Rodent Issue

Based on the recent encounters of some homeowners with what are commonly known as Palm Rats, or Roof Rats, I have contacted a pest control expert who explained that while it is possible to permanently eliminate the Palm Rats from a person’s home, via trapping then closing off all available access points, it is not feasible to completely remove them from the outdoor areas of the Community as a whole.  A few key points to remember:

  • Our rats are commonly called palm rats or roof rats, not to be confused with the much larger Norway variety.  Roof rats typically prefer attics, second floors, etc, avoiding the usual Norway rat habitat, at ground level and below, in sewers.
  • They forage on fruits and nuts but will go after other sources of food and sources of water as well.  They are nocturnal, returning to their nesting area during the day.  In most cases that is the attic.
  • They don’t need much of an opening to get inside.  A quarter sized holes will allow them access. The expert also pointed out that there are typically small openings at the areas where the various roof angles come together.  In his experience here in Marbella Lakes, he has found that to be the case more often than not.  These gaps in the roof also provide easy access for the roof rats.

To determine if you have roof rats nesting in your home, take a look around the exposed floor of your attic, accessed through the ceiling opening in your garage, and look for droppings, about the size of a small peanut, and a little elongated.  If you find them, you know you have an opening somewhere that they are using.  DO NOT seal that opening immediately.  You must remove the rats that are occupying your attic first.  If you simply seal them in, they will chew their way out, possibly entering your living spaces.

You can use poison bait around your home, but that attracts even more rats than it kills.  If a poisoned rat dies in your attic, the smell will be really bad.  The expert recommends placing old fashioned rat traps in the attic areas where you find droppings. After a few days, the rats will get used to seeing the traps and will start using them.  Keep emptying and re-baiting them until you are not catching any more rats.  At that point, you should seal off any openings that the rats can be using.  That trapping process may take a couple weeks to complete, but it will eliminate the rats in your attic and prevent a re-infestation.

In addition, be sure to attend to the food sources that have attracted the rats in the first place.  Things like fruit trees (which are NOT permitted in our community), bird feeders (also not allowed), outside garbage cans, especially those where the lids do not close properly.

The pest control expert believes the new construction in our area has surely displaced the indigenous rat population, and, apparently, our community, with no natural predators, has become a nice place for them to settle in. I have also spoken to other community managers who are also experiencing the same issue with the palm rats as Marbella Lakes.

If you have any fruit trees or bird feeders please note that they are not allowed per our documents and you will be required to remove them immediately at your own expense.

If you suspect you have a palm rat problem, you can also contact a reputable pest control company to eradicate them.  Look for one that will guarantee their work.

I believe if all residents act diligently and quickly we can quickly control any issues.

Thank you.

Tricia Gwinn
Community Association Manager
Marbella Lakes H.O.A. “Proudly Managed by GRS Management Associates”
6664 Marbella Lane, Naples FL 34105
D: 239-430-5690 |  F: 239-262-0113 Customer Service:561-641-8554

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