Roof Rats in Tampa, FL
Roof Rats are common pests of Tampa Florida. Roof rats can be found anywhere there is a food source making Tampa and ideal place for these nuisance pests. Rodent infestations can get out of control quickly if not addressed as soon as it’s discovered. No one wants a rodent infestation in their home or garage. There are some simple tips you can follow to make your home less inviting to rats and prevent a possible roof rat infestation. As soon as a rat is discovered in your home, garage, or building address the rat immediately to avoid a possible infestation. The odor of a rat will attract other rats leading to a rat infestation and possibly snakes since snakes are also attracted to the smell of rats. Contact us immediately for rat removal or snake removal services. We are full service nuisance pest control company providing solutions to all of Tampa’s Nuisance Wildlife Pests!
Rat Ecology You Need to Know
The roof rat, also known as the black rat is a common long tailed rodent that is an introduced (non-native) rat. Other common names of the Roof Rat are House Rat, and Ship Rat. This Black Rat has been found along the southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal states, from Florida to Texas and throughout Tampa, Florida. They also are found along the Pacific coast of California, Washington State, and Oregon. These pests are very weather resistant but are largely confined to warmer weathers.
Roof Rat Facts
Typical roof rat is between 13 to 18 inches long, including its tail. In fact, it is distinguished from other rats by its tail, which is longer than the rest of its body. Roof rats are dark brown to black, sleek, slender, and agile. They have large ears, and are smaller than Norway Rats. They are omnivores and eat a wide variety of foods including seeds, fruits, leaves, fungi, and a variety of insects and animals. Even though these pests prefer fruits and seeds they will feast on dogs, cats, swine, chicken, and other animals. Roof Rats also require a water source, consuming up to a half ounce of water daily.
Roof rats are nocturnal, and can transmit diseases like the bubonic plague, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis and typhus. Rats are vectors for transmittance of diseases because they carry bacteria and viruses in their systems. Bacterial diseases carried include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptobacillus moniliformis, Bacillus piliformis, and Pasteurella pneumotropica are among a few.
Roof rats do not burrow in the ground, and are poor swimmers. They only need a hole the size of a quarter to gain entry to homes and buildings. Once inside, roof rats go up; high places, like attics, are their preference.
Roof rats are great climbers. They can climb walls and use utility lines and fences to travel from structure to structure. Outside, roof rats will nest in trees, woodpiles, garbage, and plants. A few possible signs of roof rats are: if you have citrus trees, hollowed-out fruit on the ground or in the trees; gnawing or scratching sounds in the attic or in the walls; oily rub marks on the house; and small holes in the screens. Pay attention to any droppings in attics and storage areas; roof rat droppings are long and cylindrical.
Rodent Proofing Your Hillsborough County Home
Roof rats can be one of the most destructive rodents in the world, they will chew phone lines, power lines, telephone lines and any other item they has access to. Roof rats teeth continues to grow, so their need to chew thing will continue all the way through their life cycle. When doing a roof rat inspection, a good operator in Tampa will look for some of the following:
- Repair or replace damaged ventilation screen around the foundation and under eaves.
- Provide a tight fitting cover for the crawl space.
- Seal all openings around pipes, cables, and wires that enter through walls or the foundation.
- Be sure all windows that can be opened are screened and that the screens are in good condition.
- Cover all chimneys with a spark arrester.
- Make sure internal screens on roof and attic air vents are in good repair.
- Cover rooftop plumbing vent pipes in excess of 2 inches in diameter with screens over their tops.
- Make sure all exterior doors are tight fitting and weatherproofed at the bottom.
- Seal gaps beneath garage doors with a gasket or weather stripping.
- Eliminate standing water and fix leaky faucets.
Getting Rid of Roof Rats in Tampa, FL
For controlling rats indoors, use traps. The bait should be fastened securely to the trigger of the trap with light string, thread, fine wire, or glue so the rodent will spring the trap in attempting to remove the food. Soft baits such as peanut butter and cheese can be used, but rats sometimes take soft baits without setting off the trap. Leaving traps baited but unset until the bait has been taken at least once improves trapping success by making the rodents more accustomed to the traps.
For roof rats, the best places for traps are off the ground in locations where rats may be coming down from their nests to find food, such as on ledges, shelves, branches, fences, pipes, or overhead beams, where the traps can be fastened with screws or wire. In homes, the attic and garage rafters close to the infestation are good trapping sites. In areas where children, pets, or birds might contact traps, place the trap in a box or use a barrier to keep them away.
One of the alternatives to a snap trap is a glue board. Glue boards work on the same principle as flypaper: when a rat or mouse attempts to cross the glue board, the rodent gets stuck. Glue boards are much more effective for mice than for rats. Also, one of the major drawbacks with glue boards and other live-catch type traps is that the trapped rat may not die quickly, and you will need to kill it.
Live traps are not recommended because trapped rats must either be killed or released elsewhere. Releasing rats outdoors is not recommended because of health concerns to people, pets, and other domestic animals. Because neither the roof nor Norway rat is native to this country, their presence in the wild is very detrimental to native ecosystems.
While trapping is generally recommended for controlling rats indoors, when the number of rats around a building is high, you may need to use toxic baits to achieve adequate control, especially if there is a continuous reinfestation from surrounding areas. If this is the case, consider hiring a licensed pest control applicator, which is trained to use rodenticides safely. Baiting is best done outdoors; otherwise rats may die behind a wall. In hot weather, the stench of a dead rat can be unbearable and may necessitate cutting a hole in the wall to remove the carcass. Also, external parasites such as fleas and mites often leave dead rat carcasses and may infest the entire house if the carcass is not removed promptly.
Pets and Rat Control in Tampa
All rodent baits are toxic to dogs and cats, so be cautious in their use. Because the anticoagulants are cumulative and slow acting, dead rats may contain several lethal doses of toxicant, and secondary poisoning of pets and wildlife is possible if rat carcasses are consumed. If you suspect that a pet has consumed bait, get it to a vet immediately.
The best precaution is to keep pets away from bait and dead or dying rodents. Dispose of dead rodents by burying or placing in a plastic bag, sealing, and placing in the trash. Do not handle them with bare hands. Place the bait only in areas specified on the label. Put bait in locations out of the reach of children, pets, domestic animals, and nontarget wildlife or in tamper-resistant bait stations. These bait stations must be resistant to destruction by dogs and by children under 6 years of age and must be constructed in a manner that prevents a child from reaching into the bait compartments and obtaining bait. If bait can be shaken from stations when lifted or tipped, stations must be secured or otherwise immobilized. Store unused bait in a locked cabinet inaccessible to children and domestic animals.