Can Rats Damage Your Home?

B&B Exterminating Blog

Rats cause extensive structural damage in the Jacksonville area. Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, it’s difficult to avoid infestations. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 30 percent of homeowners in northeastern Florida say that they’ve had problems with rodents.

Researchers with the USDA estimate that rats cause $19 billion in damage each year. In addition to consuming and contaminating 20 to 35 percent of the world’s food supply, rats damage roads, railway tracks and bridges by burrowing under the ground and disrupting the soil. Small-scale problems occur in local homes where rats spread salmonella, hantavirus, typhus and the plague. The effects of rodent infestations are devastating when the rats gnaw on electrical wires. Most of this damage happens because rats chew continuously. Their incisors grow 5 inches every year.

Damage to Drywall and Building Materials

As a general rule, mice can squeeze through dime-sized holes, and rats can enter through quarter-sized holes. However, if a potential entry point isn’t quite big enough, rats will enlarge the opening. Norway rats and roof rats gnaw through plastic, wallboard, wood and metal. They may also chew drywall to create a cozy nest. Sealing these openings is an important step for preventing rodent infestations. A drywall hole that can’t be patched costs $500 to repair on average.

Rodent Damage Involving Cabinets, Doors and Wooden Trim

Since rats can chew through older damaged lead pipes and heavy plastic, wood isn’t much of a challenge. Rats are notorious for finding secret back entrances in kitchen cupboards. If they can’t squeeze through, they’ll use their woodworking skills to make some adjustments. Once they’re in your cabinets, they’ll raid your sweets and high-protein snacks.

Rodent-related Electrical Fires

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, rodents start 25 percent of fires of unknown origin. Rats peel the insulation off electrical wires in attics and walls where one spark can cause a severe fire. They may also chew on appliance cables and gas pipes.

Rats cause serious health and safety hazards that can grow out of control as the population multiplies. Call on B&B Exterminating for professional pest control services that eliminate the problem and the cause.