Two separate studies just listed Sacramento in the top 5 worst rat infested cities in the US. The most common rodent in our area is "Rattus rattus" AKA the Roof Rat.
One of the best ways to discourage rodent activity is to reduce their food sources. This is a great first step towards control, and can really make an impact if you can get your neighbors involved. Rats will travel up to 300 feet to forage for food and only require about 1oz of food per day to survive.
Here are some common "culprits" and things you should look for:
1. Fruit trees (especially citrus) - It might not seem like something a rat would go for, but citrus is one of the major food sources for rodents in the winter months. Keeping it off the ground is key - but they will also climb into the tree to get fresh fruit off the branches so you will want to harvest regularly and keep an eye out for gnawed fruit. This is an early sign that you may have a problem.
2. Snails - believe it or not, rats absolutely love "escargot". If you see snail shells in an attic, on a roof, or in random piles around your property you likely have a rat population nearby. Our rodent services includes complimentary snail treatments for this very reason.
3. Dog/Cat food - This is the most commonly found food source and the start of many rat infestations. Keep the bag in a plastic/metal container, and feed your pet inside. A food bowl left outside (especially at night) is like an all you can eat buffet for rats. Rats are used to the smell of domestic pets (even cats) and will not be scared to come right up to the back door for a free meal.
4. Trash bags - We all have those moments where the trash can is full and the garbage man isn't coming for 3 days. Never leave a bag of food waste on the curb or on the side of your house, as tempting as it might be. The best thing you can do is to put it in a sealed empty can (like the green waste) and then switch it once the garbage can is empty.
5. Bird feed - This is a tough one. Birds are great to have around and many people enjoy feeding them, but you are also feeding the local rat population if you just throw bird feed on the ground. If you absolutely have to feed the birds - do it in a rat/squirrel resistant feeder and keep an eye on the bird food that gets kicked out on the ground by the birds. You'll need to clean this up daily if you want to keep your property rodent free.
There are many more factors to rodent control (sealing entry points, population reduction, tree/shrub trimming, sanitation, insulation replacement, etc) but if you follow these 5 steps you are on your way to a rodent reduced neighborhood.
Give us a call or text if you'd like more in depth information or a professional inspection. We are happy to help our neighbors and advice is always free - regardless if you are our client or not.