There are several signs that you may have a Rat Problem in your Portland area home.
Noises coming from your attic or upper walls could mean you have rats. But, overhead noises could also be other animals on your roof or a tree branch rubbing the house or roof on a windy day. I always ask our clients about the pattern of the noise and the time of day they hear it. I also ask if the noise moves or stays in the same place.
Roof Rats are fairly new to the Portland Oregon area. I have been in business for over twenty-seven years in this area and Nature First Pest Control of Portland has been called to control roof rats just in the last seven or eight years. We discovered that just sealing and rodent proofing the lower portion of the house could result in being called back during our one-year guarantee period. We found that there are a lot of homes in Portland that have had squirrels going in and out of their roof for many years. These rodents had chewed holes under the overhangs on the roofs and had been occasional visitors to the attic areas. This is especially true about the older two-story homes in the original neighborhoods of Portland.
Roof rats quickly learned to take advantage of these open hole opportunities and have displaced the squirrels in attics all over the city. Everyone should inspect their roof with a pair of binoculars. Pay particular attention to any overhangs and look where two different roof angles meet at dormers and porch projections.
Raccoons are also comfortable using your roof as a highway and a resting area. Any roof overhang will attract these disease carrying animals. When Nature First Pest Control inspects a roof overhang we often see claw marks and bite marks on the siding and trim work. Along with droppings that signify a raccoon resting area. We must be very careful when handling these droppings or even crawling on the roof in that area due to the possibility of contracting worms. Raccoons are usually just transients on your roof and their noise patterns are quite distinctive. Call Nature first about any noises you may hear near your roof. An awful lot of damage can be done to a home by rodents in a very short time.
Norway rats have been at home in Portland since the first ships arrived. They were called Wharf Rats and Sewer Rats because of where they lived. Now Portland has them in large numbers in every neighborhood. There are several factors that have contributed to the proliferation of both species of rats here.
Our aging sewer system allows Rats to travel anywhere there is a sewer pipe in the city. Many of the older homes originally had a shared sewer output line with a neighboring house. These original pipes proved to be too small and fragile. Over the years, these older sewer lines were replaced by bigger and stronger lines. However, many of the old lines were abandoned or just covered up. These original sewer pipes can still be connected to the main city line, or to an open abandoned sewer pipe in the crawl space of a home.
Nature First has discovered hundreds of broken sewer lines over our twenty-seven-year history. The first clue we usually see is a smooth round hole near a foundation or in the middle of a front yard. When we ask the home owner about filling in this hole, the usual response is that they keep filling it in and it just keeps opening up. The hole keeps opening up because everything that is put into the hole is excavated by the rats down into the sewer line, where, hopefully, the debris gets pushed out by your flushing the toilet and into the main city sewer. This damaged sewer line will eventually get plugged and backed up so that the toilets in the house back up. Rats did not do the damage to the sewer line. Tree roots, heavy equipment running over the lawn, and poor original materials and trenching techniques account for most of these sewer line failures. Norway rats find a break or gap in the line and discover that these breaks cause water to undermine the dirt below the pipe. The dirt under the sewer line settles and creates a space that the rats will follow all the way back to the house. The sewer line exit point from the house was usually made much bigger than was actually needed. Norway Rats from the main sewer just follow under the house connecting line right through, or under, the foundation and into your crawl space or basement.
All of God’s creatures, need food, water and shelter. Rats breed at an extraordinary pace and would soon overrun any environment where they can get an unlimited supply of the necessities.
Few rats survive to become adults and even fewer live over one year. Rats are reservoirs of diseases that affect humans and our domestic animals. Portland has a particular problem with rat disease transmission because of the large number of chicken coops in neighborhood back yards. Chicken owners know that handling live chickens can be risky due to salmonella contamination. Rats compound the exposure possibilities to humans and their livestock because of the rats close contact with chickens and chicken food. One chicken coop can support and feed a lot of rats. Pet food left outside, and bird feeders are also big contributors to Portland’s rat population. Nature First Pest Control can offer suggestions on how and when to feed birds in Portland. Pet food left outside almost always feeds a lot more animals than it was intended for.
The cable TV and HVAC installers often leave vent screens torn and weakened. Rats and mice as well as feral cats and opossums will enlarge these vent openings and will use your crawl space for a bathroom. Rats do the most damage to crawl spaces and attics by tearing down, soiling, and compressing insulation.
Mice and rats as well as squirrels chew on electrical wiring. Estimates are that a third of house fires of unknown origin are really caused by rodents chewing on electrical wiring. I have been told that this wire chewing problem has been made much worse using vegetable oils instead of petroleum oil to make the plastic insulation on the wire. It seems that the veggie insulation tastes even better than the petroleum insulation they like. The recent use of plastic water lines for dishwashers and refrigerator ice makers has caused a significant increase in water damage claims due to their attractiveness to rats and mice.
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