The most important steps in controlling rodents involve sanitation and elimination of their home sites.
1. Store garbage in rodent-proof containers. Make sure your garbage cans have tight fitting lids so dogs or wildlife cannot tip them.
2. Clean up spilled or unused pet food. Store pet food in rodent-proof containers. Failure to do this may lead to serious insect infestations of the feed that rodents often carry into the walls. Also, clean up pet excrement, as rats will eat it if they have to.
3. Do not scatter food for wildlife such as birds or squirrels. Use rodent-proof bird feeders. If rats are a serious problem, eliminate all bird feeders.
4. Compost piles should be properly managed to ensure rapid decomposition of potential rat foods.
5. Clean up fallen fruits or nuts from trees. Prune seed pods from lilac and other shrubs.
6. Store garden/lawn seed, bone meal, etc. in rodent-proof containers.
1. Employ rodent-proofing features in new buildings.
2. To rodent-proof existing buildings, you should do the following:
* repair any cracks or small holes in the foundations
* repair broken windows and doors
* repair broken sewers
* seal any holes, where pipes or wires enter the building, with sheet metal collars or concrete.
Repair screens and cover foundation vents with rodent proof screen material.
3. Elevate compost, lumber and wood piles at least 12 inches above ground.
4. Remove un-managed blackberries or brush near buildings.
5. Prune ornamental shrubs away from the ground and avoid planting ground covers that afford shelter (ivy).