We’ve reached that time of year in Southern California where it gets “cold.” At least cold by our standards. Rats and mice start looking for warm places to nest at night and your home’s attic, walls, and sub area provide the perfect insulated space for their needs. Small openings in vent screens, voids in roof eaves, or gaps under doors can be a few ways rodents gain access to your home. The most common rodent we deal with around here is the Roof Rat, also called black rats or fruit rats. This rodent gets its name from its tendency to be found in the upper parts of buildings, along power lines, fences, and in fruit trees.
Roof rats are primarily nocturnal. They forage for food in groups of up to ten and tend to return to the same food source time after time. These rats follow the same pathway between their nest and food. This can make them difficult to trap since they may not deviate from their known food source to the bait on the traps.
Roof rats live in social groups (colonies) and prefer to nest in the upper parts of buildings such as attic or crawl spaces. They can also be found under, in and around structures.
Roof rats secured their place in history by spreading the highly dangerous bubonic plague. Though transmission is rare today, there are still a handful of cases in the U.S. each year. Roof rats can also carry fleas and spread diseases such as typhus, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis. They also damage insulation, wiring, air ducts, and anything else they might chew on during their occupation of your home.