The homeowner can help control rat populations by doing the following:
- Harvest oranges, grapefruit, apricots, plums, nuts, tomatoes, etc. as soon as they are ripe. Pickup up all fruit that has fallen on the ground.
- Never leave uneaten pet food outside overnight. Keep pet food in sealed, metal containers if stored in the garage or other outbuildings
- Keep plum trees and yucca plants well-trimmed. Algerian ivy, oleander, bougainvillea, jasmine, and other thickly matted plants should be periodically thinned and trimmed well away from roofs, walls, fences, utility poles, and trees.
- Store wood and lumber piles on racks at least 18 inches above the ground and 12 inches away from walls.
Rats can enter a home through small exterior openings of less than one inch in diameter. Important steps a homeowner can take to exclude rats are inspecting and repairing:
- Basement windows and ventilation ports
- Attic vents and louvers
- Gaps between roof and chimney
- Vent pipes and shafts
- Tile roofs along the eaves
All-access openings should be screened with 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth and inspected at least once a year for the condition. Gaps around pipes and electrical conduits should be sealed. Tree limbs should be kept well away from the eaves, roof, and exterior walls of the house