Preventing a Rodent Issue

To control rodents, you must remove easy access to the things they need to survive: food, shelter, and water. Like any animal, rats live in a neighborhood because they can find the resources that they need. Removal of these resources is necessary for the prevention and long-term reduction of rodent activity.


  • Use trash containers with secure lids, and always keep them tightly closed.
  • Regularly inspect your trash cans for signs of entry by rats, and clean them periodically to discourage feeding. Promptly replace any damaged barrels.
  • Refrain from leaving food out for birds, stray cats, or other animals. Any food that is available to other wildlife will also be available to rats, providing them with a constant food source and allowing them to quickly multiply.
  • Take bird feeders in at night, promptly clean up any spills, and consider installing a seed catcher tray to prevent seeds from falling to the ground.
  • Do not leave pet food or pet waste out overnight.
  • Compost properly.


  • Keep outdoor plants trimmed so that they don’t touch the house or other buildings. Trim them so that they have a “V”-shape, allowing a clear view of the ground that will discourage burrowing.
  • Remove trash and yard debris frequently to eliminate possible burrowing areas.
  • Store boxes, firewood, and equipment off the ground at least 18 inches and away from walls.
  • Regularly inspect the exterior of your home for holes or gaps that could provide rat or mouse entry, and take steps to remove these entry points as quickly as possible. Rats can fit through holes that are ½ of an inch wide, and mice can fit through holes that are ¼ of an inch wide. Common places where these holes can develop include:
  • Around pipes, cables, or wires that enter into the home, or uncovered dryer vents
  • Basement windows or doors that are left open, damaged, or not tightly installed, and thus have gaps that allow entry


  • Empty any sources of standing water so that they don’t sit out overnight such as birdbaths, water bowls for pets, or other outdoor items that can hold water.
  • Repair water leaks or drips at faucets, hoses, AC units that could cause long-term standing water.

Further Resources About Preventing Rat Activity