How to Eliminate Roof Rats in Your Home

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How do I eliminate roof rats from my home? – Phoenix, Arizona

Question: I live in Tempe, Arizona and my neighborhood has roof rats. My grandson recently saw a rat on a tree near my block wall. Do you think it is a roof rat and what should I do?

Answer: We appreciate the question. First off, parts of Tempe have significant roof rat populations. Unfortunately, roof rat control is a growing challenge for many cities and neighborhoods throughout the Valley. We cannot say for certain if what your grandson saw was a roof rat without seeing it ourselves. As far as what to do to prevent roof rats, there are several things one can do around their home to reduce how likable their home is to roof rats.

Before we share the tips, let’s share a few quick pieces of information about roof rats. They spend 90%+ of their time off the ground. If they have sufficient food and water sources off the ground that percentage can be higher. They generally live in trees and vegetation. They can eat fruits, nuts, vegetables, bird seed, dog and cat food and food debris of any kind. Dr. Bobby Corrigan, one of the leading experts on rodent control in the U.S., says that when approaching a rodent challenge, one should begin by asking 2 questions:

  1. What and where is the food for this rodent infestation?
  2. How are the rodents causing the infestation getting into the building?

Let’s work with his question #1 first.

Identifying and eliminating the food source(s).

When inspecting a home we want to eliminate access to any food source. Some quick examples:

  • Citrus trees – If you have a citrus trees in your yard, you will need to be mindful to pick the fruit when ripe and pick-up any fruit that falls to the ground regularly.
  • Gardens – Need to be properly maintained. If the garden is feeding the roof rats you may want to consider suspending the garden for a season until they have been controlled.
  • Dog food and cat food – Move the dog food and cat food inside.
  • Garbage cans – Are the lids broken on your garbage cans? If so, replace them.
  • Seed or other food sources around the home or in the garage – Remove any accessible food source.

The food source may not be in your yard. Roof rats will travel and the close proximity to food sources that you cannot control can be a challenge for control at your home.
Now for question #2.

How are the rodents causing the infestation getting into the building?

Are they getting access to your roof because of overhanging trees onto your roof or home or bushes and vegetation touching your home?

  • Cut back any trees so they do not overhand the roofline or touch the home. We recommend cutting them back at least 3 feet away from the home. This makes it more difficult for them to have access to your roof.
  • Cut back any vegetation touching the home.

Once we have made it harder for them to access the home, we can now look for cracks and crevices that can be sealed to prevent them from getting into the home.

Once we have addressed these first two questions we can now tackle eliminating the roof rat infestation that may still exist. Professional products and techniques may be required to eliminate the infestation. If you have any questions on identifying roof rats or removing them from your home please let us know.

To rid your home of roof rats, contact Blue Sky Pest Control.

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