Do You Need a Rodent Exterminator?
Rodents can be difficult to keep out of structures. For instance, mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter. For proper rodent pest control, seal any cracks and voids. Ensure there is proper drainage at the foundation and always install gutters or diverts which will channel water away from the building. A rodent exterminator can also help you identify ways in which a rodent may be entering your home.
What are Roof Rats?
The roof rat is the smaller of the two commensal rats, as the Norway rat is larger in size. Roof rats are also referred to as black rats or ship rats. The roof rat gets its name from its tendency to find shelter in the upper parts of buildings. Once inside, roof rats not only damage materials by gnawing through them, but they also contaminate stored food and serve as vectors of dangerous diseases.
Roof rats are thought to be of Southeast Asian origin, but they are now found worldwide, especially in the tropical regions.
Signs of an Infestation
There are many key indicators of a roof rat infestation in the home. First and foremost, seeing an actual rodent, dead or alive, is a telltale sign of a potential roof rat problem. Another common sign of a roof rat infestation is the presence of droppings around the home. Fresh roof rat droppings are soft and moist, whereas old droppings are hard and dried. The droppings usually measure about ½” (12-13 mm) and have pointed ends. Droppings from Norway rats are larger – measuring about ¾” (18-20 mm) with blunt ends. The discovery of gnaw marks, damaged goods, nests or greasy rub marks also indicates roof rat activity. Other common signs of an infestation are noises in the attic or house walls and damaged electrical wires.
Roof rats secured their place in history by spreading the highly dangerous bubonic plague. Roof rats can also carry fleas and spread diseases such as typhus via fleas, infectious jaundice via urine in water or food, rat-bite fever via bites, trichinosis via undercooked pork and salmonellosis via droppings. Additionally, these rodents can cause food poisoning by contaminating food or food preparation surfaces.
Similar to many other rodent species, roof rats may show aggression when threatened. In self-defense, they may bite or chase. Diseases including rat-bite fever can be transmitted through a roof rat bite or scratch. Symptoms of rat-bite fever include vomiting, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pain.