Here are 4 simple tips to safeguard your home from attracting these unwanted nuisances.
1. Trim tree branches that come in contact or are near your roof. Roof rats usually enter and nest in the upper portions of homes. Branches provide super highways for rats to gain access to your roof and possibly your attic. When you trim the branches, you remove their bridge. But even this is not foolproof if you’re not careful. Roof rats are known to jump up to 48” from branches to roofs, so keep trees limbs trimmed at least 4 feet from your roof, eaves or utility wires.
2. Seal cracks and holes in your home’s foundation and siding. Rats can squeeze through an opening as small as a ½ inch! If the opening is the size of a quarter or larger, they can squeeze through. Seal holes and cracks using ¼ inch or smaller square steel mesh, concrete/stucco patch or metal flashing to discourage intrusions. One popular entry point in block homes is the gap around the Freon line running from the A/C compressor into the wall.
3. Remove unintended food sources. Feeding cats and dogs outside may be attracting rats to your doorstep, especially if the food is left out overnight. Bring food and water bowls in each evening since rats are nocturnal with most activity taking place between sunset and sunrise. Don’t forget to protect the bird feeder, another gourmet feeding area for rats.
4. Pick ripened fruit and clean up the fallen fruit. Fruit trees are attractive and an ideal food source for roof rats. Regularly picking ripened fruit and promptly collecting fallen fruit will help prevent an easy meal. Fruit with much of the outer peel intact while the center is hollowed out is a sign that rats have been actively feeding.
Rats are very prolific and can multiply rapidly. The average female can produce up to 8 litters per year with an average of 4 -7 offspring per litter. By taking the time to inspect your home and following these 4 simple tips, you can make your home less inviting to these pests.