How Do Rats Get Inside The Attic?

Rat on a piece of wood in the attic

Discovering unwanted visitors in your attic can be an unsettling experience for any homeowner. Among the numerous pests that may invade our homes, rats hold a notorious position, and their presence in the attic is a common problem faced by many. Understanding how these resourceful creatures gain access to your attic is crucial in addressing the issue effectively. 

How Rats Get Inside

Your attic may seem like a strange place for rats to invade, but infestations up high are more common than many people realize. Rats are excellent climbers – especially roof rats, which have extra-long tails that make it easy for them to balance. Once they climb up the side of your home, rats may enter your attic by:

  • Entering through cracks or gaps
  • Looking for soft spots or holes in your roof
  • Crawling through attic fans or vents
  • Looking for plumbing or wiring openings

Keeping your roof and siding in great condition is one of the best ways to prevent an upstairs invasion of rodents. You can also seal any existing openings with caulk to make it more difficult for rats to access your space. 

Signs You Have Rats in Your Attic

Identifying the presence of rats in your attic is crucial in tackling the issue promptly. The sooner you spot an infestation, the easier it will be to address the problem and avoid property damage or health risks. Here are some telltale signs that indicate a potential rat infestation:

  • Strange Noises: If you hear scratching, scurrying, or squeaking sounds coming from your attic, especially during the night when rats are most active, it’s a strong indication of their presence.
  • Foul Odors: Rats have a distinct musky smell that can permeate the air in your attic. If you detect a strong, unpleasant odor that persists despite your efforts to eliminate it, it could be a sign of a rat infestation.
  • Droppings: Rat droppings are a reliable indicator of their presence. These small, pellet-like droppings are usually dark brown or black and can be found near their nesting areas, along pathways, or near food sources. 
  • Gnaw Marks: Rats constantly gnaw on objects to keep their teeth from growing too long. Look for gnaw marks on wooden beams, wires, insulation, and other materials in your attic. 
  • Grease Marks: Rats have oily fur that can leave greasy smudges along their regular paths. These marks may be visible along walls, beams, or near openings where they enter and exit your attic.
  • Nesting Materials: Rats build nests using various materials like shredded paper, fabric, insulation, and plant matter. Check for nests tucked away in secluded corners or within insulation. Finding nests is a clear sign of a rat infestation.

What to Do if You Have Rats in the Attic

When faced with a rat infestation in your attic, it’s tempting to tackle the problem on your own. However, opting for professional rodent control services offers numerous advantages that make it the best choice for effectively eliminating these unwanted guests. Our services are eco-friendly ensuring your family is safe while the pest problem is dealt with, and with over 70 years of service, that’s a legacy you can rely on.

Rodents in My Insulation?

rat waiting on wooden table

Rodents of any kind cause a mess wherever they go. You know the signs of infestation – piles of droppings and splotches of urine, scratching in your walls or above your head at night. And if you’re here, you probably know that you can call a technician from our team to eradicate a mouse or rat infestation if one were to form in your home. But did you know that there’s more to recovering from rodent swarms than a quick phone call and a simple procedure?

If mice or rats make their way into the insulation in your walls or attic, they can cause a very big and very costly problem. Let’s talk about that more below and see how Florida Pest Control can help.

Why Do Rodents Nest in Insulation?

Rodents, wherever they go, are just looking for a source of food and a place to nest. And homes across Florida have both of that in spades. At the same time, though, they want to be relatively hidden from any human onlookers, which is why they flock to spaces like your attic and the void between walls.

These spaces are likely already insulated, which is just one more appeal for rodents in the home. Insulation – especially fiberglass insulation – is warm and pliable. It’s very easy to gnaw into and eat or tear off to build a nest. As rats and mice do this, they leave gaps in the wall of insulation, as well as droppings that linger long after they’re gone. So how are you supposed to repair this damage?

Insulation Infestations

More bad news: there is little you can do to insulation that has already experienced rodent damage. The only option you really have is to remove and replace, and we do not by any means suggest you do that on your own. Rat and mice droppings can contain traces of Hantavirus, a deadly flu-like disease that will spread into the air if the droppings are mishandled. A professional has the training and equipment to remove infected insulation safely.

In terms of replacement, there is no insulation material that’s entirely rodent-resistant. TAP® insulation, which we offer as a service, contains enough boric acid to kill smaller pests, but may not work on larger mice and rats. The best way to avoid having to pay to recover from rodent infestations is to keep them from starting in the first place.

Avoiding Rodent Nests in Florida

As we speak, there may be vulnerabilities in your home that leave the space open for all manner of pests. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for rodents and other pests to take over before taking action. Florida Pest Control specializes in rodent exclusion, and we can send a technician to your house with the intention of finding and remedying the spots in your home where rats or mice could get in. When we’re done you will no longer have to worry over every scratch or strange smell. Florida Pest Control is here to make your life, and your home, clean and pest-free. To get started, contact us today!

