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Use exclusion and sanitation tactics to get rid of rodents in a safe and cost-effective way.

The most effective long-term solution is to keep rodents out in the first place. Measures such as sealing entry points prevent rodents from entering buildings and help you avoid a full-scale invasion.

Follow the tips in the sections below and you will be one step closer to keeping your home permanently free of rats and mice.

Rats and mice are not only a nuisance but can also cause property damage and transmit diseases. You’ll know they’ve arrived if you see rodent droppings near a food source or shredded fabric or paper. If you identify rodents, there are several steps to take to ensure permanent removal of these pests.

Removing rodents with traps or poisons will not keep rodents out of your home in the future. To permanently keep rats and mice out of your home or business, you will need to prevent access by sealing all possible entry points. It is equally important to eliminate rodent attractions such as food and water by keeping food in tightly sealed containers and repairing leaky pipes.

Common Sources of Food and Water

  • Food in unsealed containers such as bags of chips, rice, cereal, crackers, flour, and other non-perishables.

  • Pet food and water left out overnight or in a bag rather than in a secure container.

  • Fruits or vegetables in open bowls left outside of refrigerator.

  • Leaky pipes or faucets throughout the house.

  • Open trash and compost containers.

Common Rodent Access Points

  • Holes near cabinets, closets or doors leading to outside or crawl spaces.

  • Holes around sink or appliance pipes.

  • Cracked foundations in the basement or unscreened ventilation holes in the attic, especially in older structures.

  • Holes around windows or doors.

  • Missing screens in vents or crawl spaces under buildings.


Once you have blocked the access points and removed sources of food and water, you’ll need to eliminate the remaining rodents. The following sections offer an overview of different treatment options and serve as useful guidance for keeping your home or business permanently free of rats and mice.

Guidelines to Maintaining a Rodent-Free Home

Seal entry points to prevent rodents from entering your home or business.

Be sure to use 1/4" x 1/4" metal mesh to seal off existing entry points.


Look for signs of rats and mice such as rodent droppings round food, kitchen corners, inside cabinets or under sinks.


Remove rodent attractions such as food or shelter by ensuring that food is securely stored and that surroundings are clean. Also, look for nesting material such as shredded paper or fabric. Install barn owl nesting boxes to naturally control rodents.


Outdoor Recommendations

  • Don’t plant ivy — it provides shelter and a food source for rodents: snails and slugs. Ivy on walls can form “rat ladders” to windows, attics and other interior spaces.

  • Keep compost piles as far away from structures as possible and grass cut to no more than two inches tall.

  • Maintain at least a 2-foot space between bushes, shrubs, fences, and buildings. Also, remove tree limbs within 3 feet of a structure or roof.

  • Avoid having a bird feeder since it provides a source of food for rodents.

  • Keep outdoor grills and cooking areas clean.

  • Keep firewood off the ground and as far away from structures as possible to mitigate shelter opportunities.

  • Use city-issue plastic trash bins. If cracked or missing a lid, contact your Department of Sanitation for a replacement.


Promote Natural Predators

Natural predators such as hawks, and owls which help control rodent populations by feeding on rats and mice.

Barn owls and other raptors such as a family of barn owls can eat as many as 3000 mice per year.

To encourage barn owls to nest and stay in your area, consider installing a nesting box. Strategic placement of nesting boxes combined with the use of traps and other preventative measures will go a long way to managing your rodent problems.

For more information on installing and maintaining nesting boxes,

visit the Hungry Owl Project or the Barn Owl Box Company.

Please note that the Hungry Owl Project strongly urges that NO rodent poisons be used indoors or outdoors while encouraging owls to your property. Using rodent poisons will kill an owl if it feeds on a poisoned rodent.

And Finally- PLEASE DO NOT use glue or sticky traps

They are cruel and inhumane and also catch songbirds, small owls, and other small animals.

An animal caught on a glue trap, whether a rodent or a non-target animal, often suffers enormously and for a long period. It will eventually die of starvation, suffocation, pain, stress, and/or horrible injury from trying to escape. Several countries have banned glue traps, for good reason, but the United States still allows their use.

Read more here (Humane Society of the United States) and here (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals UK).

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