Dear Reading Residents,

As the weather becomes warmer, the local wildlife and rodent population may become more active thereby leading to an increase in rodent sightings within our community.

Millions of homes in the United States have unwelcomed guests in the form of rats and other rodents. The presence of these pests can affect the emotional wellbeing of an individual or family, and the health risks of having an unchecked rodent population in a home is far more dangerous.

Rats and rodents are known to be carriers of several types of diseases that can lead to serious illnesses. Mice and rats can spread salmonella as well as carry disease causing parasites such as ticks, fleas, mites, and lice.

Transmission of diseases usually occurs through bites from infected rodent or insect, handling of infected rodents or insects, and exposure to infected rodent waste

Rodents prefer to feed in and around homes, restaurants, and anywhere they can get access to food and water. They will settle for scraps from trash bags and cans, private yards, and whatever they can find within the community.

The best way to prevent a rodent infestation and contact with rodents is to remove the food sources, water, and items that provide shelter for rodents.

What can residents do to prevent rodents from invading their homes and properties? We all have to work together to help control this issue. Residents should follow these three recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Seal Up! Eliminate rodent access to your home. Seal up any holes inside and outside your home to prevent rodents from entering:
  • Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. Prevent rodents from entering the home by checking inside and outside the house for gaps or holes.
  • Fill small holes with steel wool. Use caulking around the steel wool to keep it in place. Use lath screen or lath Metal, hydraulic cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting to plug large holes.
Trap Up! Trap rodents around your home to help reduce the rodent population:
  • Choose an appropriate snap trap. Traps for catching mice are different from those for catching rats. Carefully read the instructions before setting the trap.
  • Position the bait end of the trap next to the wall, so it forms a "T" with the wall. Rodents prefer to run next to walls or other objects for safety and do not like being out in the open.
  • In attics, basements, and crawlspaces and other areas that do not have regular human traffic, set traps in any area where there is evidence of frequent rodent activity.
  • If a rodent infestation does occur, consider seeking the services of a licensed professional exterminator.

** Do not place traps or rat poison where children or pets can reach them **

Clean Up! Eliminate possible rodent food sources and nesting sites:
  • Keep food in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids. Clean up spilled food right away and wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use.
  • Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
  • Always put pet food away after use and do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight.
  • Keep bird feeders away from the house and utilize squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder by squirrels and other rodents.
  • Keep compost bins as far away from the house as possible (100 feet or more is best).
  • Keep grains and animal feed in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids. In the evening, uneaten animal feed should be returned to containers with lids.
  • Use a thick plastic or metal outside garbage can with a tight lid. Regularly wash the inside of trash cans as rodents are attracted to smells. If storing trash and food waste inside the home, do so in rodent-proof containers, and frequently clean them with soap and water. Dispose of trash and garbage on a frequent and regular basis and pick up or eliminate clutter.
  • Eliminate possible nesting sites outside the home. Elevate hay, woodpiles, and garbage cans at least 1 foot off the ground. Move woodpiles far away from the house (100 feet or more is best). Get rid of old trucks, cars, and old tires that mice and rats could use as homes. Keep grass cut short and shrubbery within 100 feet of the home well-trimmed

For additional guidance and information, visit the CDC’s rodent homepage at