Archive for the ‘Pack Rats’ Category

Rats: Tips for Preventing Pack Rats

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Pack rats may be small in size, but they can get into even smaller spaces. A hole the size of a quarter can be an entry way for these rodents. It is important to check for any openings outside of your home. Not only should holes in the structure of a home be checked, but also screens that cover windows and doors, vent coverings, and door panels. Here are some more tips to prevent pack rats from getting into your home.

  • A great way to prevent pack rats in your plants it to put the planters on a rack so they are not resting on the ground.
  • A favorite of rats is dog or cat food, if there are food bowls left outside for your animal there is a high possibility rats will stop by, they might even use the pet food to help make their nests.
  • Trimming all trees is important. Make sure they are not touching power lines or anything else. Rats will use cables or power lines to get into the top of the tree. Also make sure no branches are too low as that will be a way to crawl up the tree.
  • With bushes it is best to keep them pruned regularly, and having the bottom not touch the floor is helpful.
  • With all shrubbery, bushes, and trees it is safest to have them free-standing.
  • All stacks of wood or clippings should be kept at a higher level and not on the ground.
  • If you have desert landscape, maintain your cacti. It might be best to have a professional gardener as cactus can be dangerous to work with.
  • Either for yourself or your gardener it is important to remove dead parts of a cactus, making sure the paddles are not turned over therefore providing shade for rats on the ground.
  • Keep any outside containers closed with a tight lid, including a trash can to a plastic storage container. This goes for both inside and outside of your home.
  • When trimming bigger plants, like oleanders or bougainvilleas, make sure they are thinned out enough where you can see the sunlight through them. The thicker they are, the more appealing they are to rats.
  • Rats will eat anything so make sure to clean up thoroughly after parties on your patio.
  • If your car is outside protect it by having a porch light on, an extra tip is to use yellow insect repellent lights to help keep the rats and other insects away.
  • Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees on a daily basis. If they can’t get in your tree that the next best thing to a free meal.
  • Pick up animal waste on a daily basis. Yes, as gross as it sounds that is another invitation for a rat to come feed.

Rats: Pack Rats Can Cause Serious Damage

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Pack rats can be a huge threat to a home, and cause a lot of damage. In any case, a pack rat invasion needs to be taken seriously due to the potential problems that can occur. One problem from pack rats is from the feces they leave within a home. The problem is even more damaging if it happens in a wall or an attic, because over time the feces will deteriorate the insulation.

Another problem that pack rats can cause is wire damage within the walls. Pack rats love to chew at wires to keep their teeth sharp. Not only could it cost a lot of money to repair the wires, it potentially could cause a fire.

Also pack rats will go into cars and chew on the wires. This can be a huge problem for a couple of reasons. First, obviously is the damage pack rats can do to wires. If the car is frequently used wire damage can be extremely dangerous. If the car is not used often the pack rats can still cause just as much damage. For one, if the car just sits there, a pack rat will frequently chew on the wires. Or worse yet, pack rats will start to build a nest within the engine of the car. If pack rats move into your car, it could potentially cost thousands of dollars to repair.

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Here is a great example of what a car looks like once a pack rat has called it home. Do not let a pack rats nest over take your car!

If a pack rat does build a nest in your car it may be very challenging to completely remove or destroy. Having to take the nest out of the car could cause more problems to the car itself, and the nest needs to be broken down in the correct manner to ensure it is completely gone. As a homeowner it is imperative to make sure the pack rat nest is completely destroyed. If the nest is not destroyed completely or worse, just left there, it will just become another pack rats home later on. Other animals live in pack rats nests so even if you think you have killed all the pack rats, there is still a risk for other pests to come live in the nest. Other pests such as spiders, snakes, kissing bugs, and even small mice may move into a pack rat nest, even if a pack rat is living there. Also if the nest is just left on or in your home and never destroyed, at some point another pack rat will find it and take over. Therefore if a pack rat nest is not destroyed properly and in a timely manner the homeowner might end up back at square one with their pack rat problem.

Any and all of these potential problems pack rats can cause can have unfortunate outcomes. Whether its wire damage in a house that causes a fire, wire damages within a car engine that causes a crash, or wire damage within a car that causes an explosion, pack rats need to be handled by a professional exterminator as soon as you see any evidence of pack rats.

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Rats: Pack Rats

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The pack rat is a small and mighty rodent that can cause a lot of problems for home owners. Pack rats are about 8-20 inches long including the tail and have large ears. Their fur is a brownish gray color all over the body with white fur covering their under belly and feet. They have bushy hair on their tails. The pack rat is nocturnal, but there have been times people have seen them running around in the day time.

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Here is a pack rat.

They frequent desert areas because of the climate, making the Southwest one popular place for them to reside. They enjoy the desert as well as the forest and can live as far north as Canada in elevations from below sea level up to 8000 feet. Along with having many places to live, the pack rat also has a few different names. Although the rodent is most often referred to as a pack rat, it can also be called trade rat. It belongs to the wood rat rodent family.

