March 7, 2012

Going Up (And Perhaps Coming Down This Weekend)

While Palms might be known as "high-rise condominiums for rats," apparently vines are escalators. From a plugged-in builder in San Francisco:

Hate to point out a glaring negative, but ivy (and wisteria, and any other vines) tend to provide an inviting environment for ROOF RATS!! It is a direct highway for them to climb up the side of your building, and they love to climb. I've seen the damage -- they climb right up the vines, and they will enlarge any little hole around a downspout and happily invade your attic.
And yes, even in Pac Heights -- rats are everywhere in this city. The dirty secret is that vines are most often removed from buildings after the owner discovers the unwanted guests and pays big bucks to an exterminator to get rid of them. I know -- I've seen the whole scenario play out only a couple blocks from this listing. ;-)
In another case, I was working on a home on Broadway a few years back (close to Broadway and Steiner). While I was there the neighbors started excavation for a new foundation, and the rats that were disturbed by the digging literally poured out onto Broadway in broad daylight!

On the other hand, apparently Ivy acts as a thermal shield. It's your call.

2505 Divisadero Returns Sans Kirk Hammett And Its Beard [SocketSite]
A Most Unfortunate Quote [SocketSite]

First Published: March 7, 2012 8:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Pretty sure anyone who makes an offer on a $9,250,000 mansion isn't going to sweat the fee that an exterminator charges to get rid of roof rats. Even if it required multiple visits. What constitutes "big bucks"?

A competent home inspector will identify and document enlarged holes around downspouts and attic infestations prior to close of escrow; at least that's the impression I get from watching Holmes on Homes religiously :)

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at March 7, 2012 9:53 AM

Rats and mice are the scavengers that clean up leftover trash that would otherwise decompose and cause many more health problems for us. We should be more grateful and a little less delicate.

Posted by: sf at March 7, 2012 9:58 AM

That's why you need keep traps set at all times. Just a good preventative measure.

Posted by: ts364 at March 7, 2012 10:21 AM

put some big furry tails on these rats and you'll have people feeding them and taking pictures.

Posted by: lol at March 7, 2012 10:30 AM

There are devices you can buy which emit high frequency noises that deter rodents and roaches. Has anybody had luck with these?

Posted by: sf at March 7, 2012 10:35 AM

sf: Are you calling my cats "devices"?

Posted by: redseca2 at March 7, 2012 11:02 AM

Yes- cats are the best deterrents. Rat traps always make me nervous- especially if you have kids.

Posted by: sf at March 7, 2012 11:34 AM

Living in the Mission - rats are the least of my worries :-) Seriously though, just go around your building and make sure you have no holes that they can crawl through. Then they won't be an issue, ivy/wisteria or no. Ounce of prevention etc etc

Posted by: KB at March 7, 2012 3:05 PM

Speaking of rats and cats...

Was at my HOA meeting last week and first one person complained that he thought there were rats in the walls & roof of his unit. There was a long (too long imo) discussion on that issue. Then later another person complained about the feral cats that live in our common area & parking lot making too much noise at night. When it was pointed out that the cats could be helping keep the rodent population in check someone loudly commented "Those fat lazy cats aren't hunting rats." Was the highlight of the HOA meeting.

Posted by: Rillion at March 7, 2012 3:17 PM

Also the ad placement software has this thread nailed, 5 of the 7 ads on the right are for exterminators/pest contorl.

Posted by: Rillion at March 7, 2012 3:19 PM

We had a couple of bird feeders in our yard and on our roof deck, until we noticed that something had eaten all the rind off a lemon tree on the deck. Yes roof rats, apparently attracted by all the food. Put out the poison bait blocks (bad, I know, but there aren't really any hawks, dogs or kids in our area to worry about). For three days they munched on those things like they were candy, then never came back. Needless to say, the birds now have to fend for themselves!

Posted by: orvr at March 7, 2012 3:36 PM

"There are devices you can buy which emit high frequency noises that deter rodents and roaches. Has anybody had luck with these?"

I've never tried one and have only heard neutral or negative things about them. Maybe they work but just not in my neighborhood. One downside is that their high pitched squeal annoys some people.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 7, 2012 3:38 PM

Personally, I have had no luck with the high frequency devices. The black boxes with the poison work for rats, but there are a lot of problems. For one thing, raccoons love the bait, and raccoons are strong enough and smart enough to tip over the bait boxes and get to the poison. So, you have to hide them and/or weigh them down so only the rats can get them. I put cement blocks on top of mine, and that keeps the raccoons away. However, success in one area causes problems in another. I did this in a multi-unit property I own, and all of a sudden there was a dead rat right in front of my tenants' doors every other day for about a week. I don't know why rats have to die right in front of the door -- couldn't they go off in the bushes somewhere??

And, nothing works better than old-fashioned snap traps -- but then you have to deal with that. Not my favorite....

Anyway, I could keep going -- but isn't this a real estate site? Sorry if I started this thread -- I didn't mean to -- does that give me the right to end it as well?? ;-) If so, I declare the subject of roof rats ended!!

Posted by: sf builder at March 7, 2012 6:34 PM

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