How to Get Rid of Roof Rats
Known as fruit rats, black rats and ship rats, roof rats can cause some serious damage to the electrical wires and insulation of your home. These high-dwelling rats often like to make their home in attics, vents, false ceilings and crawl spaces where they live and reproduce all year long. While they prefer a steady diet of fruit, roof rats are not above sampling some wires if they come across them. This can lead to power outages, fires and loss of productivity if steps aren’t taken to get rid of them. If there are roof rats in your area, your first line of defense is to make your home as unwelcoming as possible. This means:
- Clean up your property. Get rid of trash, clutter and possible sources of food and water, including standing water sources, fallen fruit from trees and bulk food stored in your garage.
- Seal up your house. Look for any easy access points and repair or seal them so the rats can’t get in. Cover all your air vents with mesh and fill in any hole larger than 1/2-inch in diameter with mesh or cement.
If the rats have already invaded, take some steps to get rid of them before you seal up your home. Roof rats are very similar to other rodents that may inhabit your home, and so are the methods you can use to get rid of them.
Trapping the rats is one of the most effective ways of dealing with them. It gets rid of the rats that are currently in the space and allows you to dispose of them how you see fit. There are two basic types of traps: standard “mouse traps”, which break their backs and kill them, and electronic traps that shock the rat for a continuous two minutes and reset themselves if the rat manages to escape.
Rodent repellents keep the rats from wanting to enter your home in the first place, and can drive out those that may already be there. A rodent repellent emits ultrasonic, high-frequency sound waves that discourage the roof rats from being in that area. They can be run on batteries or electrical power and will generally decrease your rodent activity in about 10 days. Because they don’t kill the rats, you don’t have to worry about disposing of them. If you have a large population of rats, or some highly sensitive equipment, however, you may want to use a repellent in conjunction with a method that will destroy the rats already there more quickly.
Rodenticides are poisons used to kill any roof rats currently living in your home. This may be a spray, but is usually a type of poisonous “bait” left out for the rats to eat. This can be one of the more inexpensive ways to get rid of the rats, but it does have some drawbacks. Rats may eat the poison and die inside a wall, for example, where they can be difficult to reach and dispose of. Handling dead rats may also be hazardous if the rats are carrying diseases, and poisons left out may harm small children or family pets.
Protect Your Home
Roof rats can become a serious problem if they are left to breed and multiply. Arm yourself against these invaders at the first sign of their presence to avoid long-lasting issues.