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Rats Here in The Villages
We have been bothered by
rats since we got
here in mid-November, and today Massey removed one dead rat from our
attic. For days, the smell was unbearable and even though it has been
removed, we've been told it will linger for a couple more days. Massey
is baiting the rats around our home and is doing the same for four more
of our neighbors. Massey says it is the bird feeders
on Tatum) that the rats love, and he has spoken to some of his customers
in our area that have bird feeders, but they won't remove them because
they haven't seen any rats. About a week ago, I saw a rat in a tree while
walking from Wilson Way to the Lynnhaven mailboxes. It was on an
and I just happened to look up at the time. Not a good feeling!
A plea to our bird-feeding
Bob and I live on Due West Drive here in the Village of
Lynnhaven, where there is a rat infestation. There are now at least
five houses near our home that have a problem with rats. Some of our
neighbors are trapping or baiting the rats on their own, others are
using professional services like Massey. We have been told by Massey
that the rat infestation is due to the most recent hurricane and the
food supplied by bird feeders. Rats love bird food. Don’t get us
wrong. We love watching the birds that visit our landscape, but we
would like to enjoy our homes without the rats.
Would our bird-feeding
neighbors consider suspending their feeding of birds until the rats
leave and find some other neighborhood to find food? Before bird
feeders came into existence, birds found food naturally. They will
again. Thank you for your consideration.
Rats in Other Areas of The Villages and Florida
I've heard and read that rats have become a problem elsewhere in The
Villages, as well, and bird feeders are not necessarily causing the problem.
Fruit trees also provide an easy and tasty meal for rodents, and they are common in
orchards and citrus groves. Because rats eat the fruit, they are sometimes
referred to a fruit rats. Here in the southern states, roof rats are
They are good climbers and can get into your house with just a
very, very small gap. And, because we had a lot of rain before the hurricane,
then the hurricane, they might have had a nest that flooded out and may have
shelter and a new nest in your home. We had one a few years ago, but the person
who came around to inspect for possible entrances to our house told us where to
seal off access. We got some spray-on foam to close the gap and looked for other
possible spots where they might have been able to enter.
Rats and mice DO make homes where there is a food source nearby, so put
anything that rodents might get into in an air-tight container; keep garbage and
food wrappings in a tight and lidded container. If you've got a
dryer vent leading to the outside, be sure you seal off between the siding/wall
and the vent, and cover an open vent with metal screening. Seal around pipes leading
outside, like your air conditioner and air handler plumbing. If fruit falls from your
trees, promptly pick up the fruit so it doesn't attract critters.
Rat (black rat, ship rat)
- Sleek, agile and adept at climbing vines, wires, and walking narrow ledges.
- Belly color: gray, white.
- Fur is grayish black to solid black.
- Adult size: 7-10 in.
- Weighs 5-9 oz.
- Nests in trees, attics, voids along the roof line, and in ceilings;
usually in attics if found inside.
- Lives above ground, but may expand nests to underground burrows.
- Will also construct globular leafy nests in trees and enter buildings by
tree branches, utility lines.
- Seek cover and are attracted by dense vegetation, lush landscapes, fruit
trees, and dog areas.
- Eat meat and grain, but prefer fruits, vegetables, seeds, and
nuts. Will eat snails, slugs, and insects, as well.
- Peak activity time: dawn or dusk; they are nocturnal. If they are heard
during the day, the population is large.
7 Signs That You Have Rats (or Mice)
- Rodent droppings most likely to be found near food packages, in drawers
or cupboards, under sinks, in hidden areas, and along rodent runways, with
the greatest number of droppings where they are nesting or feeding.
- Animal gnawing, often found on food packaging or the structure of the
- Foul odor, most likely to occur when rodents have recently entered a
structure. Ongoing stale smell coming from hidden areas, indicating an
- Tracks and runways, smudge marks, footprints, urine stains, or
droppings. If you suspect you have rodents, try placing a very thin layer of
flour or baby powder there. If active, you are likely to see their trails in
- Rat (or mouse) nests: use materials like shredded paper, fabric, or
dried plant matter.
- In your yard: rodents are attracted to piles of trash, organic waste,
etc. for both food and nesting.
- Population: If only seen at night and never during the day, population
hasn't gotten too large and can be controlled with traps and bait. If seen
during the day, with numerous piles of fresh droppings or gnaw marks,
population likely large, which requires professional services.
How to Prevent and Get Rid of Rodents
- Deny them entry or shelter: seal off access to your home with caulking
or block with steel wool or wire screening.
- Cut off water and food supplies. Remove food drippings and grease from
grills, remove standing water, keep garbage cans neat and tightly covered
with a lid, clean up food spills and don't leave food uncovered.
- Try natural remedies like:
- Peppermint and other essential oils
(eucalyptus, grapefruit, sage, and lavender) where they travel.
Dip some cotton balls in the peppermint oil and place them in the
- Ground pepper: pungent smell makes it hard for them to breathe.
- Bay leaf: they think it's food, but it kills them. Repeat until all
- Sliced onion in or near their holes.
- Set up traps.
- Get a cat.
Hope this has proved useful and has provided ideas for keeping your home
free of rats and mice.