Nobody likes to see a rat around their home. Not only can they leave a mess with their droppings, rodents can make you sick. Rodents can spread diseases to humans through bite wounds and by contaminating food or water with their feces or urine. Germs in rodent urine and droppings can be stirred into the air and can be breathed in by humans. Diseases from rodents can also be spread indirectly by way of ticks, mites and fleas.
If you have a rodent problem in your DeKalb County home, we can help. Our environmental health staff can provide expert advice, investigate rodent problems and assist with control methods. Click here for a form to request assistance or give us a call at 404-508-7900.
Does your home invite rodents?
You may not have a rat or mouse problem now, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never be invaded by them. All it takes is food, water and a place to live and rodents will make themselves right at home, even in your home. You can do a lot to control rodents by getting rid of their food, water and shelter.
Rats and mice live in areas inside homes such as basements, attics and crawl spaces. They live in garages and storage buildings. They also live outside under trash piles and woodpiles, next to creeks and in wooded areas. They usually come out a night and hide during the day.
Signs of these intruders
- Droppings – Look for droppings. Mouse droppings are about the size of rice grains. Rat droppings are a bit larger.
- Tracks – Scatter a small amount of flour or talcum powder on the floor along the wall where you think you may have a rodent. Put a cracker or piece of bread with peanut butter in the middle of the area. Check for tracks the next day.
- Gnawings – Check your pantry for chewed packages or shredded paper. Any little hole with chewed edges is a good sign you have unwanted visitors.
- Burrows – Inspect areas around dog houses, garbage cans, dumpsters, overgrown weeds and woodpiles for holes in the ground dug by an animal.
- Sounds – Listen for movement or chewing noises in the walls, attic or under the floor
Rat proof your home
- Destroy their homes. Remove trash, junk cars, broken appliances, old tires and newspapers. Keep grass and weeds cut. Store wood and other materials at least 18 inches off the ground. Be sure to check garages and storage buildings.
- Take away their food. Keep garbage in tightly covered cans. Feed dogs and cats in a dish. Remove leftover food and water bowls when not in use. Keep bird seed off the ground. Bird feeders provide an easy meal for rodents. Keep pantries, sinks and counters free from crumbs and other food particles. Store food in containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Close their homes and entryways. Keep doors closed. Cover windows with screens. Tightly fasten floor drains. Cement around pipes where they pass through walls. Seal small holes and cracks with stainless steel scouring pads and caulk over them. Remember that mice can get through any hole that you can put your little finger into. Rats can enter a hole the size of a quarter.
- Close burrows. Once the rats or mice are gone, close any burrows with dirt and firmly stamp it. If the burrow is re-opened, you still have rats or mice in the area.
- Set traps. Use traps inside your home. Poison baits can be dangerous and the rats or mice can die in the walls or attic, creating a foul odor.
- Place poison bait. Poison bait should only be used if it will be away from the reach of children or pets. Contact us to request assistance with poison bait.