Perhaps you've heard the scratching coming from the ceiling. Maybe you've noticed some damage to the upper levels of your home. Or you've even started seeing some weird droppings in the attic.
If those things sound familiar to you, then you're dealing with a common problem for many homeowners - roof rats. In Georgia, one species of rat has found safe harbor in the high and often unreachable parts of homes.
In a recent study, the Atlanta region ranked No. 13 in the country for rodent infestations, as the Southeast climate proves fertile for rats to thrive. With the housing boom in the area, there are now tons of potential locations for roof rats to hide and breed.
Roof rats have developed into a major pest for homeowners in the area. They love to escape the cold by hiding out in homes in the winter. In the spring, attics are a great place for them to store food. Taking steps to ensure your home is sealed can prevent damage to your roof and ductwork.
Find out more about these annoying rodents in Georgia and how to prevent them from invading your home.
What is a roof rat?
Atlanta rats generally come in two varieties. Norway rats are lighter, larger and adept at burrowing. Roof rats are darker, smaller and are good climbers. They are often found in trees, on power lines and, unfortunately, in the attics of homes. Roof rats have poor vision, but an extremely strong sense of hearing, taste and touch.
What are signs of a roof rat infestation?
Aside from actually spotting a rat, the most telltale sign is droppings around your home. Fresh droppings will seem moist, while older ones will look hard and dry. The droppings usually have pointed ends. Other signs include gnaw marks on wires and roof lines, greasy marks or streaks, and scratching or scuttling noises in the attic or ceiling.
Are roof rats dangerous?
While roof rats avoid human contact, they can cause problems aside from damage to your home. Rats are known to carry diseases and parasites. People can experience allergies and illness due to rat droppings or dander throughout the home. Roof rats can also contaminate the food in your home because of the bacteria on their paws.
How many roof rats are in a colony?
If you've spotted one roof rat in your home, it probably means there are more around. Roof rats do live in colonies. While the numbers may vary, a roof rat can produce around 40 offspring during their lifetime. The colony aspect of rats is why you should move quickly to deal with the problem as soon as you spot any evidence of an infestation.
What are the primary entry points for roof rats?
Your home may offer several inviting entryways for roof rats. Attic and roof vents can lead straight into your home. Gaps in the coverage, no matter how small, may be just enough for a roof rat to squeeze through. Chimneys and drainage pipes are another entry point. Roof damage, like missing or broken shingles, makes it easier for rodents to enter your home.
How does one get rid of roof rats?
Prevention is key in how to get rid of roof rats. Any opening larger than a nickel should be sealed immediately. Do not leave food unsealed in your home. If you have a fruit-bearing tree, pick up any fallen fruit from around your house. Rats in Georgia enjoy wet, tropical weather, so fix any leaky faucets or hoses and eliminate standing water near your home.
If roof rats have already gotten inside the home, you will need to set out traps to catch them. From old-school snap traps to high-tech ultrasonic ones, there are many ways to eradicate the rodents. While you may be able to do some of this yourself, working with exterminators will provide the most effective methods. You'll also want to connect with roofing experts if you need to repair your roof or gutters.
Discovering rodents in your home can be a shock to homeowners. Getting rid of roof rats can be time-consuming, but taking the proper steps and consulting with professional exterminators will help give you some peace of mind and keep your home safe from those pesky rodents.