How to keep roof rats away from your home this winter

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- As the temperatures drop, more and more critters head indoors to keep out of the cold, and that includes roof rats.

Rats are common around coastal areas, so people new to Arizona might not expect them here. However, these critters have made their way to the Valley, and just like humans, they're creatures of habit, so the rats keep coming back.

"They chew through wires and different things inside your house," said Sage Garvey with Burns Pest Elimination.

The Valley is the marketplace for roof rats, during the holiday season.

"As we get into December, our fruit matures. That's what they're going to come and feed on," said Garvey. "It's an easy meal. If you're not going to eat it, pick it and dispose of it."

Burns Pest Elimination puts out 120 rodent station rat traps around the Valley, every three days. Garvey says customer call volume goes up about 10% this time of year, and that's a good thing.

"Don't try and mess around with this guy by yourself," said Garvey. "You will do more damage than it's worth."

Leave it to the professionals, and they'll even do the first part for free: sticky tape, for evidence.

"You call our company, we'll come out -- no charge to you -- and put three of those outside your garage," said Garvey.

To rat-proof a home, people should patch up any small holes in the house, repair loose door stripping, and keep trees trimmed.