Before Event During Event After Event Resources

Before the Event

To Control Rodents

  • Remove piles of trash, lumber, or building materials or store off the ground. These can serve as shelter for rodents.
  • Seal your building, including any holes or cracks in foundation or around doors.
  • Close openings into buildings around water pipes, electrical wires, vents and doors with mesh hardware cloth and/or sheet metal.
  • Put mesh hardware cloth over vent stacks on roof.
  • Store garbage outside in covered containers.
  • Pick up fruit on the ground.
  • To prevent squirrels from getting into buildings, encircle trees and poles with 2-foot-wide metal collars 6 feet off the ground; trim trees to prevent them from jumping onto roofs; and close openings to attics and eaves of houses and buildings with heavy ½-inch wire mesh or sheet metal.

The following recommendations are designed to help residents reduce the risk of disease or personal injury associated with rodents.

Precautions to Limit Household Exposure

Removing food sources, water, and items that provide shelter for rodents is the best way to prevent contact with rodents. Where necessary, control rodents by using an integrated pest management approach that includes environmental sanitation, food storage, rodent-proofing, poisoning, and trapping.

Inside the Home

  • Keep food and water covered and stored in rodent-proof containers. A rodent-proof container is made of thick plastic, glass, or metal and has a tight-fitting lid.
  • Keep pet food covered and stored in rodent-proof containers. Allow pets only enough food for each meal, then store or discard any remaining food. Do not leave excess pet food or water out overnight.
  • Dispose of garbage on a frequent and regular basis. If storing trash and food waste inside the home, do so in rodent-proof containers.
  • Wash dishes, pans, and cooking utensils immediately after use.
  • Remove leftover food and clean up any spilled food from cooking and eating areas.
  • Do not store empty cans or other opened containers with food residues inside the home.
  • When possible, use spring-loaded traps in the home. Use a small amount of chunky peanut butter as bait. Place traps in a “T” shape against baseboards or wall surfaces where rodent rub marks, droppings, or rodents have been seen. Keep children and pets away from areas where traps are placed.
  • Glue traps and live traps are not recommended. Rodents caught in live traps will likely reenter the dwelling. Glue traps can scare mice that are caught live and cause them to urinate. This may increase your risk of being exposed to diseases.

Outside the Home

  • Dispose of debris and trash as soon as possible. Woodpiles and stacks of lumber or other materials to be saved for later use should be stored at least 12 inches above the ground and as far away from the home as possible.
  • Store garbage in rodent-proof containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Store grains and animal feed in rodent-proof containers.
  • Remove any food sources, including animal carcasses, which might attract rodents.
  • Haul away trash, abandoned vehicles, discarded tires, and other items that might serve as rodent nesting sites.
  • Keep grass short and cut or remove brush and dense shrubbery that may provide rodents cover and protection. Trim the limbs off any trees or shrubs that overhang or touch buildings.
  • Place spring-loaded traps in outbuildings and in other areas where signs of rodents are found. Do not allow children or pets to play near spring traps.

Updated June 2017