Rats, Mice and Other Rodent Control

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Rats and other kinds of rodents are always unwelcome guests in a home or business. These pests are known for their destructive habits and for carrying diseases. Residents in the Phoenix area should be aware of these rodents, what to look for to determine if they have an infestation, and what should be done if these rodents are discovered.

Common Rodents in Phoenix are:

Pack Rat Micerats1

The pack rat, also called a wood rat, is most common in central Arizona desert areas. Central Arizona houses three main types of pack rat: the Mexican pack rat, Whitethroat pack rat, and Stephen’s pack rat. Unlike many types of rat, the pack rat has fur covering its tail. This furry tail, along with white feet and white underbelly, are often used to identify the pack rat. They are larger, measuring roughly six to eight inches long. These rats can be hazardous to human health due to the layers of urine and feces that line their storage and communal living areas.

Roof Rat 1Roof Rats 

The roof rat is also referred to as a black rat for its characteristic black or dark brown color. The roof rat is well-known for its long, hairless tail that measures longer than its entire body. When measured with its tail, a roof rat may be up to 18 inches long. They earn the name roof rat because of their tendency to nest in upper levels of the home, such as the attic or ceiling. In nature, they nest in trees, debris, woodpiles, and dense vegetation. They most commonly enter homes by walking along electric wires or tree limbs adjacent to the roof and attic. These rats are very destructive. Roof Rats are more prone to eating natural foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, but they have been known to dig through garbage when food is scarce. Roof Rats have been a large problem in the Phoenix area because they breed rapidly. Each female rat can have eight babies each litter and can have up to six litters a year.

Other common rodents are gophers and desert squirrels desert squirrel

Health Concerns From A Rodent Infestation

Having rodents in your home can be very dangerous. Not only can they cause extensive damage to the home itself, they create health hazards. Rats and mice leave urine and droppings everywhere they scurry. These contaminates have been associated with:

  • Plague
  • Typhus
  • Salmonella
  • Rat Bite Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Allergies from fur
  • Asthma
  • Flea Infestations
  • Other Bacterial Infections

What Attracts Rodents

The main thing that attracts rodents to your home is a food source. Additionally, rats will look for a place where they can nest and breed. Rodents prefer clutter and unclean areas because it provides them with a place to hide. Rodents will nest indoors or outdoors, so it is important to also keep the outside of your home uncluttered and clean as well as the inside.micerats2

Preventing Rodents Around Your Home

The first thing that you must do is clean up the outside area of your home. You want to remove any excess weeds from around your home and fence areas. Clean up piles of leaves around your yard. If you store firewood, make sure it is at least a foot off of the ground.

Make sure that you keep all of your trash in a tightly sealed trash can. Try to avoid putting food products in the trash by using a garbage disposal. Do not lean trash cans up directly against your home.

Check your windows and doors for spaces that may allow light to shine through. Rodents can squeeze through very small places and will attempt to do so if they see light or can smell food from inside your home. Look for cracks in your foundation and check your roof vents very carefully. Sometimes duct work around furnaces are not always properly sealed. Since it’s nice and warm, it’s a perfect spot for them to set up shop. These can also cause issues with HVAC repair. Use steel wool to fill gaps, and make sure that your dryer vent has a mesh screen over it to block an entrance to your home. Make sure to secure pet doors at night.

When To Call An Exterminator

Rodents are more than a nuisance, they are a health risk. If you find any evidence of rats or mice in your home, it is advisable to call an exterminator immediately. While some over-the-counter extermination methods may have a little impact on a rodent infestation, they may not be aggressive enough to stop the problem.

Rats and mice breed quickly, and the sighting of one mouse or rat could actually lead to hundreds of them within a few months if not treated. A professional exterminator can quickly stop the infestation which will allow you to retake control of your home.