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It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Rats

Environmental Health

  •  239-690-2100
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    Fax

    239-690-2101
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    Mailing Address

    2295 Victoria Avenue, #206 

    Fort Myers, FL 33901 

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    TTY users can contact us through Florida Relay by dialing 7-1-1 or one of the other Relay Toll Free Numbers. 

How do you know if you have a rodent problem?

Droppings are typically the easiest way to identify a rodent problem.

What activities increase my risk of exposure to diseases carried by rodents?

Entering or cleaning buildings that have been closed for a long period of time, such as hunting shacks, garages, storage sheds, or anywhere with rodent droppings. You can get sick by breathing in dust that is contaminated with urine or droppings, by direct contact with an infected rodent, or by eating or drinking products contaminated with urine or feces.

How to Get Rid of Rodents

Step 1: Take Away Their Food

Rodents will eat anything. You must get rid of their food to get rid of them. Common food sources include:

  • Bird food/feeders
  • Pet food/chicken feed
  • Garbage
  • Pet waste
  • Unprotected compost
  • Fallen fruit from trees or unharvested produce from gardens

Step 2: Eliminate Them

Trapping and poisoning are two effective ways to eliminate rodents.

Trapping: Trapping is the preferred method for eliminating rodents indoors and outdoors. Snap traps are inexpensive and effective. Peanut butter usually works as bait. Set the trap in the area with the most rodent activity. Rodents tend to run along walls, so place traps next to a wall, fenceline or foundation. Make sure children and pets do not have access to the traps.

Poisoning: Poisoning is not an ideal way to eliminate rodents, but is sometimes necessary. Poison is not recommended for indoor use, as rodents can die inside walls and produce odor. Rodent poisons (rodenticides) are also harmful to animals and pets, so use carefully. Always use a secured bait station to keep poisons away from children and pets.

Step 3: Keep Them Out of Your House

  • Small openings in homes, buildings and sheds must be sealed to prevent rodents from entering.
  • Check for openings where pipes or wires enter the building, under eaves, and around foundations, doors and windows. Use cement, 1/4 inch steel hardware cloth (wire mesh- pictured), or steel wool and spray foam to seal openings.
  • Crawl spaces and attics must be sealed to prevent rodent access.
  • Rodents often enter through open doors, windows, or through pet doors. Install thresholds to prevent access under doors.

Step 4: Keep Them Out of Your Yard.

Do not let your yard be a nesting zone for rodents. Rats will nest in:

  • Outdoor piles of garbage and junk.
  • Under wood piles or lumber. Stack wood piles 18 inches off the ground.
  • Under bushes, shrubs, vines and tall grasses that are not trimmed or cut back.
  • Holes under buildings that haven’t been filled.

You may need to hire a professional if you have a bad infestation.

What can I do about rats coming from my neighbor's property?

You may want to consider first addressing your neighbor or the property owner on a personal, neighbor-to-neighbor basis. A neighborhood mediator from the Citizens Dispute Settlement Program can help you to have productive a conversation and work out a peaceful solution.