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Are Roof Rats a Problem for Frederick Homeowners?

Aug 16, 2022

Also known as black rats, fruit rats, ship rats, or house rats, roof rats are common household pests in Frederick, MD. 

Once these rats make their way into your attic or roof, they can wreak havoc on your home by gnawing through electrical wires, cables, and wood. Like all rodents, roof rats also pose serious health risks. And because they reproduce quickly, overlooking them can lead to more significant problems over time.  

It’s imperative to call for pest professionals like Romney Pest Control if you spot any signs or suspect an infestation.

How To Identify Roof Rats

Roof rats have dark brown to blackish color fur with light underbellies. They can grow up to 40cm in length, head to tail. Their body is elongated, and they have big dark eyes with pointed noses. 

As mentioned, roof rats reproduce at a rapid rate. A female can produce up to six litters per year consisting of up to eight pups.

Roof rats tend to climb to the upper parts of properties and nest above ground level. Their most common nesting spot is in attics, but they can also be found nesting in trees, wood piles, thick shrubbery, and other dense vegetation.

Roof rats tend to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Pet food will also attract them.

How To Tell If You Have Roof Rats in Your Frederick Home

a roof rat looking at the side while on a wooden beam

Some telltale signs that you might have roof rats in your home include:

  • Unusual gnawing, chirping, or squeaking noises, especially at night
  • Scratch and gnaw marks on electrical wiring, wood, walls, or the roof
  • Droppings or urine trails
  • Half-eaten fruits or vegetables outdoors
  • A foul, musky odor arising from droppings and urine
  • Gnawed holes in food packaging or ripped packages 
  • Rat sightings outside your home

Are Roof Rats a Problem?

Besides being an unpleasant sight or a nuisance, roof rats bring several dangers to your home and family. 

Health Risks

Rodents are carriers of various bacteria. Consuming food or water contaminated by their bodies, droppings, or saliva can lead to serious health issues. Some viruses and diseases they might transmit include salmonella, hantavirus, rat bite fever, and tularemia.

Inhaling air that contains allergens from these rats can also trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions in some individuals. In some cases, roof rats may even bite when threatened.

Structural Damages

Once they’re in your home, roof rats will chew on furniture, electrical wires, pipes, insulation, and wood beams. That may cause structural damage worth thousands of dollars to your home and pose a safety hazard by sparking a fire.

These pesky invaders may also feed on crops in your garden, rendering them unsafe for consumption.

Unpleasant Odor

The accumulated droppings and urine from a roof rat infestation can give off a foul lingering odor. Additionally, if a rat dies in your home, its body will release an unpleasant odor, which can pose a health risk to the occupants.

Roof Rat Prevention Tips for Frederick Homeowners

a roof rat hiding in the space between wooden beams and the roof

The best way to keep roof rats away is to make your home less attractive to them by doing the following:

  • Rodents are primarily attracted to food and water sources. Avoid leaving food out in the open and store it properly in the fridge or airtight containers.
  • Declutter your home by removing junk items, like piles of old clothes or trash. These are appealing hiding and nesting spots.
  • Roof rats can enter through the chimney. Place a roof cap on it, so that smoke can still move out, but pests can’t get in. 
  • Fix any plumbing leaks or faulty fixtures to eliminate potential water sources.

When roof rats invade and nest in your home, you must get rid of them at the earliest to prevent further costly problems.

How To Get Rid of Roof Rats

If the problem persists, some DIY options include using traps and bait, or even ultrasonic mouse repellers which produce high-frequency sound waves to drive rodents away. 

If that doesn’t work, some other traps you can buy include:

  • Snap traps
  • Electronic traps
  • Humane traps

Often, DIY approaches may not prove to be as effective as you might have expected them to be. Contact the pest experts at Phenom Pest Protection to eliminate these furry pests from your Frederick home today!


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