The U.S. has been dealing with some pretty scary stuff lately. Creepy clowns. Presidential Elections. But something much scarier is popping up across the country.
If you hear a scratching in your attic, it’s probably not Santa Claus making an early visit. It could be roof rats. Autumn is a very active time of year for these beady-eyed pests, as roof rats often seek entry into buildings after their outdoor food sources are exhausted.
The odds are against you if you’re located in one of the top 10 cities with the most reported roof rat infestations, according to pest control provider Terminix. Here are the U.S. cities with the most reported roof rat infestations:
- Memphis, TN
- Gilbert, AZ
- Pleasanton, CA
- Scottsdale, AZ
- Tempe, AZ
- Sacramento, CA
- Salinas, CA
- San Bernardino, CA
- San Antonio, TX
- Plano, TX
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BONUS
How Will Trump Decorate the White House?
It’s the burning question now that we know who will move into the White House when the Obama family leaves in January: How will President-elect Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump decorate the White House?
Thanks to the kind people at Getty Images, here’s a photo gallery that provides some clues to the new First Family’s style, and what they might do to make their new home reflect their personal style and taste.
(Here’s a tip: Buy stock in gold paint.)
Meet The Roof Rat
Now that we’ve given you the creeps, here’s what you need to know: Roof rats are a variety of rodent with a long, scaled, creepy tail that distinguishes them from their better-known relatives. They tend to seek entry into buildings through holes around soffit vents, cables entering buildings, and turbine and box vents on roofs, where they take up residence and multiply.
Roof rats often gain access to structures by climbing on wires and trees to seek shelter inside, where they can grow up to a full foot long and pose seriously scary health and safety risks. They can chew through building materials like drywall and insulation, and may even pose a fire risk by damaging wiring. And, they can bite.
“Roof rats often stay out of sight, but there may still be warning signs of an infestation,” says Paul Curtis, board-certified entomologist and manager of technical services with Terminix. “They’re most active at night, and homeowners with roof rats often report hearing them moving overhead after dark, as well as finding droppings and smudge marks from oil or dirt in their attic.”
A key strategy in preventing roof rats from making their way into your facility is eliminating things that might attract them. Keep wood, debris and piles of stone or brick as far from the foundation as possible, protect the building with steel wool- or wire mesh-reinforced sealant along any holes or cracks larger than a quarter inch, and install a thick weather stripping along the bottom of doors to keep rodents from entering.