Roof rats are multiplying and are heading outside of the Phoenix area into the East Valley, according to experts.
There are easy to describe.
"Gross, noisy and pesky," said Terry Richardson, a Mesa homeowner.
He is one of the first homeowners to notice roof rats in a different part of the Valley.
"They got rid of four that were probably in the attic either coming or going out of the attic one way or another," Richardson said, explaining his recent removal of roof rats. "There was a hole in the roof over there," he said as he described where they were getting in.
Jason Nolan with CritterRidder of Arizona said the rats started appearing for the first time about 10 years ago in the East Phoenix neighborhood named Arcadia.
Nolan explained that they rats then started moving into Tempe and now they are appearing in areas of Mesa like at Richardson's home near Lindsay and University.
"They start over inhabiting a certain area and it forces them to spawn out further and further and further," Nolan said. "You can find ones that are well over a foot long."
Nolan also explained as the temperatures drop the rodents start to come out of the sewers looking for a warm place to stay. They can also hop a ride in garbage or on a landscaper's trailer to move from one location to another.
"If you don't have them yet, I absolutely guarantee that you will," Nolan said.
Nolan said the roof rats are drawn to citrus fruits and said if you see a puncture in fruit in your area it is most likely from a bird. However, he said if you see the peel bitten off, that is probably from the rodent's teeth marks and you probably have rat problem.
He said to professionally remove the pests, seal up your home and try to develop a plan for the community as a whole to help stop the spread.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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