Rat Problems Can Get Out of Control Quickly
Since rats can commonly have four to six litters a year with each litter having four to ten pups, an unattended problem can quickly get out of hand.
The most common rat in Portland is the Norway rat. Norways can be as large as 10″ , not including their tails. They are most commonly brown but can also be gray or mixed despite also being referred to as Brown rats.
We have observed a recent increase in roof rats, also known as black rats, in the Portland area. In addition to being black, they are smaller and more agile than the Norway. These great climbing rats often live in trees, shrubs and vines and after accessing the roof, can enter under dormer eaves and other unprotected exterior gaps. Some have even been known to crawl under rounded roof tiles and gnaw access through the roof sheathing.
Rats like to nest in wood piles, yard sheds, under decks, and may even burrow underground. Then, when the weather cools or food sources run low, they will move indoors through missing vent covers, gaps in the structure, or eaves vents into the structure’s wall cavities, crawl spaces, attics and cupboards.
Much like a growing teenage boy, rats are the ultimate scavenger and will eat virtually anything!
Signs of Rats
Aside from visual verification, there isn’t too much mystery as to whether you have a rat infestation. One of the most common initial signs is an audible one – hearing the sound of scurrying and scratching. Unlike acrobatic squirrels that tend to make thumping noises, the consistent sound of running and scurrying is a more common with rats. Other signs are droppings (feces) and visual gnaw marks in siding near protrusions in the exterior shell of the structure.
Unlike mice, who are much more curious, rats keep their curiosity in check. This can sometimes make killing them more difficult since they are very intelligent rodents, learning quickly how to avoid hazards.
Rat Damage Issues
The presence of rats can lead to contamination of foodstuffs and living areas. Examples of the very serious diseases carried by rats include the hantavirus , salmonella, tularemia and bubonic plague.
Rats can cause a huge amount of damage to insulation in crawl spaces, attics and exterior walls. Of even greater concern is the damage they inflict upon electrical wiring. Gnawed wires have been suspected of causing 20-25% of the fires whose causes are unknown. There is also the damage caused to siding, sheetrock and molding from rat gnawing. Finally, the odor of an accumulation of rat droppings and urine can often be unbearable.
All Pest’s Approach to Rat Extermination
We have the ability to either trap or bait as a method of eradication. Once the active problem is solved, sealing off the entry points is critical for long term success but note, exclusion alone as an extermination solution is insufficient. Unless you live next to a constant source of new rats, the goal always should be extermination, not just controlling and managing a rat population. Finally, don’t let anyone scare you away from baiting – it is most the effective and affordable method available. In some circumstances, it can be safer than traps.