One of the most common questions that I hear from my customers is, "I've lived in this home for 20 years and why all of a sudden do I have rodents in my attic?" It's a problem that scares people to death and rightly so. The roof rat is the most common problem-causing rodent in South Florida. They are normally nocturnal but sometimes can be seen during the day. Customers will usually complain of hearing noises in the attic in the evening hours. They are extremely agile, able to jump from trees onto roofs, climb up the side of structures, chew through just about anything and could get into openings as small as a quarter.
The Norway rat is a stockier, less agile rodent, which tends to live at ground level in abandoned holes or debris around structures. Rodents gnaw on electrical lines, PVC plumbing and telephone wires. They can rip apart insulation, urinate wherever they travel, since they have no bladder control and leave droppings everywhere. They multiply quickly and have very few predators. They harbor fleas, carry over 60 different diseases and may spend much of their time in sewer systems.
Many times a rodent problem may get out of control in an area because of problems we create ourselves. Rodents are scavengers, feeding on whatever they find in an area. Bird feeders, dog and cat food, fruits and vegetables, and debris along waterways are common food sources. They will even become cannibalistic if food sources become scarce. When they do find their way into a structure, they usually find multiple openings.
This is why it is so important to get a licensed and insured pest control company, which deals with rodents on a regular basis like we do. Rodent activity increased dramatically after the recent hurricanes that affected South Florida. The damaged roofs created new openings for rodents to get into. Don't be afraid to ask questions and be very leery of a company that just wants to bait. The right way to solve the problem is to find the current openings and possible future openings and seal them properly. A thorough inspection of the roof, attic and perimeter should be performed and a detailed report of how and when the problem will be corrected. Ask about what kind of guarantee the company provides and how long have they been in business. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau if there have been any complaints lodged about the company.
Prevention is the key to helping control a rodent problem in the area. For your snowbirds, move your gas grill inside your garage when you go away for several months. Rodents love to nest inside grills. Cover toilets with plastic wrap, then close the lid and place a heavy object on the cover. Over time water will evaporate from inside the toilet allowing rodents free access into the home. Possums and raccoons have even made their way into dwellings through the sewer system. Have your home checked periodically by a family member or company if you go away for any extended period of time. Clean up debris around the house and get rid of the bird feeder. Pet food should be taken away as soon as your pet eats. Have a thorough inspection of your home by a professional pest control company on a yearly basis. It is much easier to prevent a problem before it starts. Remember, rodents can do thousands of dollars worth of damage in a very short period of time. We at Atlantic Rodent & Pest Management are highly skilled and knowledgeable in this field, therefore, feel free to call us, and we will be happy to serve you.