Tips to keep roof rats away
1. Starve them out
• Citrus, figs, acorns, and various other locally grown plants are a source of food and water for roof rats. Pick fruit, even if it’s not ripe, and pick up any that falls to the ground.
• Don’t leave pet food out overnight, and pick up dog feces.
• Limit use of bird feeders. Either stop filling them altogether or only provide the amount birds will eat in a day. Sweep up any spilled food before sunset. Store bird seed in sealed, rat-proof containers.
• Indoors, store bulk food in sealed, rat-proof containers.
• Keep garbage containers tightly covered.
2. Clean up your yard
• Rake under trees and shrubs.
• Prune fruit trees so the ground under them is visible.
• Remove wood and brush piles. If you have to store wood and lumber, keep it at least 18 inches above the ground and 12 inches from walls.
• Trim or remove dead trees. Roof rats nest in the skirts of old palm fronds, in piles of debris and in hollow trees.
• Thin out bushes so you can see daylight through them. Roof rats like to nest in oleanders in the summer.
3. Seal your home
• Roof rats can enter through openings as small as a nickel, so be diligent sealing cracks and crevices. Use stucco diamond mesh, which is available at building material suppliers, to seal holes and vents. It is easy to cut and mold, but for rats it’s like chewing razor blades.
• Check for holes in exterior walls and near water heaters, washers, dryers, dishwashers and under sinks.
• Caulk cracks, screen the sewer stacks on the roof and stuff air-conditioning lines that run from outside into the attic with steel wool or copper mesh to prevent rats from entering.
4. Be strategic with traps
• Set traps baited with a little peanut butter in areas such as the laundry room or garden shed.
• Place traps away from places they can be found by pets or small children.
• Roof rats can be skittish about unfamiliar objects, so leave the traps in place for at least a week before moving them.
5. Be careful with poisons
• Bait stations are protected places for rats to feed without being accessible to non-target animals. Call Rosie’s Pest Control to set you up with these bait stations. They are professionals and will know the best places to put these stations for maximum effectiveness.
• Don’t wire poison bait blocks directly to tree branches. That could lead to accidental poisoning of cats and birds.
• Make sure your home is sealed before putting out poison bait so the rats don’t enter the house and die, creating a stench it might be hard to get rid of.