How rats get inside Valley homes to escape the heat
Home & Gardening

How rats get inside Valley homes to escape the heat

Roof rats are looking to get out of the Arizona heat this time of year and they can end up in your attic or your plumbing.

PHOENIX — You’re not the only ones looking for ways to get out of the heat. Rats are looking for an escape and they usually find it in your attic or your plumbing. 

“We actually deal with multiple species of rodents here,” said Chad Little, owner of Urban Desert Pest Control.

They range from the brown rats that like to live in trees (and in your attic) to the black rats that climb in sewer lines and plumbing drains then they eat their way out.

During a recent call, Little held up a thick black PVC pipe with holes in it. The rats had chewed their way through the plastic from the inside. 

And, Little said, it actually doesn’t matter if you have fruit trees in your neighborhood or not. That’s a leftover assumption from when roof rats started appearing in the early 2000s. They showed up in the Arcadia, Biltmore and Litchfield Park areas, where there are a lot of citrus trees.

“It actually has zero to do with fruit,” Little said. 

Instead, it’s about availability and ease of access, he said.

Rats can chew through a lot of building materials to get inside. On the recent inspection, he found evidence of rats chewing through insulation and vents on a roof to get inside. 

And, he said, there’s no place that’s safe. The rats are everywhere. 

According to Bell Laboratories, a company that makes some of the chemicals that Little uses, roof rats started out in select areas on the West Coast and the deep south around 2005.

Fast forward to 2020, and they’re well established in almost every state and far into Canada. 

“There is nowhere that I can tell you to move inside the Valley that you’re going to get away from the rats,” Little said. 

He said you can try to trap the rats yourself, but an exterminator would have more luck. They’d also be able to help plug up every access point in your home so the rats don’t get in.