Roof rat
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

Sun Citians might have difference of opinion about whether their community has a problem with rats, but they all agree residents should keep their yards free of fallen citrus fruit and other clutter that attracts the critters.

Perry Deiwert said rat problems are something all residents need to be aware of and it should be a neighborhood effort.

“This is a problem that everyone has to know about,” Deiwert said. “We don’t want to get any rats started in our attics.”

When he first heard about the rat issue raised in a Daily News-Sun Vent, Deiwert talked to his neighbors about the issue and warned them to keep fruit off the ground.

“This is what the rats go for,” Deiwert said, adding that one of his neighbors reported seeing a family of rats along a nearby fence. “They were huge.”

Deiwert said he also keeps a box of poison tablets in his yard in hopes the rats will eat those instead.

“These rats sure can get around,” Deiwert said.

After the Daily News-Sun published a Vent several weeks ago about rats in a Sun City neighborhood, some homeowners expressed concern about the rodents in their area, as well as the potential impact on property values.

Maricopa County Vector Control received one complaint in February for the Sun City zip code of 85351, said Johnny Dilone, the public information officer for Maricopa County Environmental Services.

For Darwin Fee, a Realtor who has a property listed in the area near Bolivar Drive, between 99th and 103rd avenues, an area specified in the Vent, Vector Control’s numbers represented good news.

Fee said he hasn’t seen any rats in the area and has not spoken to any other residents or Realtors who have noticed them in the neighborhood.

“It does affect property values,” Fee said, adding some of the neighbors were very upset. “I talked to people up and down the street and they had not seen anything.”

With numerous duplexes and condominiums in the area, Fee said many residents have their yards taken care of by their associations, meaning the fruit and clutter that attract rats shouldn’t be an issue.

“Even if fruit was on the ground, it wouldn’t be there for more than a week,” Fee said.

Picking up citrus and any clutter is important to keep rats away, Dilone said.

“The best thing people can do is keep certain fruits up off the ground,” Dilone said. “Obviously, work with your neighbor and make sure that they’re doing the same. Don’t leave anything around, even pet food.”

Sun City Home Owners Association general manager Bill Szentmiklosi said his office receives very few rat reports. Those received come from areas with clutter and when people have not picked up their citrus fruit.

“Every once in a while, we get a report of rats in an area,” Szentmiklosi said. “It’s not a ton, just every once in a while.”

Szentmiklosi said SCHOA has had no recent complaints about rats.

If you do see rats in your nighborhood, report it to Vector Control so any possible infestations can be tracked.

For more information, visit the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department website at or call 602-506-6616.

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