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Cooler weather means the rats are out

People in one Norfolk neighborhood are complaining about a rat problem that comes with the cooler weather. Here's what you need to know.

NORFOLK, Va. — The cooler weather brings out the rats.

They're looking for a warm place to stay during the cold months.

People are complaining about the problem in the Colonial Place neighborhood of Norfolk. Joe Cartoski, a neighbor, said the critters are out in full force every evening.

“It’s nightly. I would say we have at least two to four visitors a night,” said Cartoski. “They love the top of the fence, it's their runway.”

Other neighbors are sounding off about the problem on neighborhood website Nextdoor.com.

Charlie Church, the owner of Getem services said his pest control company is already getting a ton of calls about the issue.

“We have lots of rats all the time, but the cooler weather coming in a bit early is causing these things to start moving around more and people are seeing them,” said Church.

He's seen it all: chewed up pipes caused by rats in the attic and even their skeletal remains.

"The most important thing is probably roof rats,” said Church. “They've really exploded in our area over the past 10 years.”

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On Friday, Church was busy setting down bait stations along a home. He checked the outside of the home for holes and made sure vents and pipes were sealed.

The home has had rats enter it in the past.

“The rat that was in here is a roof rat, it's about eight inches long, the tail is as long as the body,” said Church.

Church said once they get into your home they can lead to big problems.

“Now they're multiplying up there. They're always doing two things: feces and urine,” said Church. “They’ll chew through wires. There are so many fires caused by rats.”

The best thing is to have a professional inspect your home and treat it. But there are a few easy tips you can follow in order to protect your home.

“The most important thing is to find and close any holes, trim tree limbs away from the home so they don't have access, keep your yard clean. It's very important to make sure that your crawl space and vents are sealed up tight."

Cartoski has gone through these steps time after time.

“It’s just a yearly battle that we have to try to capture them alive and release them someplace else,” said Cartoski.

He said it’s the price he pays for living near the water. Church said roof rats, also known as black rats, are common in coastal areas.

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