LESLIE: Hey, it’s roof rats. How can we help?
JANE: Hi. Well, it’s nice to talk to you and I love your show.
LESLIE: Thank you.
JANE: I am not a Martha Stewart or anything close to that but I have this problem that I have had for about two years now and my mom’s had it for about ten years.
LESLIE: OK, you live in California.
JANE: We live in California and we have roof rats.
LESLIE: Tell me, do you have palm trees close to your house?
JANE: No, we don’t have palm trees.
LESLIE: Really? Because I know for a fact in California when palm trees are too close to a structure – and sometimes, you know, when the palm fronds grow down and then the stalk of the tree itself is covered with that sort of like bushy brush before you get to the palm on the top itself …
LESLIE: … I know that the rats like to climb up and live in there and then they can climb onto your roof. So that’s why a lot of the times in California you see the tall stalks of the palm tree are actually shaved back …
LESLIE: … so you only see the top and you don’t see that sort of brown, dry, thick stuff growing on the stalk itself. So if you have palm trees in your area, if they’re in part of the area that’s to the town or the city, you can call them and ask them on how to remove that. They might even do that as a service. But if you have some on your property line, you want to take that off. And I know it’s a cause of debate for a lot of California residents because some people feel it changes the look of the palm tree. But by keeping it there, you’re making a perfect access for all of these animals to get onto your roof.
JANE: Oh, that’s great. That’s great to know. I know that – I think my mom has a couple palm trees in her house, like near her house. But do you know of any – if you put out rat bait, is that going to work? I mean is there anything that you can recommend besides trimming all the shrubbage around the house?
TOM: I think the best way to control any type of rodent infestation is to eliminate the food and the access. Typically, that’s the approach that works the best. There is a pretty funny website about roof rats; it’s called RoofRats.org.
TOM: And they have everything there from roof rat folklore to roof rat art to roof rat empathy and declaring war on roof rats, so you might want to take a look at that site. I love their headline; it says, “Roof rats – are they charmin’ or vermin?” (Leslie and Jane chuckle)
JANE: Well, I know we’ve had this problem for a long time and if there’s people from California that are listening to this show, I know they appreciate this call because all of our neighborhoods have it. You know. And so I appreciate that advice and I guess I’ll have to bring my dog food in.
TOM: Absolutely. Absolutely bring your dog food in. Don’t feed them.
LESLIE: Don’t help them to stay.
JANE: Right. Well, my mom’s just started naming hers and they’re kind of her pets now. (all chuckle) They’re California’s dirty, little secret but … (chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckles) Well, that secret’s out now.
TOM: Judy (ph), thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.