Arizona’s rising rodent problem has Phoenix and surrounding areas saying: “Rats!”


October 4, 2016

Recent government efforts in Phoenix, Ariz. to eradicate a rising roof rat population have proven ineffective according to the Maricopa County vector control office. After rats were first discovered in the Arcadia neighborhood near Phoenix, many government resources have been thrown at the problem to no avail. Efforts included putting up more than 6,000 bait stating on every telephone pole and tree on public land in Arcadia, resulting in rats consuming only about 1 percent of the poison in the bait stations. Some headway was made by private property owners who helped by keeping their lots clear of debris and setting traps. This was more effective but still hasn’t eradicated the problem.

Now the rats appear to be on the move, spreading from the Phoenix metro area into Yuma over the past few years.

As many of you know, the rats are known for their ability to climb trees to reach citrus and other fruit, and neighboring buildings where they’re able to escape their natural predators. With the ability to squeeze through holes as wide as a half-inch, the roof rats gnaw on everything from interior wood to wiring, while leaving a trail of poop behind them.

One thing that indicates a rise in roof rats is the uptick of rodent calls many pest management companies in the Yuma area have been receiving as of late. According to many residents of the area say that Yuma was not known as a “rat area” until the last couple of years, and many PMPs are wondering how, exactly, they made their significant move out of the Phoenix metro area.

One PMP speaking on the record to the Yuma Sun said that though they’ve been experiencing many more calls about rats, that doesn’t necessarily translate to more costumers. Because treatments tend to be relatively expensive if done correctly.

A Yuma County spokesman, Kevin Tunell said the county health department has not conducted any testing of the area roof rats, and likely wouldn’t until a public facility such as a school.

Like bed bugs, rat home and property invasions still carry a stigma that keeps some residents with rats tight-lipped about their rodent issue, which can be problematic for PMPs and public officials to accurately track and measure the severity of the problem.

Are you a PMP working in the Phoenix or Yuma areas? Have you been dealing with an uptick of rodent calls, or have any stories related to the spread of the roof rat. If so, we’d like to hear about it. Write me a



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