Controlling Rats: Factsheet and Tips
Don't Give Them a Home
Don't Feed Them
PREVENT RAT PROBLEMS
If rats are already present, get rid of them quickly. Rats are not only a nuisance, they also cause property damage and disease. You can prevent rodent problems by protecting your home and property from rodents.
- Do not give rats a place to live
- Do not give rats a food source
- As a last resort, consider using traps or poison (Many local pest control services are available to assist and provide resources.)
WHAT FOOD BRINGS RATS TO MY YARD AND NEIGHBORHOOD?
- Garbage that rats can get into, like garbage cans with loose lids, plastic or paper bags, and litter.
- Food for pets and birds that has not been eaten. Birdseed on the ground, pet food in pet dishes, etc.
- Fruits and berries that have fallen to the ground.
- Compost pile or worm bin that isn't taken care of the right way (do not put meat, fish, poultry, or dairy in the compost)
- Dog droppings
Take a moment to watch this video courtesy of Public Health Madison & Dane County
DON'T FEED THEM
- Dispose of garbage the right way to control rats.
- Never put loose trash into a garbage bin or dumpster.
- Be sure to close the garbage cover tightly.
- Do not set food waste next to a cart or dumpster.
- Wash inside of the cart with soap and water.
- Food for birds must never be placed on the ground or in places where rats can get at it. Provide a rodent-proof birdfeeder. The feeder should be placed on a rodent-proof pole or hung by a wire at least 3 ½ feet above the ground. Feed must be stored in rat-proof containers.
- Feed for chickens should be limited to one day supply or in rat-proof feeders. Regular cleaning is a must. Rats will eat chicken feed and waste.
- Do not leave pet food outside; if your pet doesn’t eat it, rodents will!
- Promptly clean pet waste from your yard, rats will eat it!
- Fruit Trees – remove any fruit or berries that have fallen to the ground.
- Gardens – trim produce plants and keep them off the ground, keep ripe fruit harvested.
DON'T GIVE THEM A HOME & KEEP THEM OUT OF YOUR HOME
- Clean up & Keep up
- Clean up any debris/clutter which collects in the yard.
- Keep sheds, garages, attics, and cellars clean and free of junk and clutter.
- Stack lumber, firewood, and other items at least one foot above the ground or floor.
- Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
- Keep grass cut short and shrubbery/vegetation well-trimmed.
- Consider trimming vines form buildings and fences.
- Remove junk vehicles and park on a paved surface.
- Keep them out
- Cover broken windows and vent openings within three feet of the ground and below grade level. Use 16-gauge, ¼” mesh, galvanized wire screen.
- Cover lower edges of doors, door sills, and jambs with 24-gauge, galvanized sheet metal. All outside doors should be self-closing to guard against them being open.
- Repair masonry around pipe openings and elsewhere with bricks and mortar or with concrete.
- Rats are good swimmers and can enter homes through sewer drains. Always keep basement sewer drains covered.
USING TRAPS AND POISON
- Traps should be placed next to the wall and secured with a wire or chain. The trigger should face the wall and be baited with meat scraps, peanut butter, or gum drops. Many local pest control services are available to assist and provide resources.
- Poison can be helpful in ridding the area of rats. Check your bait/poison daily. Follow manufacture’s specifications. Make sure to handle the poison with care, especially around children, pets, or other animals. Many local pest control services are available to assist and provide resources.
- Dead rodents should be wrapped in newspaper, or placed in a plastic bag before putting the animal in the garbage. 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).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Click here to download our "Controlling Rats" brochure
- For more questions about controlling rats, please contact the Community Development Department at 262-524-3530.