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Pesky roof rats continue to plague Valley homes

For many neighborhoods around the Valley, roof rats have become not just an annoyance but a problem.

The nocturnal creatures hang out in trees, feasting on citrus and other items. Then, they squeeze through small openings, sometimes half the size of a ping pong ball, into attics and into Valley homes.

“They’re dumb and they’re slow,” said Rosie Romero, host of KTAR’s Rosie on the House. “But once they start building a nest in your attic, they’re very prolific.”

Romero said once the rodents have invaded a home, it’s important to eliminate them before sealing up the holes on the outside. He said depending on the amount of rat infestation present in a house, it might be best to call a professional.

“If you think you’ve eliminated the colony or the family [of rats] that’s on your property, don’t do anything for at least a week or two weeks and make sure you don’t hear anymore rat traffic noise,” Romero said. “Then start sealing everything up.”

Romero said the Maricopa County Extension Service will send out representatives to determine where the rats are entering the home, all for free. Once the ports of entry are eliminated, then a trap and bait system is established.

Romero stressed patience in the battle against roof rats.

“This is a very tenacious effort that takes multiple strategies [and] multiple different tactics,” Romero said.

If the roof rats have not entered a home, Romero said it’s smart to have a preventative strategy against them becoming a problem. Romero said it’s best to walk around the home and keep an eye out for any openings that could be a port of entry for the annoying rodents.

“Look for any hole or penetration that’s half the size of a ping pong ball or bigger,” Romero said. “If it’s any bigger than that, you’ve got to mesh it, you’ve got to foam it, you’ve got to seal it, you’ve got to close it up.”

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