The Roof Rat

Your Chicagoland Guide on Roof Rats

The Breakdown

COLOR

SIZE

LEGS

DANGER/DESTRUCTION RATING

Brown/Black

40cm

Four

High

The Roof Rat

Roof rats can range from black to brown and are smaller in size than Norway Rats, but have pointier noses. With their tails included, a roof rat can get up to 40 cm in length. These rodents also have big ears and eyes.

Roof rats are great at climbing and have often been found nesting under buildings or in trash. However, most of these creatures live in higher areas such as roofs, trees and attics. Some people also refer to these type of rodents as fruit or citrus rats as they feed on both. Although these fruits are their preferred food, they will eat just about anything including meat, tree bark, and nuts. You may also notice food stored in or around their nests, as they are food hoarders.

It is important to take immediate action if you think you have an infestation because they are extremely fast breeders. Female roof rats can produce six to eight babies per litter and four to six litters per year. They also carry many different diseases that can be transmitted to humans from a bite or from fleas from the rats. The disease Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome can also be transmitted to humans just from their urine or by physical contact with their droppings or saliva.

Signs of an Infestation

A Roof Rat infestation can be extremely dangerous for your family members and pets. If you start seeing rodents around your home, this is the number one sign of an overcrowding problem. Roof rats don’t like to come out during daylight hours and do most of their feeding at night. They usually build their nests in areas of a home that are insulated, such as an attic.

You may notice an increase of rat droppings as well. The difference with roof rat droppings compared to Norway rat droppings is the shape. Roof rat droppings have pointed ends, where as the Norway rats are more capsuled shaped. You may also find grease marks from their fur in areas that these rodents travel and nest in.

You want to be sure that you cover up windows or vents that would allow rats to enter in. Long tree branches close to your window can also serve as a bridge for rats to get into your home. Prevention is key when it comes to rodent infestations.

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Understanding the Seasons

Weather has a profound effect on pest life cycle. Most pests, rodents and insects breed aggressively during spring and go through periods of hibernation during autumn and winter.

When the weather slowly begins to heat up, pests start to get more active after having stayed dormant over the colder winter months.

  • Birds often start to find mates and start building their nests.
  • Moths which consumer leaves usually become active again.
  • Flies often emerge from their winter hibernation places and start to breed and spread out.
  • Squirrels also spend the winter in hibernation. When spring approaches these creatures start looking for a new home. This is usually the time when they make their way into lofts and other spaces.

Summer is arguably the best season for pests. It is the time when they are in full swing and breed as rapidly as they can. Wasps are one of the most common summer pests followed by flies and rodents. Many a summer picnics and BBQs have been ruined by the ‘home invasion’ of these pests.

  • Wasps build their nesting grounds and lay their eggs during this time. Although the creatures are not directly harmful, they can be very aggressive and territorial at this time of the year, because they’re at their strongest.
  • The number of fleas also multiplies. Since pets spend more time outdoors during summer, they are more likely to bring the pests back indoors with them.
  • Bees are also more active during summer as they go out to gather nectar. Many times, homeowners find a new beehive in their garden and require pest control to take care of it. Because of their sting, bees are more dangerous than some of the other pests and you should call our professional service to get rid of them.
  • Moths and flies usually start to multiply significantly during summer.
  • Ants begin to swarm to find new mates and start new colonies during summer.
  • Cockroaches become very noticeable in the summer, especially in the kitchen and toilets. This is due to the hotter temperatures and stronger smells.
  • Bedbugs are also very active in the summer.

Autumn is the month when things start to get cooler. The number of pests starts to dwindle as they begin to slow down their breeding activities.

  • Wasps start becoming dozy and docile. You may find them buzzing around occasionally as if they are drunk. This is usually the end-time for their life.
  • Spiders in particular are more active at this time of the year.
  • Squirrels will gather their food and start to look for shelter.
  • The second breeding phase for flies begins. These pests remain active during the season.
  • Rodents also become more active. Due to the approaching cold, rodents usually find shelter inside homes in the loft or inside walls.

The coldest months are when pests seek out warmth and shelter. You will find a number of insects especially rodents and lizards make their way inside your home.

  • Spiders come into our homes to escape the web-destroying frosts.
  • Rodents move indoors to escape the cold, increasing infestations.
  • In many cases, homeowners find squirrels nesting in lofts when they go to get their Christmas decorations.

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