Roof rats can be an unpleasant occurrence and one that can be hard to get rid of. They make nests higher up above the ground on roofs, trees, shrubs, woodpiles, and everywhere they can climb. Unlike the usual rats, they are good climbers and are rarely seen on the ground or in burrows. They like to create nests above the ground where they get heat from the rising heat.
In fact, they are one of the most common rat types in the USA, along with Norwegian rats and burrowing rats. In this article, we will take a look at how to get rid of roof rats.
Understanding their behaviors is crucial for helping you eradicate them from your home once and for all. They are found in warmer areas and especially in coastal areas, and are rarely seen in areas that are 100 miles or more inland.
Not only can these rats be annoying and to some, even scary, but they can also do a lot of damage and infest your home. Roof rats are also known as palm rats, or fruit rats, or even ship rats, as they are found in higher areas such as trees.
The first step to eliminating the rats is finding out what type of rat infests your home. Here, we will take a look at how to get rid of roof rats.
How to get rid of roof rats
Observe The Environment
The first and the most necessary step is to learn the location of the rats and where they nest. Once you know this, it is easier to take action.
What you can do is to first inspect the exterior of your house; namely, the higher spots of your house, like the roof and the many small gaps and crevices that are found in the roof. That is where they will possibly create nests, or use them to get inside your home. Half an inch of space or even less is enough for the rat to enter your home, even if they look larger.
Of course, rats are slippery animals and you probably won’t be able to see them first hand as they are also nocturnal animals. Your next best bet is to observe the signs of infestation, which can help you establish that you have roof rats. These signs of infestation include:
- Rat feces. It is the most obvious sign that you have rats. These feces are very small, and they are significantly smaller than those of Norwegian rats. Also, they are pointy, which can help you distinguish them from other species.
- Urine stains. Along with the droppings, urine stains can be used to identify the rats. With your eyes, it might be impossible to see, but you can use an ultraviolet flashlight, where you will be able to see it clearly.
- Rat tracks. When the rats move in and out of a room or an area, they will create a trail. That trail will especially be visible if there is plenty of dust around. The runways that roof rats create are small – only about a quarter of an inch. Another way to distinguish a rat’s trail from other animals is that the tail will be clearly visible, as they drag their tail on the ground when they move.
- Damage from gnawing. Roof rats like to chew on things and do damage to your property. They might chew on wood and electrical wiring, as well as food packaging. Observe for chew marks, which will manifest itself in the form of gnawing holes of about 2 inches with rough edges.
- Sounds and sightings. Although it may be hard to spot a rat in daylight as they are nocturnal animals, it is a bad sign if you see it during the day. It might indicate a serious infestation. Also, take note if you can hear sounds of scratching or digging during the night. That can also indicate the presence of roof rats.
These signs can help you find out whether you have a rat infestation. The next step will be finding the burrows or the homes of the rats, which can be tricky. These signs above can help to give you some clues as to the whereabouts of these rats. With these visual clues, it will be easier to find the rats in your home. Remember to always use a mask when removing the feces.
The dangerous thing about rats is that once they enter your home, their numbers can grow rapidly. The only way to stop it is to get rid of them altogether. A female rat can give birth to five to eight small rats at once, and that can happen up to three times a year.
Sanitation is Key
The best way to prevent rats from entering your home in the first place is to take care of the sanitation of the place. Dust and food droppings in the corners of your house are like magnets to rats, and once they find their way into your home and find these magnets, they will start spreading.
Therefore, it is important to take these steps to sanitize your home and prevent rats from spreading.
- Get rid of all rubbish piles and garbage
- Place tight-fitting covers on your garbage containers
- Take care with pet food and bird feeders – rats love to eat the leftovers
- All landscaped areas need to be treated properly with woodpiles that are elevated
- Move the furniture from time to time and clean the corners or areas that are otherwise hidden by the furniture. These areas can contain food sources that attract rats to your home.
Sometimes, it might not even be your fault for the rat infestation. It can even be the fault of your neighbor, especially if they have poor hygiene. It might make sense to warn the neighbor about rat infestation and ask him to clean up and get rid of rats himself. That applies to areas where houses are close to each other.
Exclude the Rats
One of the best ways as to how to get rid of roof rats is to exclude them from your home and make it impossible for them to enter. It might be a challenge to find all the holes and areas that offer gaps for the rats to enter. Luckily, this can be done easier with rats as it is with the mice, as the latter requires much less space to enter. Here are some things that you can do to exclude the rats.
- The most important thing is to seal any opening or gap that is larger than half an inch with wood or mesh, or other appropriate materials.
- Floor drains or sewer pipes can also be the source of the entrance. Make sure you have tight-fitting grates with small openings of a quarter of an inch in diameter.
- All doors, windows, and other screens should be fitting into their frames properly. Any leeway is a possible entry point for the rat. If you have rat infestation already, fit the sheet metal around the edges to prevent gnawing.
- Broken windows or doors or vents are also a good entry point. Make sure you seal those possible entrances. If the spaces below the doors are big enough, then that can also be the entry point for the rat.
- Roof shingles should be as tight as possible, and ventilators or screen vents on the roof should also be sealed properly.
- Lastly, get rid of all the garbage and the food waste in or around your house. Check the corners. The scent from the garbage and the food waste will attract the rats, leading to an infestation that is much harder to control.
Trap the Rats
Once you find the source of entrance and where the rats are located, you can start taking action. Here are some of the best ways of how to get rid of roof rats with traps.
Arguably the best way of how to get rid of roof rats is to place traps. There are several types of rat traps you can use.
- SNAP TRAPS are the most effective way of how to get rid of roof rats. These traps are fatal for the rats, as they break the animal’s neck. They are probably the most effective option for getting rid of the rats, and it is easier to determine the gender of the rats, which can indicate whether there are more rats in your house.
- LIVE TRAPS is a milder option, although it is not as effective if you want to get rid of the rats indefinitely. These traps will trap the rat alive in a cage, preventing them from leaving the cage. The rat can’t get out of the cage, but they can walk in. Their natural tendency is to investigate holes and small crevices, and live traps are just that.
- ELECTRIC TRAPS are used for trapping the rats into the cage. When the rats are trapped, a lethal dose of electric shock is sent through the cage.
- GLUEBOARDS are another option, but they are not as effective as some of the previous traps. Larger animals can break free from the glue.
Make sure to place several of these traps, as in most cases, the population is large. Also, be sure that you are catching rats and not mice, as the traps for mice are smaller. Use the traps in the areas where the infestation is at its highest, and place them about 15 to 20 feet apart.
There are also some very good natural repellents that keep the rats away. These include:
- Ammonia – the sheer smell will repel rats
- Bay leaf – these can be lethal to rats
- Peppermint oil – spray it around the house
- Castor oil
- Baby powder
- Instant mashed potatoes.
Ending thoughts on how to get rid of roof rats
In this article, we have taken a look at how to get rid of roof rats. A rat infestation can be a problem in your house. Luckily, there are plenty of effective ways to get rid of this infestation and make your home rat-free again.
Roof rats can be an unpleasant occurrence and one that can be hard to get rid of if you don’t get a good mice exterminator. They make nests higher up above the ground on roofs, trees, shrubs, woodpiles, and everywhere they can climb. Unlike the usual rats, they are good climbers and are rarely seen on the ground or in burrows. They like to create nests above the ground where they get heat from the rising heat.
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