Roof rats in Port St. Lucie are one of the leading pests in the area. Without the right prevention plans in place, these agile pests can cause severe damage to all different areas around your home, including eating away at your beautiful fruit trees.
We'll discuss more what you need to know about these pests, reasons why they may be attracted to your home, signs that you may have a roof rat problem, and the key prevention tips you can follow to keep your home safe.
What are Roof Rats?
Roof rats are also known as citrus rats or fruit rats. They are classified as tree-living creatures, so they love traveling around Port St. Lucie by utility lines, tree branches, and fences. They also prefer high nesting areas, like attics, cabinets, openings along the roofline, skirts of old palm tree fronds, and hollow trees.
Adult roof rats have the following qualities:
Length: 12-14 inches (30-36 cm)
Weight: 5-10 oz. (150-250g)
Tail: The tail length is longer than the head and body together, and it is hairless, black, and scaly.
Ears: Roof rats have big, round, prominent ears.
Eyes: Roof rats have big, dark eyes.
Color: Roof rats in Florida can have any of the following combinations of colors
Black back with gray stomach
Gray back with light gray stomach
Brown gray back with a white or cream stomach
Roof rats reproduce throughout the year, with a single female capable of producing 25-40 babies, or 4-5 litters, each year. Roof rats seek sexual maturity at 3-4 months old, so as you can see, prevention is critical in keeping these pests away before they develop into a huge problem.
Roof rats are nocturnal animals, so these quick and agile pests are the most active at night, climbing around the top floors of buildings and attics. If you happen to hear them active during the day, this could be a sign of a more significant infestation.
What Attracts Roof Rats to Your Port St. Lucie Home
There are a few reasons why roof rats may be attracted to your Port St. Lucie property.
Trash, Food, and Fruit Trees
Like most species of rats, roof rats are attracted to trash. And as tree-living pests, they are incredible climbers and jumpers. So finding their way into your trashcans wouldn’t be a problem.
Roof rats are classified as omnivores, eating both plants and meat. However, they particularly love fruit and nuts, so it's not uncommon to find that your bird feeder has been ransacked and your fruit trees attacked.
Access to Water
Roof rats are also attracted to water sources, such as ponds. But even some puddles of water around your home can be enough to attract roof rats to your property. This is also the reason why it's essential to keep your roof clean of any backed-up water or debris.
Ideal Nesting Area
Roof rats are always looking for a safe, sheltered place to build a nest. All they need is an access point roughly the size of a quarter, so if they find a nice area that keeps them protected, they won’t hesitate to start nesting.
5 Commons Signs of Roof Rats
One of the first indicators of roof rats is signs of droppings. Roof rats have banana-shaped, black droppings roughly 1/4 –1/2 inch long (1 cm). Take a look in your attic, cabinets, roof, and other high spots around the home.
Like with many rats, a common sign is hearing noises within your ceilings and walls. So, especially at night, take a listen if you’re able to hear any scurrying or other suspicious noises.
Dark, Swing Marks
One sign of roof rats is seeing dark smears along the surfaces of your home. These rats have grease and dirt, so as they move and swing around the high areas of your home, they leave behind dark swing marks.
Another sign of roof rats is nibbled and hollowed out apples, peaches, mangos, tomatoes, or bananas. Roof rats can also pick and carry off blueberries, strawberries, figs, dates, and other kinds of fruit.
There are a few areas to look for damage. First, look for damage to your insulation, drywall, and roof eaves. Additionally, look for chew marks and wear to electrical wires, air conditioning tubes, and water pipes.
4 Key Prevention Tips for Roof Rats | Port St. Lucie, FL
There are some essential prevention methods you can use to help keep roof rats away from your property.
1. Rat-Proof and Prune Fruit Trees
To help keep roof rats away, there are a few tips and tricks when it comes to caring for your fruit trees.
First, make sure your fruit trees are not touching fences, wires, roof lines, or even the branches of other trees. Additionally, make sure none of the branches reach the ground. These methods help prevent roof rats from having easy traveling access.
Secondly, you can install roof rat guards around the bottom of your trees. You can purchase pieces of sheet metal and wrap them around the trunk of the trees to prevent roof rats from being able to climb.
Lastly, it's essential to clean up any fruit that falls to the ground. Keeping fruit out of reach is part of your defense!
2. Seal Up Entry Points
Like with many pests, one of the best prevention methods is making sure all cracks and entry points are sealed up. The goal is to make sure they can’t access your attic, the most likely spot they would enter the house. Make sure to replace any missing shingles on your roof. Use wire mesh to block any holes in the ceilings and walls.
3. Set Traps
Setting traps can also be effective, but since roof rats are climbers, it requires placing the traps in the right places.
On the ground around trees
Tied around tree trunks
Placed on boards of fences
Secured to support poles of chain link fences
If you choose to set traps, you also have to avoid accidentally harming other animals. For example, try to set traps just from dusk to dawn, so squirrels and other animals accidentally get trapped. Additionally, for placing traps on fences, place a piece of wood above the trap, so birds don't accidentally get snapped.
Poisonous traps can also be an option, but they must be tamper-resistant poison bait stations. In Florida, it is illegal to have any poison accessible to children, pets, wildlife, or livestock.
4. Call an Experienced Pest Control Company
When you think you may have a roof rat infestation, it can be challenging to handle on your own. The best and most effective tip for roof rat treatment and prevention is to work with an experienced pest control company in Port St. Lucie.
These experts will know how to help rid these pests and keep them away by using the most effective methods based on your situation.
Call Southeast Florida Pest Control for Roof Rat Treatment and Prevention
Our expert team at Southeast Florida Pest Control can help treat and prevent roof rats from invading your Port St. Lucie home. When you call us, we'll set up a time for a thorough rodent inspection to check all areas around your home for any signs of roof rats.
We’ll then recommend our roof rat treatment options that are best based on your situation. We focus on non-chemical methods in rodent control and prevention and provide bi-monthly and quarterly services to monitor your home and keep it protected.
Don't hesitate to contact us at 772-272-8727 or complete our easy online form to schedule your free estimate.