Roof Rats


What are roof rats?

Roof rats are rodents that are very athletic and agile. They are able to climb trees and utility poles to gain access to structures through roof areas. They have thin bodies covered in dark brown or black fur with gray hairs scattered throughout. Their underbellies are lighter in color than the rest of their bodies. From nose to tail roof rats grow to between 12-16 inches in length. Other physical features include a pointed nose, large ears, and a long scaly, hairless tail.

Why do I have a problem with roof rats?

Roof rats are attracted to Washington state yards and properties that have ample amounts of food, water, and shelter. They forage for food in trash cans, fruit trees, gardens, compost bins, pet food, and bird feeders. Roof rats, once on your property, have the potential to find their way into your home, usually while out foraging for more food sources or to escape harsh weather. Roof rats, like many other species of rodents in Central Washington, often move inside during the late fall and winter when food sources become scarce.

Where do roof rats nest?

Roof rats tend to live together in colonies and prefer to nest up high off the ground. Inside homes and other structures, they build their nests in attics, above ceilings, in rafters, and in upper cabinets. Outside, they nest in fruit trees, shrubs, woodpiles, and in dense vegetation. Roof rats are nocturnal, meaning they hide in their nesting areas during the day and come out at night when it is cooler to forage for food.

Are roof rats dangerous?

Roof rats are dangerous pests. When living near or with people they create major health concerns. They spread diseases that cause serious health complications for people including Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, rate-bite fever, and Salmonella. It is also not uncommon for people to have allergic reactions to their shed fur and excrement.

Roof rats cause structural damage by chewing through wires, pipes, drywall, insulation, and floors. Their chewing habits can create electrical shorts, trigger fires, and even cause water damage. As they move throughout a home from their nest to food sources, they follow the same path each day. This habit leaves behind grease marks on walls and furniture.

In addition, roof rats damage personal items like furniture, clothing, boxes, and books; they also contaminate food and surfaces with their saliva and excrement.

How do I get rid of roof rats?

For homeowners looking to get rid of roof rats from their home or property, contact Prosite, we specialize in rodent control! At Prosite, we offer comprehensive pest control treatments in Ellensburg and surrounding areas that include an inspection.

We begin by conducting a thorough inspection of the property and accurate identification of the rodents on your property. We then locate entry points and determine what conditions in or around your structure are attracting roof rats. Upon completion of our inspection, we’ll discuss our findings and recommend a treatment plan to get rid of the roof rats. If you’re interested in learning more about our rodent control services for roof rats, please contact Prosite today.

How do I prevent problems with roof rats?

At Prosite, we recommend implementing the following rodent prevention tips to keep destructive roof rats out of your Washington home:

  • Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation, exterior walls, and spaces found around utilities (pipes, wire, and ducts).
  • Cut shrubbery away from your home’s exterior.
  • Cut tree branches back away from your home.
  • Keep grass cut short.
  • Harvest fruit trees and gardens on a regular basis.
  • Place metal flashing on the base of fruit trees to prevent rodents from being able to climb up.
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on trashcans and compost bins.
  • Remove bird feeders from your yard.
  • Pick up uneaten pet food.
  • Store food in the refrigerator or in air-tight containers.
  • Remove trash from your home daily. Vacuum your home’s floors often.
  • Keep storage areas like basements and closets free of clutter and debris.
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