Updated: Mar 30
“Rats can spread disease through their urine and droppings, and a rat bite can also cause renal failure in humans and spread a number of diseases to your pet, including rat-bite fever."
What causes rats to come into your South Florida house?
1. Warmth and comfort
“Rats enter homes for the same reasons as any other animal: food, water, and shelter, “Rats and other rodents are warm-blooded animals, so seeking a warm place to nest is an instinct.”
And in their quest for sweet digs to rest their weary tails, these rodents can do plenty of damage along the way.
“Rats can gnaw through wood, insulation, and wires to create nests, and access food inside your South Florida home, “They can also cause your appliances to short and are a common cause of house fires.”
2. Food—all types of food
What attracts rats? Simple: food! Rats aren’t picky eaters. Milk, meat, veggies, soap, leather, fur— It’s all good to them. This explains why “the first thing that attracts rats to a house is garbage bins if they are not well-covered with lids.
If you have any unsecured food in your South Florida home —say, bags of pet food, birdseed, or even grass seed — rats will sniff it out.
3. Pet waste and compost
On the topic of food: If rats are attracted to all types of food, then they’re attracted to digested food, too. Your pile of compost or yard littered with dog waste is a Vegas buffet to them.
4. Dripping pipes
Hey, a busy rat is a thirsty rat.
“Rats need a daily source of water, and if they can’t find it outside, they will be attracted to indoor sources.”
Have a small leak in a pipe somewhere? Or drippy sprinkler heads, pet water bowls you keep outside, or even a birdbath? Rats will see a watering hole—and stick around for easy hydration.
5. Easy access
Rats don’t ring the doorbell and ask to be invited in. If you have a hole or crack in your South Florida home that’s larger than a half-inch, a rat can squeeze itself through.
Also, “they can climb trees, making this a common way for them to access your attic.” Roof soffits and vents are other clever ways for rats to come into your South Florida house.
6. Indoor plants
“Indoor fruit plants and nut trees are attractive to rats, especially roof rats, who will seek out fruit.” Plus “rats often take advantage of large, potted plants as a safe spot indoors.
What attracts rats and how to keep them away from your South Florida home
Look for leaks. Do this regularly. If you find any, seal or fix them right away.
Store all food in plastic containers. “Rats can chew through cardboard.”
Cover your trash with a tight-fitting lid. Feeding your pets on a schedule, rather than leaving food out all day and night.
Think like a rat. Check the perimeter of your home for easy access points.
“Seal holes larger than a quarter-inch in diameter, cracks in the walls and floors, and spaces around doors, windows, and plumbing.” Seal roof soffits and vents with materials rats don’t like to eat: steel wool, for instance, or a mesh screen. If you think overhead utility wires are serving as a “highway,” contact your utility company or a pest control pro for help. Keep a clean south Florida yard. Besides picking up dog poop, stack firewood away from your home — not up against it. Bushes and plants should be weed-free and at least 18 inches away from the house.
If rats still come a-knockin’…
Our South Florida inspectors shy away from rat poisoning. “The most effective, sanitary, and humane way we found to rid a house of rats is to remove the wall Sheetrock and the insulation, so they have no cozy place left and move on."
Using peppermint (rats supposedly hate the smell), steel wool (they don’t like the texture), and spray foam to block small access areas.
“Killing them is not a long-term solution as other rats will simply move into the newly available spaces.” “After rat-proofing your South Florida building, give the remaining animals a chance at life by live-trapping and releasing them outdoors. which is what we do at Safe Home Management.”
Visit our blog page for more home management tips for your South Florida home.