Pack Rats – The Desert Scavenger

A few weeks ago, we received a call from a homeowner in Oro Valley, AZ who went out to turn on the pool heater before a family gathering and he found that pack rats had chewed through some wiring and the heater wouldn’t work. Luckily, the customer was able to get the heater fixed quickly and we were able to set up traps to catch the culprit and the family gathering was save. However, this serves as a reminder of the damage that can be caused by pack rats in Southern Arizona.

Identification
Pack rats, also known as wood rats, are Southern Arizona’s most common rat species. Adults tend to be about eight inches long with noticeably large ears and long whiskers. They typically are a brown-tan color with a lighter colored underside.

Habitat
Pack rats thrive in the Sonoran Desert, but also found in higher elevations throughout the southwest United States. In the wild, they prefer to build their nests in sheltered places like at the base of cactus and shrubs and in piles of fallen trees and sticks. Homeowners often find pack rat nests in wood piles, pool equipment, A/C units, wall voids, attics, and unused storage sheds and garages. Pack rats are scavengers and are especially attracted by shiny objects so their nest will often contain manmade items like jewelry, coins, soda cans, and children’s toys.

Infestations
We pack rats invade there can be costly clean up and repairs. Like all rodents, their teeth are constantly growing causing them to chew on everything from wood siding and drywall to electrical wiring and plumbing. This can lead to damage and expensive repairs. In addition, pack rats can spread diseases like chagas which is carried by kissing bugs who are frequently found in pack rat nests.

Control
Controlling pack rats can be accomplished a variety of ways and like most of our advice, defense is the best offense. Homeowners should keep landscaping well maintained and trim bushes, shrubs, and cactus up off the ground. Also, keep wood piles and trash cans away from the structure. Homeowners should also look for holes and openings in the structure that pack rats can fit through – they only need about the size of a quarter to gain entry. If pack rats have already invaded, trapping and baiting may be called for, but setting things up properly will be an essential part of the success of any treatment.

The highly trained technicians at Bill’s Home Service have the latest tools and techniques to protect your home or business from pack rat infestations. Give our experts a call today at (520) 200-7043.