How to Get Rid of Fruit Rats in Florida

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The fruit rat is a rodent species known for living on roofs and other high points of a structure. In Florida, these rats often take up residence in trees that produce large fruit, such as citrus and papaya trees. Not only may these rats destroy your entire fruit crop, but they can also threaten the structural integrity of your home as they chew through your walls and beams. Take immediate steps to get rid of Floridian fruit rats to protect your fruit and your house.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree guard
  • Rodenticide
  • Predator scent spray
  • Rat traps
  • Apply a tree guard around the fruit approximately two feet from the ground. Such guards are made of plastic or metal and prevent rodents such as fruit rats from climbing up the tree. For best results against large fruit rats, choose a tree guard product that is 18 inches wide or bigger.

  • Poison the rats. Place a commercial rodenticide near the base of the fruit tree. If the tree forks from its main base, place pieces of rat poison in the fork. Example products include Neogen's Havoc Xt Blox Rat Killer and Jensen's Rodenticide Baitbits. Such products can be obtained at many general retailers in Florida, including Walgreen's and CVS.

  • Spray your fruit tree's base with a predator scent-infused product such as Critter Ridders' bobcat solution. For severe infestations, also spray the branches leading to heavy fruit clusters. These products trick the fruit rats into thinking a large predator is nearby, scaring them away from your fruit tree. This removal technique traditionally works best during Florida's dry season from November through April.

  • Set up rat traps. Tie standard traps with twine to the base of the troubled fruit tree, with the trap's trigger pointing toward the ground. Also set up traps on nearby fences and structures that the rats may use to get onto your tree. Traps on the tree need no bait, though off-tree traps can be baited with small pieces of dehydrated fruit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take preventative measures to stop fruit rats from infesting your trees. Keep your fruit trees pruned back so that they are isolated and not touching each other or nearby structures, such as a utility pole or house. Also remove brush, leaves and other potential hiding spots near the base of the tree.
  • Rodenticides are also toxic to children and small animals such as cats or dogs. Restrain your pets and keep your children away from areas that you have treated with rat poison.

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