Roof Rat Habits
Rodents are problematic inside of any structure. While rodent issues will generally be more pervasive in areas where construction may be older and sanitation may not be ideal, rodents can infest any building. Recognition of a rodent problem is not necessarily a reflection on one’s tidiness or cleanliness; it is unfortunately a byproduct of living in the Pacific Northwest and requires expertise and care to manage.
Rodents are well-suited to the Puget Sound region. They have a high reproductive rate and compete well for resources with other scavengers (they have been known to attack other animals such as fish, birds, and other mammals).
Rodents can burrow long distances to obtain food and shelter from predators. Most rodents can survive a fall of up to fifty feet, making them fearless climbers and able to travel across power lines and tree branches.
Rodents can be vectors for various diseases and bacteria. Rats were historically the carriers for the Bubonic plague, and have been responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. Rats are especially problematic as carriers of disease because they so often attempt to live as close to humans as possible (our food and garbage/waste provide a major source of food and harborage for rodent populations).
Rodents can also cause more basic damage in a variety of ways. They can contaminate our attics and crawl spaces with their droppings and urine; they can chew through expandable foam, electrical wires, and even the wood inside of our homes; they can destroy our gardens and eat our food; and perhaps most damaging, they can destroy our peace of mind and sense of security when we hear them inside of our homes and places of business.
Rodents are not a simple pest to eradicate from a structure; they are intelligent creatures with an imperative to survive at any cost. Comprehensive rodent control should consist of four steps:
- Inspection. Thorough inspection is absolutely imperative to effective rodent control. The most important consideration in a rodent inspection is to identify all access points that rodents are using to gain access to the structure(s). Without a thorough understanding of how the rodents are entering and/or exiting the structure, effective control is nearly impossible.
- Exclusion. Once the access points have been identified, structural improvements must be made to correct the gaps or holes. These repairs can range from the simple to the complex, and should be checked regularly as they will often break down with time and/or increased rodent pressure. Exclusion should be performed by a trained professional with the most appropriate material(s) for the situation. Our service technicians bring their expertise and their knowledge of rodent behaviors, which is the ideal combination for effective rodent exclusion.
- Trapping. Once access areas have been excluded, rodents will become increasingly desperate and trapping will become much more effective. While trapping can be employed before exclusion work has been performed, the results are often spotty and inconclusive (adults and more experienced rodents can have a tendency to become “trap-shy” and avoid new items placed into their environment). Once exclusion work has been performed, previous access to food and water has now been taken away and traps become much more appealing to the rodents.
- Exterior baiting. Once rodents have been excluded from the structure and all rodents on the inside have been trapped and disposed of, your best tool is population control. An effective baiting program will reduce rodent populations on the outside of the structure(s), thereby reducing the risk of re-infestation. Rodents will always be prevalent in the Pacific Northwest; with an effective baiting program (with frequent re-inspection), you can ensure that your home will be protected from rodent entry.
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