A meeting to better organize the battle against roof rats now invading Mesa’s Orange Grove neighborhood is set for Thursday.
A representative from the Maricopa County Vector Control will speak at the meeting hosted by Mesa’s neighborhood outreach program to better educate residents on the presence of roof rats and what to do to combat them.
The meeting is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at Entz Elementary School, 4132 E. Adobe.
The city first confirmed that there was a roof rat problem in the Orange Groves neighborhood last month soon after resident Dave Grossklaus discovered the body of a rat floating inside his swimming pool in June.
Roof rats are nocturnal rodents ranging 13 to 18 inches long that are shy of people. Roof rats can cause damage to homes, including wiring around awnings and fixtures in attics as they find a place to nest in the winter months while waiting for the citrus season.
At the time, Grossklaus fished it out and didn’t think anything of it — until he spoke with his neighbor, Tom Duffy.
Duffy had written up an alert in the neighborhood’s Orange Groves Report, warning people that they could have a rat problem on their hands, or at least in their yards as he was noticing holes in the citrus in the ground
“I called my exterminator, and he told me to put a vector trap out and put a piece of a Snickers candy bar in it,” Grossklaus said. “Since June, I’ve caught six of them. It seems like I’ve been catching one every other week. We’ve got an issue here.”
The black or brown roof rats have an Asian lineage. They first emerged about 10 years ago in the east Phoenix Arcadia neighborhood after being unknowingly transported to the Valley on fruit trucks from coastal states such as California, Washington, Texas and Florida.
Last year, Tempe residents began voicing concerns about them in the Rural-Geneva neighborhood and the city hosted neighborhood meetings to educate people in how to deal with the rodents: Keep the lids on your garbage cans and make sure your trees are trimmed at least four feet away from the house. Also, keep citrus off of your roof and out of the yard.
Other signs that roof rats are taking up residence in one’s yard include torn-up places in the yard where they may nest, agitated pets, and gnawing sounds in your walls or in an attic.
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