ROOF RAT BIOLOGY
Rats are the other rodent which will move into any structure man builds. We have both Roof Rats and Norway Rats in America. Roof Rats are excellent climbers and prefer to live in attics or cabinets. Commonly referred to as pack rats, wood rats, tree rats or attic rats, these nimble rodents can scale most surfaces and may access your property by climbing up brick, stucco or wood siding. Once on the roof, they will find any small route of entry. This includes vents to bathrooms, gable vents, spaces around soffits, exhaust pipe holes, spaces between facia boards and roofs and just about any vulnerable spot. If none exists, they will chew a hole.
NORWAY RAT NESTS
Norway Rats prefer to nest in the ground. They dig burrows around railroad ties, gardens, trees, shrubs and against foundations. These burrows will lead into crawl spaces and through cracks around pipes in slabs. Once inside your property, they prefer to nest low in kitchens and bathrooms. Both species have droppings about the size of a black or red bean. The Norway Rat droppings have smooth round ends but the Roof Rat dropping has pointed ends. Generally speaking, these droppings will get larger as the rodent grows bigger. As with mice, rats leave their droppings where they travel. These locations will be where rodent control programs need to be implemented.
RAT CONTROL METHODS
Controlling rodents is ongoing. Successful programs start before you have a problem. Know your property. Look for problem areas outside your buildings. These areas may include dumpsters, standing water, creeks, streams, neighboring businesses, and drainage systems. The most common attractant around the average home in America include either pet food or bird seed. The smells from these items is so strong it will attract several types of animals to your yard. Once they get a taste of these nutritious foods they will try to feed there daily.
If you suspect you have rodent activity around pet food or bird seed, DO NOT REMOVE the food until the animal has been successfully trapped, relocated or destroyed using any of the options which this article will detail. Simply put, rodents are creatures of habit. If you remove their food source thinking they will go away YOU ARE WRONG. All you will do is force them to adapt. This adaptation will generally lead them to where the food is stored, where the food came from or where food similar to it is kept.
DON’T REMOVE WHAT THE RODENTS ARE EATING TILL THEY’RE GONE!
The bottom line is that removing the outside food source will more than likely cause the rodent to come inside your home seeking more food. If you leave the attractive food supply outside and in tact, you will have the upper hand in dealing with this animal because you will know it’s behavioral patterns which are centered around the pursuit of food.
PET OWNERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET RATS!
And don’t waste your time hoping your dog or cat will ultimately chase the rodent away. Over 80% of our customers with rodents also have pets. This percentage is significantly higher than homes without pets which leads us to conclude that homes with pets ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET A RODENT PROBLEM compared to homes without pets.
You may not get any for a year, five years or even more but at some point, local neighborhood rodents will find your home and offerings due to the smell of nutritious pet food. Pet food is packed with more nutrition now than ever as is bird seed and rodents are able to detect these food supplies like flares in the night sky. Once found, they will not easily give up and go away from any feeding patterns. Use this to your advantage. After the rodents are successfully removed, you can alter the outside food supplies to help reduce future problems but only at such a time that you are certain there is no activity.
RODENTS LOVE NUT TREES
If you cannot change the environment, (such as having a big walnut or pecan tree) then locate points between the attractant and your structure where you may be able to intercept the rodents before they get into your home. Remember, it is always easier to keep rodents out. Once they get in, controlling them requires more work, more cost and more aggravation.
DON’T CLOSE ACCESS HOLES TILL RODENTS ARE GONE!
Another word of advice: If you know the route of entry to your building: DO NOT CLOSE OR SEAL THE HOLE UNTIL YOU KNOW THERE IS NO ACTIVITY AND THE ACTIVE RODENTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED OR DESTROYED FOLLOWING THE GUIDELINES IN THIS ARTICLE.
This is another critical part of rodent control. All too many times people will unknowingly close or seal holes thinking the rodents will simply go away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again, these are creatures of habit which will stop of nothing short of death to reclaim their home.
Think of it like this: If you came home and found all your doors and windows boarded over for no reason would you simply walk away never to return? Of course not. You would do all you could to get inside, claim your personal belongings and find out what is happening. The same is true with rodents. When closed out of their home, they will chew through wood, plastic, metal and cement to get back inside. Remember, they are creatures of habit and knowing their route of entry makes trapping them or using one of our methods listed below all that much easier.
RAT AND MOUSE REMOVAL
To control existing populations, first consider the options. Methods of control include poisons, snap traps, glueboards, electrocution and live traps. Rodenticide is a poison bait which rodents eat. Most rodenticides are anticoagulants which mean they prevent the clotting of blood. The material works by affecting different components of the animals body. In effect, the rodent loses it’s ability to have it’s blood clot. Once an artery or vein ruptures, the animal dies. This can happen from a cut or when the animal sustains an internal hemorrhage. Either way, it has the potential to lead to a mess.
RAT AND MOUSE POISON BAITS
So if you still want to use a bait, be prepared to find rodents randomly. Make sure to keep them away from children and pets. There are risks using any rodenticide and you should be aware of them.
NO RODENTICIDE CAUSES THE ANIMAL TO SEEK WATER AN DIE WITHOUT SMELLING!
No product has ever had this capability nor has any manufacturer ever claimed their bait had such a feature. Though we may never know for sure where this old wives tale originated from, it appears that pest control companies started telling customers this would happen when rat poisons were first introduced. Customers were not likely to let poison be used if it was commonly known that death would be random; telling people rodents would either seek water outside and die (better yet, their carcasses would dry up!) and not smell when they deceased was for some reason a falsehood that began to spread and over the years, came to be accepted a truth. In reality, its nothing more than an urban legend at best.
RAT AND MOUSE BAIT ODOR PROBLEMS
Regardless of where the claim came from that dying rats and mice would “leave” the home before they died, no doubt countless animals have died in attics, crawl spaces and other hidden spaces of the home. And once dead, their bodies were left to decay causing all kinds of issues. The most common problem is malodor. And we still get inquiries asking how to remove dead body rodent odor from living areas which can persist for weeks. The good news is there are ways to resolve this problem.
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