Rodents: The Roof Rat
The roof rat is the worst rodent pest in the state of Florida and the most abundant. A few of the main signs that you have a rodent problem are gnawing marks, droppings, and scampering noises. In addition, they cause considerable structural damage to your home or building, and will tunnel into insulation inside of walls and attics.
Roof rats are nocturnal, which allows them to often go unnoticed in our communities until citrus and other fruits start to ripen. They love to munch on citrus fruits, most commonly oranges, and they hollow out the entire fruit. As our citrus season continues to progress through March you may begin to see more rats around your house, yard, and neighborhood than before. With that said, hollowed-out fruit is the most common indication of roof rats.
Roof rats will eat plants and meat as well, but their preferences are vegetables, seeds, nuts, and their favorite: fresh fruit. They also feed on pet food, garbage, insects, and even chicken feed!
They tend to situate themselves in areas where water is abundant. For example, if you have a leaky faucet, bird bath, water fountain, irrigation lines, pet water dishes, drip lines, or anything of the sorts you are more prone to a rat infestation. They will even chew through lead and plastic pipes to reach water (yikes!).
They have similar characteristics to squirrels, and have the ability to travel through trees and along vines and wires. They spend 90 percent of their life four feet or higher off the ground, and have also been found in swimming pools, attics, garages, Quaker parrot nests, and patios. In our area of Florida, roof rats breed all year long and begin breeding at three to four months of age! A female can birth around 40 babies a year (eek!).
A common myth associated with roof rats is that cats and dogs will keep them out of your yards and fruit trees. However, because roof rats tend to live above the ground, they are usually able to get into attics and fruit trees without ever touching the ground. Rats quickly learn the safest routes through yards to avoid predators.
Our team here at Trad’s Pest Control will help you evaluate your situation and be able to tailor a comprehensive plan for removal given the severity of the infestation. Give us a call today!