If you live in an area that has been invaded by the evil roof rat, there are a few really simple things you can do to stop them from invading or re-invading your house. I will also tell you how to get rid of the smell of the dead roof rats already in your attic.
The roof rat is the rat that is associated with having spread the plague or black death thorough Europe during the Middle Ages. This spread of disease by these rats and more accurately by the fleas on the rats was predicated on the killing of nearly all the cats in Europe; the rats only natural predator.
They were introduced into the Americas by ships coming from Europe and have done well in the southern half of the USA from coast to coast.
In many cases these rats invade the attic of a house through the air vents in the roofs over hangs or soffit. The vent cover pictured here is the recommended method of covering the vent. However, this type of vent does not prevent bees from invading and building nests in the roof so plastic or metal window screen is often substituted.
The screen vent cover works well until the branches of bushes or trees growing next to the house get close to the soffit. At that point roof rats can and often do climb up the bush or tree branches and push the screen out of the way to enter the roof. After they enter the soffit in this way the screen springs back into position and traps the rat in the attic where they will eventually die from the heat and dehydration.
If there are vents or soffits on dormers and the vents are as pictured or the soffit is made of vented aluminum soffit material, any small animal that can get onto the roof by climbing a near by tree and dropping from an overhanging branch onto the roof can enter through a dormer vent. Because the invading critter is standing on the main roof it now is in a position to push or pull the aluminum soffit material open where the panels overlap, giving an entrance way into the roof. This is also a trap door for most small animals not including raccoons that can pull the aluminum soffit material open from inside the roof.
Remove overhanging branches, and keep bushes next to your house trimmed so that the ends of the branches are always at least 18 to 24 inches below the soffits.
To prevent bees from using the metal soffit cover as an entry way, installing copper screen over the vent hole before installing the vent cover will eliminate the problem.
Preventing roof rats and other small animals for pushing screen covers out of the way and entering, add a layer of quarter inch hardware cloth over the screen and secure it to the soffit with molding or small screws with washers.
Preventing entry through the gaps is aluminum soffit material can be accomplished by screwing small self-tapping sheet metal screws into the overlapped areas so that they can not be separated. You may also want to add screws to hold the soffit material to the L shaped molding the soffit material is laying on.
Dealing With Invaders
If you have an animal trapped in your attic, do not try to poison them. Call a pest removal expert to set a trap and remove the animal alive. Poisoning rodents will almost always result in the rodents dieing in the most inaccessible places you can imagine
If the animal has already died, it will be producing nasty odors until the caucus has completely dried out and rotted away. This process can take weeks even with a 1 or 2 pound roof rat. If the invader is bigger, like a raccoon, it could take much longer. Their nesting materials can also produce very nasty odors for months.
Getting rid of the odor can be a daunting task because the invaders often die in places that are difficult to get to, particularly if the roof has a low pitch like many single story houses in the south have.
Removing the dead animal and any insulation and nesting material is the first step in odor elimination. It should be noted that rats that die in attics often do not build nests but do burrow into the insulation before dieing. Raccoons do build nests because they are capable of exiting and reentering the attic at will. Raccoon and rat nests can and often do have bacteria in them that will infect you and are very difficult to cure. So ware heave duty rubber gloves any time you handle nesting materials or dead animals.
Finally liberally spray the area where the animal died and the nesting area with OdorXit Concentrate diluted 1 part concentrate to 30 parts water. Higher concentrations are not necessarily better. Properly mixed and applied OdorXit Concentrate will permanently eliminate the odor with just one application in just a few hours.