If there’s a “trinity” of pests here in the Phoenix metro, most experts would agree that bark scorpions and subterranean termites take the two spots. The third? Roof rats. In this blog, we’ll review the warning signs of roof rats and when you need to call KY-KO for a free inspection.
What are roof rats?
Typically, roof rats are the black rat. Infamous for once spreading the bubonic plague to Europe, black rats are one of the world’s most successful and widespread species, living anywhere humans do.
Roof rats, as the name implies, make their nests in Phoenix area attics. They’re a specialized rat that has adapted to the modern lifestyle of humans here in the desert.
Why are they so common in Phoenix?
Gilbert and Tempe are both in the top-5 for roof rats nationwide. There are many reasons for this, but one of the primary ones is that the citrus trees in many backyards in the Valley provide a consistent food source for rats, while attics are generally undisturbed by local homeowners.
How do they infest new homes?
Roof rats can travel in many different ways to new homes. According to the City of Tempe, rats move 200-300 feet at night and are most active in the cooler months of the year.
True to their name, these rats are experts at traveling high up. They’ll move along power lines and can climb up brick and stucco. When they reach their destination, they can enter homes through any nickel-sized opening.
What are the signs of roof rats?
Luckily for homeowners, there’s some sure signs that roof rats are in your home:
- If you have citrus trees on your property, look at fallen fruit. If the fruit is eaten or hollowed out, that probably means rats have been feasting on it.
- You’ll often hear roof rats making noises in their nests in your attic. Listen at night: if you hear squeaking or scratching, it might be roof rats above you.
- If you have cats or dogs that are acting strangely—especially toward the ceiling—that might warrant a closer inspection.
- You may actually see the rats. Roof rats travel outside the attic to the exterior of your home for food. Set up a camera to watch for their movement or activity.
What’s the best way to get rid of roof rats?
If you suspect you have roof rats, do not personally inspect your attic. Roof rat droppings, urine, and nests can contain dangerous bacteria that can make you and your family very sick. Instead, call KY-KO Pest Prevention for a free roof rat inspection.
If our techs find that you do have roof rats, we’ll develop a plan with you for removing the pests and preventing their re-entry. We also handle cleanup of the aforementioned droppings, urines, and nests.
Part of future rat prevention is taking steps to make your home less appealing to rats. This includes regularly cleaning up dropped fruit, sealing your attic, cleaning up your yard, and not putting pet food outside. Your KY-KO tech will review this with you after your inspection.