats must trim them by gnawing at hard substances like wood, plastic, or metal. If you find holes that are at least 2 inches in diameter and have rough edges, they are likely made by a roof rat. Roof rats can also gnaw electrical wirings and pipes which can lead to fire hazards and water leaks.
- Tracks – Rodent pathways indoors can appear as clean sections through dust or dirt that’s around an inch wide. On the other hand, their tracks outside the home will be free of foliage or vegetation. If they travel near the walls, you may find grease marks along the wall.
- Sounds and Sightings – Roof rats are mostly active at night, but some of them forage during the day. If you hear scratching noises at night or glimpses of them during the day, there’s a chance that there’s more than just one or two of them.
Different Traps to Get Rid of Roof Rats
Once you notice that there are signs of a roof rat infestation at home, there are a few ways to get rid of them before they can cause serious problems to your house and health. Repellents and home remedies may be effective for some time, but it is not recommended for the long run because rats will eventually get used to these methods.
One of the best ways to reduce the population of roof rats is to set traps in strategic places. Here are some of the most commonly used traps that are effective in catching the pesky rodents:
Snap traps are the traditional way to catch rats. Although it is considered old-fashioned, these traps are still quite effective. The contraption works by snapping down the metal bar and killing the roof rat in place. A snap trap can only kill one rat at a time, so it’s better to lay several traps to put a dent in the rat population.
What’s great about these traps is that they are disposable and reusable. The kills are also confirmed because the dead rat is held down by the trap. They can also be used both indoors and outdoors.
Although this trap is non-toxic, it should still be kept out of children's and pets’ reach because the metal bar snaps shut with a strong force. Disposal of the roof rat carcass should also be completed properly to prevent the spread of potential health hazards.
If you prefer a more modern way to get rid of rats, use electronic traps at home. These devices utilize a high-voltage shock that efficiently kills the rats. However, these traps can only be used indoors.
Like snap traps, electronic traps are reusable. Instead of having the dead rat easily visible, the device has a blinking light to indicate the kill. They are also safe to use even if there are children or pets at home.
Unlike other types of traps, glue traps don’t require baiting or a complicated setup. Just place it along the walls and usual pathways of roof rats. Glue traps are made with specially formulated glue that securely holds the roof rat in place.
When using traps, it’s important to consider what kind of bait to use. By selecting the right bait, it’s easier to tempt roof rats to walk into the trap. Brown rats will eat anything that’s high in protein such as meat and smaller rodents, but a roof rat will respond better to fruit baits. They are also fond of seeds, nuts, and fruits.
Landscape and Home Tips that will Get Rid of Roof Rats
Unlike Norway or brown rats that live in burrows, roof rats prefer to live in high places. They also prefer eating nuts, seeds, and citrus fruits which is why gardens with plenty of vegetation attract them.
They will climb and travel between trees and the home’s roof. For houses that keep certain vegetation in their yard, a few landscaping practices can prevent roof rats from entering the home.
Pruning the tree branches within three feet of the roof and trimming palm trees regularly can limit the roof rats’ entry points. Ensure that no shrubs or vines are growing against the outer wall of the building, as they can serve as a cover for rats.
Houses that have attics and false ceilings are also prone to roof rat infestations. To keep them out of the house, it’s important to keep all cracks and crevices filled with caulk. Place screens over attic turbine ventilators and roof vents to cover the openings.
Fast and Accurate Response to Rodent Infestation with Pinnacle Pest Control
Dealing with a rodent infestation on your own might be dangerous and inefficient. It’s better to leave this kind of problem to a professional exterminator because they will know what kinds of traps and bait will work best on brown rats, house mice, and roof rats.
Pinnacle Pest Control can remove the rodents that are living in the attic and false ceilings. Our team will also inspect the house for chewed wires and entry points that the roof rats created. Our services also include sanitation of the area, repair of structures, and re-insulation of the attic.
Here at Pinnacle Pest Control, we are committed to providing our customers with services that follow the Integrated Pest Management concept. This ensures that the rodents will be effectively removed using only environment-friendly products. For a fast and accurate inspection, call us now at (916) 381 – 5793.
Learn more: What Are Brown Rats?