Fall Pests That May End Up in Your Home

Wasp nest hanging in eaves

If you’ve noticed an increase in insects in and around your home in the fall, it’s not your imagination and it’s not just you. It’s the result of pests trying to get out of the cooler weather. Some pests migrate even further south than Florida, some burrow in or under debris, while others just try to get into our homes. The scientific term for this phenomenon is overwintering. 

The form of overwintering that most directly affects you is when pests enter your home. There are several types of pests known to try to get in, from insects to rodents. The most difficult fall pests to get rid of are the ones you can’t see because they’re now in the attic or behind your walls. Some of the pests most likely to end up in your home this fall include: Asian lady beetles, rodents, termites, stink bugs and wasps. Read on to learn more about these common pests that may try to get into your home this fall and winter.

Asian lady beetles

While Asian lady beetles resemble ladybugs, they’re a bit larger in size. Also, their coloration ranges from red to orange and not all of them have spots like the ladybug. So, what’s the problem with these small ladybug look-alikes? They stick together in groups, using pheromones to communicate their location. When they want to enter your home, the result can be a large infestation that ends up in your attic or walls. While they won’t eat your home or sting you, if you have an infestation, their waste can stain and can trigger allergic reactions or breathing difficulties in sensitive individuals. The best way to prevent these, or any, bugs from getting into your home is to seal cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home. They’re small, so you will need to be diligent. Having a preventative pest control service in place can also help to prevent a pest infestation from taking place in your home.

Rodents

You probably know that squirrels are excellent climbers but so are roof rats and mice. Most rodents can climb up trees and get onto your roof via nearby branches, fences, and or even by climbing a drainpipe!  From there, it’s easy to get into your attic and make a nest to stay warm for the fall and winter. If you hear scratching or gnawing noises from up above or inside the walls, you likely have rodents inside your attic or wall voids starting to make themselves at home. If this happens, it’s time to call an experienced rodent exterminator like Florida Pest Control.

Stink bugs

While there are several types of stink bugs, the brown marmorated stink bug is the one you’re most likely to see in your home. It’s an invasive species originally from Asia. They’re shaped like a shield and their color is a mottled combination of brown and gray. They range in size from ¼” to ⅜”. As their name suggests, when stink bugs feel threatened or get squashed, they release an unpleasant odor. Stink bugs tend to spend the winter in quiet parts of a home where they’re unlikely to be disturbed like an attic, crawlspace or inside the walls. You will first start to notice these pests as the temperature starts to fall at night but the days are still warm and sunny. Stink bugs will land on the sunnier sides of your home, in an effort to warm up. They are also attracted to lighter color homes, which sometimes can be the reason you are seeing them but your neighbor isn’t.

Termites

Termites are considered to be the most destructive pest in America. The estimated annual cost of termite damage and termite control efforts in the US is up to $30 billion. Termites are always looking to enter your house as a food source. So, what’s different about fall and winter? First, subterranean termites, the most destructive species, tend to burrow deeper into the ground to stay warm in the winter. This means you’re less likely to discover a subterranean termite infestation until the spring. During that time termites can do a great deal of damage. Once termites can get into your home they will consume wood and anything else that contains cellulose. Signs you may have termites in your home include blisters on painted falls, hollow-sounding wood, mud tunnels in your crawlspace, chewing sounds, and unexplained pinhole-sized holes. 

Wasps

Wasp colonies as a whole don’t overwinter; the regular workers do not survive and the colony is rebuilt annually. However, fertilized queens overwinter outdoors in hollow logs, stumps or under leaves. However, they can also overwinter on or in structures, including the attics or siding of homes. The most common way for wasps to get in is through attic vents that aren’t screened. It is always best to ensure that your attic is as sealed as possible, to prevent wasps and other pests from entering. It is possible for the queen to start her new colony in your attic next year, which can mean a large nest of stinging insects to remove. Best to prevent that from happening right from the start this fall! 

Experienced Local Exterminators

Florida Pest Control has been providing Florida with trusted pest control services since 1949. If you have any of these fall pests in your home, Florida Pest Control can help get them out and keep them out. We also offer services to help prevent these pests from entering your home.

Contact us for a free quote!

Pests on the Rise in Florida This Winter

Norway rat in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Pests can run rampant year-round here in Florida. Unlike regions with seasonal weather that renders many pest infestations nonexistent in the wintertime, we are accustomed to dealing with certain pests even throughout the colder months. In partnership with PestWorld, the NPMA recently released their 2021 Fall & Winter Bug Barometer® predicting the pest trends we’re to expect in our region this winter. Unsurprisingly, rodents have been named the number one concern pest for Florida residents this winter. To keep your home or business safe from rats and mice this winter, the experts are here to share everything you need to know about preventing increased rodent activity—read on to learn more!

