Nationally, woodrats are a minor pest. They only occasionally become numerous enough to cause significant agricultural damage. Their stick nests can be extensive, and their presence including droppings objectionable. Therefore, close association with humans is undesirable. In most nuisance situations, prevention and control can be accomplished by the homeowner.
Woodrats can be an important factor in the transmission of certain diseases and parasites such as fleas. Most notably, pack rats can carry the plague and have also been found infected with tularemia. Their role in transmitting disease is considered minor, although dead or dying pack rats should not be handled with bare hands, especially in plague areas.