What problems do rats and mice cause?
Rats and mice can both carry parasites or diseases that are harmful to humans. Additionally, hantavirus has been found to be carried by deer mice, but cases in Utah are rare. Rats and mice can also cause structural damage to buildings and often contribute to poor sanitation.
What should I do if I see rats and mice on my property?
Both rats and mice are generally active at dusk. If you see them during the day it may indicate that there is a large population. There are many things you can do to help control rat and mice problems.
- Identify damage to homes or structures and close all openings. Any opening larger than ¼”, roughly the diameter of a pencil, creates the potential for a mouse to enter. Use materials that cannot be easily gnawed through such as concrete, metal, and hardware cloth to fill holes.
- Remove vegetation and debris around structures and keep buildings and yards clean and free of clutter or waste. Keep all garbage areas clean with proper fitting lids.
- Pick up all animal waste daily and clean up any excess food after feeding. Keep all animal food secure in the home or in metal containers with tight fitting lids.
- Eliminate any water sources. They only need three teaspoons of water per day to live.
- Set up mechanical traps or bait stations, or contact a licensed pest controller.
- Always wear gloves when removing rodents from traps or touching rodent, dead or alive.
What assistance can the health department provide me?
If you notice that rats are a problem in your neighborhood, the health department can provide assistance by distributing letters to all the homes in your area. This letter notifies residents that rats have been seen in your neighborhood and gives background information on the factors that attract rats. This letter also provides residents with recommendations they can follow to eliminate and discourage rats from their property.