November 25th, 2009 by BugGuy
Rats are some of the most destructive pests in the United States; parasite transmission and structural damage are just two results from a rat infestation. In California two species of rats cause the most problems, the roof rat and the Norway rat. Here we will talk about the roof rat.
First off, some history of the roof rat. The roof rat, also known as the black rat, is not indigenous to the United States; the species was brought overseas on ships and is known in history for carrying the bubonic plague.
What do roof rats looks like?
- Range in size from six to eight inches (not including the tail)
- Pointed muzzle
- A tail as long or longer than its body
- Black with a gray to white belly
- Ears long enough to cover each eye
- Smooth, sleek fur
Roof rats typically nest above the ground in attics, ceilings, crawl spaces, trees and need only 1/2” to enter a building. Because these rats are nocturnal and typically nest in higher places, the actual rats wont be seen often but there will be signs they are around. Some signs you have a rat infestation include, rat droppings, noises in the walls or ceilings, remnants or whole nests and of course rat carcasses.
Roof rats eat a variety of food but prefer nuts, fruits and insects but will also eat grain products and meat if they have to.
Preventing rodents from entering the building (don’t forget, eliminate their basic necessities including food, water and shelter) goes a long way but if you already find yourself with infestation you have a few options. Trapping and baiting are two strategies that have proved effective. Trapping is the safest, most effective and least expensive way to control rats indoors. Place traps in places where the rats are inclined to visit. If the rat population is out of control, the use of poisonous baits may be necessary but because of the risks involved, it is worthwhile to contact a licensed pest control company to control the rats.
Side note: Happy Thanksgiving from Southern California Pest Control Advice!