Winter Pests in Florida

Although many types of pests go away in the fall and winter, there are a few that stick around. With above-normal rainfall predicted, mosquitoes have lingered well into the fall months—which is much longer than usual. The most pressing pest pressures we face this time of year are those pests that look to get inside our homes to escape dropping temperatures outdoors.

In November, you may still be seeing some infamous fall pests inside your home. These include ants, stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs, all of which look to overwinter until springtime right in the comfort of your property. The most concerning winter pest problem Florida residents face in 2021, however, is a rodent infestation.

NPMA Bug Barometer 2021

Why Rodent Infestations Are Dangerous

Rodents are an increasingly common pest problem for homeowners, especially this time of year. Both rats and mice can squeeze their way inside impossibly small holes to gain access to your basement, attic, or another area. Once indoors, they can wreak havoc. Some of the major dangers of mouse or rat infestations are:

  1. With their ever-growing incisor teeth, rodents are constantly chewing on a number of things in your home, electrical wires included.
  2. To build nests, rodents will tear through materials in your home, including your insulation and cardboard boxes.
  3. Rodents can directly or indirectly transmit some of the most dangerous diseases, from rat-bite fever to hantavirus.
  4. Rodent droppings can contaminate food and create a hazardous environment in your property.

How to Prevent a Rodent Infestation this Winter

With NPMA’s prediction of increased rodent activity this time of year, it’s more important than ever to team up with your local rodent control exterminators. At Florida Pest Control, our experts will work hard to implement the best rodent exclusion tactics to keep rats and mice away for good. Contact us today!

The Dangers of House Mice and Rats [2021 Update]

Rat in Florida home - Florida Pest Control

Even if you love visiting Mickey and Minnie in Orlando, odds are you’re not too keen on the idea of mice or rats sharing your home. Many people have an inherent dislike or fear of mice and rats and, considering how dangerous they can be to humans, that’s understandable. A rat or mouse infestation isn’t only messy, it is hazardous. Rodents can chew on wires, cause a mess with their droppings, and even damage the structure of your business. With rodent infestations on the rise in 2021 and into the next year, it’s important to learn how to prevent these pests in your home. The experts at Florida Pest Control are here to help—read on to learn about the top threats that rodents pose.

Dangerous Rodents in Florida

Mice, rats, and the parasites that come with them can carry a number of diseases, some of which are potentially deadly to humans, like hantavirus, listeria, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis, and even the bubonic plague. Admittedly, most of these diseases are more common in other parts of the world than they are in Florida, but it should help you understand why people and non-domesticated rodents should maintain separate residences.

Mice and rats can also play a large role in contributing to dangerous allergies. A national study detected mouse urine levels that could trigger allergies in 35% of homes. Trace amounts or higher were found in 82% of homes. Mouse droppings are also an allergy issue. There are as many people allergic to mouse droppings as there are to mold and dust. Exposure to mouse allergen is a known cause of asthma in children and adults.

Additionally, rodents eat just about anything—including items in your home. Their teeth can gnaw through insulation, wallboards, cardboard, even wood. Some are especially fond of electrical wiring and that can lead to real danger. Exposed wires resulting from mice are believed to cause 25% of U.S. house fires!

How to Keep House Mice & Rats Out

If you want to stay safe from the dangers of house mice and rats, it’s important to prevent them in the first place. Once they get indoors, rats and mice are likely to hide away in your attic, kitchen, garage, and other places where they can stay warm and have access to food. Exclusion is the key to getting rid of rat problems for good:

  1. Inspect your property to look for any openings rodents may have snuck through. By sealing these openings and closing up gaps around vents and soffits, you can effectively keep rodents out.
  2. Further rat-proof your property by repairing your roof and monitoring drains. By limiting their access points, you can get rid of the means by which rodents get inside of your property.
  3. Look into traps and baits. If you have just a couple of rodents in your property, you can effectively get rid of them using bait or traps. Keep in mind this is not a strong enough solution to get rid of an entire infestation.
  4. Get professional rodent control services. If you have a serious rodent problem, the best thing you can do is hire a pest control expert. A professional will know to safely and effectively get rid of the pests for good.

Get Rid of Dangerous Rodents For Good

Many people believe if they’ve never seen a mouse or rat in their home, they’re not there. That’s overly optimistic. Rodents can be quite secretive and live in your home for a long time without you noticing. Even if they’re not in your home yet, they soon could be.

Florida Pest Control offers rodent control and exclusion services. Our experts are trained to locate areas of rodent activity and potential rodent entry points. Contact Florida Pest Control today and we will perform a rodent control inspection to ensure you, your family, and your home are protected.