ABOUT NORWAY RATS
The Norway rat goes by many other names including barn rat, brown rat, gray rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, and house rat. It is a stocky creature that is prevalent in Bensalem and throughout Pennsylvania most of New Jersey.
These animals are covered in rough brown or gray fur. They can grow to be between 12 and 18 inches long, including their 5-8 inch tails. Their ears are large and furless, and they have a long, skinny, scaly tail. Their bellies are often grayish brown or pale gray. They have small eyes and a round nose.
One of the most preferred sources of food for Norway rats is garbage. They are also fond of meat and grain. Pet food is an attractant for them, and they are known to eat up to one-third of their own body weight every day. Norway rats will also eat fish, birds, mice, leaves, roots, fruits, and seeds.
Norway rats are capable of burrowing through cement foundations, and will enter a home or office building if they locate an area that is relatively undisturbed. As natural burrowers they usually create nests around 18 inches underground, but will also nest in dumpsters, sewers, fields, in wall voids, basements, crawl spaces, in stacked wood, and other places they find shelter.
PROBLEMS WITH NORWAY RATS
The rat’s natural gnawing behavior puts homes and offices at great risk. When these pests gnaw through electrical wiring, they can create a tremendous fire hazard. When they gnaw through concrete foundations, they can do extensive damage to the structure of the building. They can also gnaw through important things like documents, walls, doors, pipes, furniture, floors, etc.
These pests forage for food at night and travel over a one hundred foot radius of their nest to find food. Offspring are usually born in the summer and fall months, and female rats can give birth to up to 84 newborns every year. They generally shy away from human contact, but live in large groups with a male leader. As they are excellent climbers, jumpers, and swimmers, virtually any location inside a home or office is susceptible to an infestation.
A Norway rat infestation can prove to be troublesome for home and business owners. Humans can contract a variety of diseases by inhaling the air around droppings, or by handling them. Rat urine and feces can contaminate food and cause diseases such as bubonic plague, salmonella, hantavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and more. Rats can carry other pests into the home including mites, fleas, ticks, and lice.
Although Norway rats typically avoid human contact, they will scratch or bite when threatened by people. This can lead to rat-bite fever, which can result in an emergency room visit for symptoms such as fever and vomiting.
SIGNS OF A NORWAY RAT INFESTATION
As fairly timid, nocturnal pests, Norway rats may never be seen within or around the home. It is important for business and home owners to know what to look for if they suspect an infestation:
• Rat droppings. One rat can produce up to 50 dropping every day. Droppings are blunted, long, and can be a half an inch in length.
• Rat paths are visible. If the rats are nesting outside of the building, vegetation may be packed down where they travel. If rats are foraging inside, the homeowner may see evidence of their presence by a path through dust or dirt.
• Teeth marks may be visible on all types of materials including storage containers, garbage cans, wood, plastic, metals, furniture, and more.
• The home or business owner can hear squeaking from inside wall voids or in ceilings or floor boards.
• The existence of holes that are about two inches in diameter that the rats use as entry and exit points.
• A trail of grease is left behind where rats frequently travel. Their fur produces an oily substance which allows them to adapt to the water, and is also a clue that they are close by.
Norway rats are common to the Bensalem area. The biggest way to deter this pest from entering the home or grounds is to maintain sanitary conditions. If the home or business owner suspects that a nest exists, it is important to contact a local pest control provider immediately to reduce the risk of structural damage and fire hazard.
Other prevention tips include:
• Seal all pantry items in Mason jars or air-tight containers.
• Seal any openings around utility wires or plumbing connections that are bigger than one-quarter of an inch.
• Opt for a metal garbage can (with a tight lid) over a plastic garbage can to deter gnawing.
• Be sure that all garbage is picked up on a regular basis.
• Eliminate any wood piles, newspaper piles, and other types of bulk material from the yard and garage.
• Do not leave pet food out and make sure all pet food is tightly sealed.
• Vegetation and shrubs should be cut back from the structure so that Norway rats cannot climb up them.
NORWAY RAT CONTROL
Due to the tremendous health impact that Norway rats have on humans, an infestation should be investigated and controlled only by a professional exterminator. To get rid of Norway rats, our licensed technicians are able to determine the entry and exit points, where and how many nests exist in the building, and how best to eradicate them, safely and thoroughly.