Rat Control Tips


Rats cannot live without food, water or shelter.  You can get rid of rat problems by following these simple steps!


Step One: Rodent proof your home and storage buildings!

  • Check the outside of your house for holes or gaps the size of a quarter or larger
  • Repair all openings using rodent proof materials:1/4 inch 18-22 gauge wire hardware cloth
  • Install metal weather stripping under doors to remove gaps

Step Two: Remove food sources from your property!

  • Keep garbage cans covered at all times
  • Pick fruit, nuts and vegetables as they ripen, and throw away or compost fallen fruit on the ground
  • Feed pets during daylight hours only, and remove uneaten food right away
  • Avoid storing food in garages and storage sheds at night unless in rat-proof covered metal containers

Step Three: INSIDE your home use traps, not poison bait!

  • Poisoned rats may die inside walls or attics, creating odors and attracting flies
  • Use snap traps when rats are inside your home
  • Place traps at entry points, or where you have seen rat droppings
  • Use CAUTION when placing traps around children or pets
  • Bait the traps with peanut butter or the food the rats have been eating
  • Tie down traps to prevent injured rats from dragging the traps away and dying inside your walls
  • Check traps at least twice a week

Step Four: OUTSIDE your home use poison bait!

  • Keep bait away from children and pets
  • Rodent proof your home BEFORE using poison bait
  • Always read the label and follow directions when using poisons
  • Multi-dose, anti-coagulant poisons are the most effective, and the rat may need to feed on the bait for several days for it to work
  • Place poison bait in an enclosed bait station, where rats and their droppings have been found
  • Make sure bait is in a protected area, such as under woodpiles or thick vegetation where rats may be hiding
  • Check bait stations twice a week and add bait when necessary
  • Place dead rats in sealed plastic bags and put them in the trash
  • Move to step five when rats stop eating bait

Step Five: Get rid of rat habitat!

  • Remove all trash and debris
  • Stack woodpiles, lumber and household items at least 18 inches above the ground, 12 inches away from fences and walls
  • Trim trees, bushes and vines to at least 4 feet away from the roof
  • Remove heavy vegetation such as ivy, bougainvillea and pyracantha away from buildings and fences
  • Thin vegetation to allow daylight in and remove rat hiding places

The Vector Control program distributes Rat Control Starter Kits to residents within San Diego County during our site inspection.  The Vector Control program is NOT a pest control company and does NOT provide poison bait. This kit will enable you to control rats yourself and provide examples of some of the material needed to perform exclusion.  This kit includes:

  • Tamper-resistant Trapping Station

  • Rat Control Brochure and Instructional DVD

  • 1 Rat Snap Trap

  • 1/4" Sample Hardware Cloth (used for exclusion)

Rat control starter kit
rat kit

It takes a collective effort to control rats. If they are in one house, they may be present in other houses in the neighborhood. If you have rats in your home, call the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888.


Call (858) 694-2888 or email Vector@sdcounty.ca.gov to request a FREE rat inspection to get your Free Rat Control starter kit. 
Rat inspections are performed on the exterior of buildings and only in San Diego County.

For More Information On 
 Rats Or Other Vectors Contact: 
(858) 694-2888  

 Vector Control Program