Protecting Your Castle From Pests

Protecting Your Castle From Pests

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What are rats?

Rats are social and tend to live together in groups or “colonies”. Including their tail, rats grow to between 15 and 17 inches long. The fur covering their body is grey, brown, or black, with a lighter-colored belly. They have large heads and feet proportional to their body. A rat’s tail is long, scaly, and void of hair. Rats are medium-sized rodents, and like all rodents, have continuously growing front incisors. Their teeth are large, sharp, and capable of causing damage to any object they gnaw on.

Are rats dangerous?

Rats are dangerous for several reasons, including the structural damage they cause inside the buildings they invade. Other concerns associated with rats are listed below.

  • Their chewing habits pose fire risks.
  • Rats spread disease, viruses, and human pathogens, and contaminate food, food prep areas, and surfaces with their urine, excrement, and saliva.
  • Their shed fur and excrement trigger allergies.
  • Rats are wild animals, and if cornered will defend themselves by biting or scratching.
  • Rats have poor eyesight. To find their way back and forth from their nest to food sources, they travel along walls and furniture, leaving behind grease and dirt marks.

Common Types of Rats in The Central Valley

Norway Rat

The adult Norway rat’s long, heavy body grows to between 7 and 9 ½ inches in length; their tail adds another 6 to 8 inches to their total body length. Norway rats have a rounded blunt nose, bulging eyes, small ears, and a bi-colored tail. Their scruffy fur is brown and is peppered with black hairs; the fur on their underside is lighter in color and is usually gray or white.

Like other types of rodents, Norway rats like to live close to people to have easy access to food, water, and shelter. Norway rats like to feed on fish, pet food, garbage, and dry goods. Norway rats are poor climbers and therefore are found invading the ground level of homes and other buildings; they are shy and hide during the day, usually in basements and crawl spaces and only come out at night to forage for food.

Roof Rats

Adult roof rats have smooth dark brown or black fur with a white, gray, or black underbelly. They have pointy noses, large dark eyes, and large ears that are almost completely devoid of fur.  Their bodies are about 6 to 8 inches in length from head to rump and their scaly tails add another 7-10 inches to their total body length.  If you’re concerned you have a rat problem but have not seen any actual rodents, look for paths or “runways” along walls, and on stationery items. Roof rats leave behind grease marks and dirt from their fur. You may also see tracks from their feet and tails in the dust.

Roof rats are great climbers and poor swimmers, this means that they tend to enter into buildings by climbing trees and getting inside through attic spaces or gaps found around the roofline. Roof rats tend to invade homes and other buildings while foraging for food, water, and/or safe shelter. Inside of homes they can be found living above false ceilings, in high cabinets, in attics, and behind walls.

Why do I have a rat problem?

Rats are common invaders in homes and businesses. They take advantage of the food, water, and shelter that both residential and commercial properties provide them. Rats only require a space the diameter of a quarter and are difficult to keep out of structures. Food is what generally first attracts rats to a property. Open trash containers or dumpsters, pet food, food debris in outdoor eating areas, gardens, and bird feeders all act as foraging sites for rats. Once on our properties, they more than likely will decide to use our homes, garages, and sheds as a nesting site.

Where will I find rats?

Most rats are burrowers and tend to create nests in the ground in piles of garbage, under slabs and foundations, and overgrown vegetation. Yards, parks, docks, and riverbanks are all places rats call home. Some species nest up off of the ground, usually choosing trees or spaces along a building’s roofline. Inside homes and other buildings, rats nest in basements, attics, and crawlspaces.

How do I get rid of rats?

There are many species of rats living throughout the Central Valley. The best way to get rid of rats in your yard, home, or business and prevent them from returning is to partner with Castle Pest Management. Our experienced professionals and modern services provide home and business owners with peace of mind knowing that their pest problems will be solved once and for all. If you are looking to get rid of rodents from your property with the help of dedicated, local professionals, reach out to Castle Pest Management today!

How can I prevent rats in the future?

For homeowners who want to protect their homes from rats, partner with Castle Pest Management and use the following prevention tips:

  • Keep rats out by using a caulking gun to repair cracks in the foundation and exterior walls. Install door sweeps and place weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  • Keep garage doors closed when not in use.
  • Make your yard less attractive to rats by removing fallen trees, tree stumps, and woodpiles from your yard.
  • Cut back tree branches and overgrown shrubs from the exterior of your home.
  • Place metal flashing on the bottom of fruit trees to stop rats from climbing them.
  • Eliminate food sources by keeping tight-fitting or locking lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.
  • Place gardens as far away from the outside of your home as possible. Regularly harvest vegetables and fruits. Pick up uneaten pet food each evening.

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