rat by sidewalk

In our Port St. Lucie service area, we have a variety of animal pests, but of all of the animals that get into our homes and businesses, none can compete with rats. Why are rats so bad? Because most pests will get into an isolated area and stay there. Squirrels will get into your attic but they're not likely to move about inside your home. Many animals will utilize the void underneath your deck, shed, or home. This is where they stay. But rats can get into homes and find their way to every level. This brings them into contact with people far more often than other pests, with perhaps the exception of mice. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the threat rats pose, and how you can control them.

mouse in bowl
mouse in tire

Anatomy Of A Rat Infestation

The first step in rat control is to understand how important it is. If you don't, you won't take the steps necessary to keep rats out. Here are some of the ways rats can impact your life.

  • Rats pick up harmful bacteria and parasitic worms from dumpsters, trash receptacles, trash heaps, sewers, and other dirty places they explore. Their hair becomes a vector for these microorganisms.

  • Rats groom themselves frequently. When they do, they ingest organisms from their fur. This can make them a vector for diseases as their feces and urine can be infected with diseases that have incubated in their guts.

  • Rats pick up ticks, fleas, and other parasites as they move about outside. Ticks and fleas can spread a long list of diseases, some of which have lifelong medical implications.

  • Rats damage building materials, stored items, and belongings throughout a home.

  • Rats chew on wires and gas lines, which can spark a fire.

  • Rats can make unwanted noises and cause unwanted smells.

Rat Identification

In Port St. Lucie, we have two common pest rats. They are the Norway rat and the roof rat. Norway rats are brown rats that have a preference for creating ground burrows near man-made structures, but they are able to infest structures under the right circumstances. Roof rats are black rats that prefer to live in high places and will commonly infest man-made structures. Both of these rats are attracted to damp habitats and trash. Managing these two attractants is key to preventing an infestation.

Damp Habitats

When rats explore your yard, they prefer to be in areas that are damp. Ponds and other water sources are an obvious attractant, but there are some attractants that are not so obvious. An overturned frisbee with some rainwater in it can lure a rodent to your property. Remove all water sources around your home to reduce rodent activity.

Trash And Food

A rat can find many food options inside your trash receptacles. They're also equipped with abilities that give them access to your trash. Rats are incredible jumpers and climbers. Make sure your trash bins are covered and keep your receptacles clean to reduce smells that can attract rodents from a great distance. Here are a few more ways to reduce food as an attractant.

  • Make sure gardens, fruit trees, and berry bushes are protected with fencing.

  • Move bird feeders away from your exterior. Seeds that drop to the ground will attract rats.

  • Pick up dog waste. While animal waste isn't a preference, urban rats will take to eating it when times are tough.

  • If you have pets or animals you feed outside, be aware that you'll attract rats with that food. Put food down only during meal times and never leave it out overnight.

Exclusion

When rats explore your exterior, they can squeeze their way in through a hole the size of a quarter. Do a detailed inspection and seal any gaps, cracks, or holes you find. Pay particular attention to your doors and windows. These can have many vulnerabilities. Here are a few other tips to help keep rats out.

  • Trim tree branches away from your roofline.

  • Put wire mesh in your downspouts.

  • Move objects away from your exterior.

  • Trim bushes, shrubs, and dense vegetation in your landscaping.

Rat Management

If rats get inside your Port St. Lucie property, or you start to see an increase in rat activity around your property, reach out to Native Pest Management for assistance. We use advanced technologies and trusted strategies for rodent control and management. There is no better way to protect your health and property. 

 

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