Palm trees are a part of the scenery of Southern California that draws admiring comments from Easterners and Midwesterners. Unfortunately, those stately palms can also be a home for roof rats, and often act as an invasion path to your house or apartment.
According to Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health, the following steps should be taken by homeowners who have palm trees:
- Remove all dead palm fronds. (After a high wind, you will find lots of them.)
Trim tree limbs and tall plants six feet away from roof, attic vents, eaves, and utility lines. Thin ivy andother thick vegetation, and leave clearance beneath bushes to prevent harborage for rodents.
There are other precautions mentioned in the 4-page document (for which you will need Adobe Acrobat ro read).
One thing that many people do not realize is that the dense foliage of such beautifully landscaped houses such as those in Beverly Hills are effective at attracting rats. According to the New York Times:
“Beverly Hills is a nice place to be a rat,” Ray Honda explained, admiring the cool, verdant landscape of the moneyed class, with its fruit trees, bird feeders, swimming pools and dog-food bowls. “It’s a very good address.”
Mr. Honda, a Los Angeles County health inspector whose speech and demeanor bring Peter Lorre to mind, was quick to append, “the four-legged kind,” adding: “More rats than people, probably. And when they get really bad you can smell them.”
Across Beverly Hills and the other lush corridors of Los Angeles, rats —yellow-bellied, pink-tailed, flea-bitten rats —are wriggling through the woodwork and rooftops. They have come down from the trees and in from the fields, forced into neighborhoods by a strangling drought that has gripped the region. They are eating from dog bowls and drinking from swimming pools and acting in surly ways not normal to the genus.
The article does not mention two-legged rats, but Beverly Hills has always had a large population of those as well.
As much as I like Southern California, I have to admit that we have some unique problems of our own.