August 2020 - Most people associate rodent infestations with dilapidated homes covered in overgrown vegetation and junk strewn all over the yard, but the truth is that rats aren’t picky about where they take up residence. Rats are just as likely to be found in well-maintained homes with picture perfect yards as those that are unkempt and in disarray. As long as they can find water, shelter and food, rats will survive.
The key to keeping rats from moving in with you is practicing good environmental management and taking other precautions on and around your property. If your yard is free of rodent attractants and harborage, rats are likely to move on instead of taking up residence.
Following these tips will help keep rats away:
- Harvest fruit and nuts as they ripen and pick up fallen fruit and nuts on a daily basis.
- Never leave uneaten pet food outside overnight.
- Keep palm trees well-trimmed (rats will climb trees and make nests in the fronds).
- Trim tree limbs and other vegetation so that rats cannot easily access the roof.
- Repair leaky faucets and eliminate any unnecessary standing water.
- Store wood and lumber piles at least 18 inches off the ground and 12 inches away from any structure.
- Clean up debris piles and remove pet excrement regularly.
- Do not overfeed wild birds and chickens. Clean up any extra seed left on the ground.
Rodents are agile climbers and can squeeze their bodies through holes the size of a quarter, making it easy for these sneaky creatures to enter buildings.
Keep gnawing rodents out of your home by sealing all entry points ¼ of an inch or larger:
- Repair or replace damaged vent screens with 16 or 20-gauge ¼ inch hardware cloth.
- Use sheet metal collars around pipe entrances on wooden walls.
- Use cement fill around pipes in brick, stone, or stucco walls.
- Use sheet metal edging (door sweep) along door bottoms to prevent rodent entry.
- Gaps around pipes and electrical conduit should be sealed, and cracks around doors and windows weatherproofed.
Learn more about rodents and ways to reduce populations: www.msmosquito.org/rats
Download our "Rats: Prevention and Control" brochure https://bit.ly/3hH30xV
The District offers free phone consultations as well as on-site visits when appropriate. During these inspections, our Rodent Control Specialist will attempt to locate rodent entry points to structures, find rodent harborage, identify the species that are present, and provide recommendations to residents on how to make their properties less attractive to rodents.
Please note that the District does not trap, poison, remove dead rodents, or perform exclusion work.
For additional information or help identifying rodent activity and entry points, contact the District office at 707-285-2200 or submit a service request online at www.msmosquito.org