Rats & Mice
We investigate reports of rat infestations and provide information to tenants, property owners, and neighborhoods on dealing with rat problems.
When needed, we issue orders to property owners to correct things that are contributing to rat problems.
How to Prevent and Control A Rat or Mouse Infestation
Rats and mice are not only a nuisance, they also cause property damage and disease.
Getting rid of food and places to live is the key to keeping your home, business, and neighborhood rat/mouse free.
Get Rid of Outdoor Food Sources
- Make sure garbage cans have lids that fit tightly and are emptied regularly. Put plastic and paper bags into a covered container.
- Do not compost any animal products (fish, meat, poultry, cheese, butter, etc.)
- Keep lids tight and put bins on a base so a rat cannot burrow through the bottom of a bin.
- Keep bins as far away from your house as possible.
- Throw away fruit and berries that have fallen on the ground.
- Rat-proof your chicken coop to keep them from living underneath, in, or within the walls of the chicken coop. Keep chicken feed in tightly sealed containers.
- Rat Proofing Your Chicken Coop, Backyard Chicken Project
- Seed should be on poles and in trays. Don’t overfill bird feeders.
- Do not leave pet food outside; if your pet doesn't eat it, rodents will.
- Pick up pet waste from the yard and throw it away in a sealed garbage can.
Take Away their Home
- Stack fire wood 18 inches off the ground and away from all buildings to keep rodents from nesting and hiding.
- Cut bushes, vines and tall grasses that provide cover.
- Remove cars, appliances and furniture that have been put outside and are no longer being used.
- Plug holes under buildings with steel wool.
- Regularly clean out sheds and storage areas.
- Keep your home and property clear of trash.
- Talk to your neighbors about controlling rats/mice on their property.
- Get more tips from the CDC’s Clean Up! page
Keep Rats and Mice from Coming Indoors
- Check inside and outside your house for gaps or holes and seal them up. Rats and mice can get into very small places. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a half dollar.
- Rodents can get in your home from tree branches that hang over your roof. Keep trees and bushes cut back to prevent access.
- Get more tips from the CDC’s Seal Up! page.
Protect Your Health
If you think you have rats or mice in your home take the following steps to protect your health:
- Put all food in sealed containers.
- Throw away all food and drinks that may have come in contact with rodents.
- Clean cookware and cutlery before using.
- Wash hands well before preparing food, eating, or drinking.
- Wear shoes around the house and do not sleep or lie down on the floor.
- Contact a healthcare provider right away if you are bitten by a rat or mouse.
How to Kill Rats or Mice
- Trapping is recommended over poisons to remove rats and mice. The best trap is the snap trap.
- Poisons are not recommended because children and other animals may eat the poison and become ill, or in some cases, die. Poisoned rodents can die in hard to reach places, causing a very bad smell. If you want to use poison, contact a qualified pest control company.
- Dead rodents must be first wrapped in newspaper, or placed in a plastic bag before putting the animal in the garbage. Injured or sick rodents must be killed. Try not to touch the dead rodents and use gloves if possible. Always wash your hands with hot water and soap after touching a rodent (even if you wore gloves).
- What to Do About Rats or Mice In Your Home or Business
- Rodents website, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Protect Your Home From Rats, PHMDC YouTube Video
- Rats Unwanted: Four Steps to Prevent and Control Rodent Infestations, Seattle-King County Health Department brochure