In the last century, over ten million people have died from rodent-borne diseases. Rodents are an easily overlooked threat due to them not being a hazard in a typical day to day life, however, they are some of the most dangerous pests. Rats and other rodents are very common in Florida, so we want to share knowledge, dangers, and warning signs of rodent infestations to help you protect your family and home.
Common Types of Rats in Florida
The two most common types of rats in Florida are the Roof Rat and the Norway Rat.
Roof rats, also known as the black rat are the rats who were responsible for spreading the Black Plague through the middle ages into the dark ages. These rats are black to a brownish-grey in color, with a white to gray belly, hairless tail, slender, large ears, and usually 6.5 to 8 inches long.
- Reproduction for roof rats is similar to the rates at which mice reproduce, one female in a typical neighborhood could produce upwards of one thousand offspring in a single year if left untreated.
- Roof rats are nocturnal and neophobic, which means they are quiet, out at night, and stick to their familiar surroundings, making it difficult to know they are around.
- They are very destructive, love to chew on wires, plumbing, car wiring, phone lines, and just about anything else they can sink their teeth into.
- Roof rats are excellent climbers, which you may have been able to guess from their name. They can climb up almost any type of wire, wood, and masonry. This makes openings anywhere on your home susceptible to a roof rat infestation.
- Roof rats are especially attracted to citrus and other fruit trees, dense vegetation, and lush landscapes.
- These pests enjoy nesting in trees, thick ground cover, and upper floors of buildings.
Norway rats are not actually from Norway, they get their name from being identified in Norway, but are found all over the United States. Norway rats are also known as brown rats, house rats, or sewer rats. Norway rats are the most likely to get into your home, which is unfortunate due to them being a difficult issue to eliminate once they have found their way in. Norway rats are usually black but can vary in color, their fur is coarse, they are usually 7 to 10 inches long, with a lighter colored belly.
- Norway rats can chew through lead, aluminum, wood, copper, uncured concrete, and cinder blocks.
- Norway rats are exceptional swimmers, climbers, and are known to burrow into the soil.
- Norway rats enjoy nesting in wall voids, underneath floors, and in stored materials.
Signs of Rodent Infestation
It only takes about a half an inch wide opening for rodents to enter into a structure. The general way to gauge if an opening is large enough for a rodent to fit into is, if it can fit its head into an opening, it can pull the rest of its body through. Homes with crawl spaces under the home are especially susceptible to rodent infestations.
Wondering if a rodent is entering an opening in one of your living spaces? Rodents habitually enter and exit holes continuously and leave rub marks and staining around entry points. Another sign of rodents in your attic or walls is hearing noises in those areas during the early morning and early evening hours.
Rodents, especially Roof Rats and Norway Rats which are very common in Florida, are very dangerous.
Rodent droppings can spread bacteria, contaminate food sources, can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions. Rodents are also a gateway to bring other pests, such as fleas, mites, ticks, and lice into your home. One of the most commonly spread rodent diseases is Salmonella. Other common diseases they are known to spread are Rat-Bite Fever, Lyme Disease, Hantavirus, and the Bubonic Plague just to cover a few. In serious cases, these diseases can lead to death.
Flooding and Fire
Along with dangerous illnesses, rats can chew through nearly anything, and have an affinity for chewing through electrical wiring and plumbing. This can lead to both fires and flooding in your home. Their love for electrical wires doesn’t stop at homes through, they have also been known to chew through the electrical wiring in vehicles.
It is important to realize the serious dangers a rodent infestation can lead to, so you can take initiative if you notice any warning signs. If you suspect a rodent infestation in your home or neighborhood, keep an eye on your health and seek medical attention at the first signs of any rat-borne illnesses, and contact JD Smith Pest Control today for a free consultation so we can help you take care of all your pest control needs!