This has been a banner year for rats. Calls have soared as Ocala residents and businesses scramble to the phone to call out exterminators or go out to their sheds to get out their old dusty and rusted traps. This surge has even made the news as of late and as of this writing it is unclear if the tide is slowly turning. (it doesn’t seem to be according to our call logs.) And actually, this is the second major infestation “wave” of rats in about 12 months.
What to do?
While there are all kinds of explanations floating around out there as to why the rat problem has skyrocketed and I agree, find the cause and you can then fix the problem. However that is an over all picture and doesn’t help the home or business owner now.
So first let’s start with some DONT’S;
Please, don’t use moth balls thinking you’ll deter any rodent of any kind. It does not work, it is not proper stated use of the product, it is not legal to use in this setting and it is not safe to place these poisonous little balls around the perimeter of a home where children, pets or non target species can have access to them. If you need further convincing of this, please read my article on the Dangerous Myth of Mothballs.
Next, don’t leave food out overnight where rats can easily find and consume. Pet food left on a lanai or trash in an unsecured container is easy pickins and will attract rodents to your home and encourage them to stick around.
Don’t be afraid to call in an expert. To often we are called out long after the problem is not only established, but now the rats are quite possibly ‘trap shy’ because of the many failed attempts and ‘close calls’ the rodent experienced with the DIYers traps. Best to get it started on the right foot. Your Ocala and Villages pest pro is best suited for that.
Now for some DO’s;
Do get proactive, start by inspecting these key areas which are main entry ways into most homes.
Garage doors. Can you see daylight when the door is closed? If you can it’s for sure rats will too. Have that door sealed up.
A/C chases are an easy way for rats and mice to gain access to your attic. The “chase” is that metal or sometimes vinyl tube (usually square shaped) that covers and protects your a/c lines that go from the outside unit to the attic. At the base of the chase is where you’ll want to look. If you can put your fingers or your hand up and inside the chase, it’s an easy bet rodents can and will use it to get in. Seal it up using hardware cloth or some other suitable material.
Screened lanais and pools. Screen is no match for a determined rodent. One swipe and it’ll rip with ease and they are in. Some enclosures have a ‘kick’ panel at the base which does help. A solid metal sheet all around the base usually a foot or so high. If yours does not you could consider adding one or firmly attach a section of hardware cloth around the base instead. Not real pleasant to the eyes I know but it does work. Now, rodents are excellent climbers so this isn’t a full proof method but if all you do is deter them enough to head down the road well, mission accomplished. Also, look at the deco drain where it exits the the slab. This drain usually just goes across the back of the home and there’s no opening to inside the enclosure–but just check it to be sure. One broken section with even a quarter sized hole could offer them entrance. Hardware cloth on the ends of each drain where it exits the cement slab should put an end to that possible entry point.
Finally, do call us should the problem ever get past what you are capable of or feel comfortable doing. We’ve been serving Ocala, Lake, Sumter and Citrus counties since 1993 and I know we can help you too.