A pack rat often uses the Cholla or Beavertail cactus as its home in the desert. The rats pick cacti because they can live inside and be protected from most predators.  The pack rat will build a nest inside the cacti, however sometimes the rat will choose to live at the base of the cactus and will make a nest there. The cactus can also offer shade and total coverage depending on the shape and size which is another benefit to the rat.

Even if the rat makes its home outside, there are still potential problems that can occur. For example, the pack rat can have up to five babies in a litter and can reproduce every few months.  Pack rats are the carriers of many diseases, making a multitude of them very dangerous. Hiring a professional exterminator right away can help prevent more rats from damaging your house.

The pack rat nest is not your typical nest that a bird would make. It is more similar to a beavers damn. A pack rats nest can be up to four feet long at times and can become dense and heavy. If there are no cacti around, a pack rat will make its nest anywhere on the ground.  Pack rats and their nests prove to be very problematic if detected near one’s home. Read on blog about all the problems and damage that can occur from pack rats.

With all the potential problems that these rats can create it is best to call your local pest control company that can handle the proper removal of the rodents. Of course there are home remedies, but getting rid of pack rats can be tricky. Although home remedies for removing pack rats are not recommended for home owners, there are some easy preventative measures you can take around the house to try an avoid initial infestation of pack rats. Some tips for pack rat prevention are posted on our blog.

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Rats: Pack Rats Nests are Nasty

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

A “pack rat” kind of person is a person who holds onto everything and never throws things away. The real pack rats are similar to humans, but they actually steal what people have in their homes and use what ever it is to help them build their nest. Anything from cactus, branches, toys, garbage or what ever else a pack rat can get its claws on becomes material for the nest.

Like thieves, pack rats like shiny objects. If a rat was on its way to the nest with a material and saw something shiny, the rat would drop the original object to get the shiny object and would come back for what the original object at a later time. Generally, people discover they have pack rats by the bite marks the rats leave when tearing away household possessions. Some small objects that the rat can carry completely disappear. Imagine all the random stuff a pack rat uses to build its nest!

When a pack rat builds a nest outside it’s a completely different story. Most of the items they use to make the nest come from the wilderness, including items such as animal feces. Also, many times the nest will be built with in or close to cacti. Not only do the rats use cacti for food and protection but they also use it as a home front. Here’s a perfect example of what it would look like if you have a desert landscape.

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This is a pack rat nest, made within some cacti.

The unfortunate part about having a nest on or near your home is that the nest can become home to other animals.  Kissing bugs, also known as Mexican bed bugs, can habitate the pack rat nest. The kissing bug is harmful because its bite is seriously dangerous and painful; some people say it is worse than being bitten by a scorpion. Although the kissing bug is known for shacking up in the pack rats nest, more insects are sure to follow like mice, spiders, ticks, snakes, fleas or lice. These pack rat nests are definitely a home owner’s worst nightmare, especially if they are inside the home. Not only is their nest a nasty place to live, but the pack rat spreads diseases. Read more about the diseases pack rats carry on our blog posting.

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Rats: Pack Rats and the Diseases They Carry

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The nests of the pack rat may sound bad enough, but like the roof rat this rodent can carry many diseases. Various types of rats often carry the same diseases, therefore all necessary measures need to be taken in order to prevent exposure to these horrific diseases. Here are some common diseases a pack rat carries:

  • Rat bite fever: most frequent in Asia, can take up to two weeks before symptoms develop, symptoms include fevers and inflammation, penicillin is used for treatment.
  • Arena virus: transmitted through the air where feces and urine are present, flu like symptoms that can turn into internal bleeding,  see a doctor if exposed.
  • Hanta virus: airborne virus, flu like symptoms that do not occur very quickly and last about a week, continued illness can be fatal, see a doctor if exposed.
  • Trichinosis: carried by rats, symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, see a doctor immediately if you experience headache and chills.
  • Bubonic plague: a skin infection that can be treated with antibiotics, symptoms include red marks on skin that turn black, heaving breathing, aching, and throwing up blood, see a doctor immediately if exposed.
  • Weil’s disease: transmitted through urine, often carried on contaminated food, flu like symptoms, can cause jaundice and vomiting, see a doctor right away.
  • Typhoid: transmitted through feces and urine, either airborne or from contaminated food, symptoms include high fevers, sweats, diarrhea and rash of red spots, treated with antibiotics,  see a doctor if exposed.

Pack rats can also carry different bacteria like salmonella and parasites. Similar to the roof rat, the pack rat does not always have to actually bite a person to transmit the disease. The droppings of the pack rat can be a carrier as well as insects like fleas, ticks, or mites that live on pack rats. Therefore the infiltration of pack rats in a home can be very harmful.