Property maintenance as it pertains to health and sanitation is also a concern and responsibility of the Health Department. The overgrowth of weeds and accumulation of debris and garbage are not only unsightly but provide harborage for rodents and other animals. The ground-feeding of birds and squirrels is strongly discouraged as this is also an attraction for unwanted rodents and other animals.
Please survey your property and keep it neat. Take into consideration any unnatural burrows, holes or unusual gnawing marks. Please report any identified burrows to the NWBRHC immediately. The homeowner is responsible for burrows found on the property.
Rats live outside the home: under wood piles or lumber that is not used often; under bushes, vines and in tall grasses that are not trimmed of cut back; under rocks in a garden; in cars, appliances, furniture placed outside and no longer used; in and around trash and garbage left on the ground; in holes under buildings.
Rats can live inside the home: in the insulation of walls or ceilings; inside crawl spaces; behind or under cupboards, counters, bathtubs, shower stalls; near hot water heaters and furnaces; in basements, attics, storage areas containing boxes, paper or cloth.
Foods attractive to rats outside the home: garbage cans with loose lids, plastic or paper bags, litter; food for pets and birds that has not been eaten; birdseed on the ground; pet food in dishes; fruits and berries that have fallen to the ground; compost piles or worm bins not maintained properly (always avoid meat, fish, poultry, dairy in the compost); dog droppings.
Foods attractive to rats inside the home: foods, fats, oils spilled and left on counters, floors, appliances, tables; grains (cereals, oats, rice) and vegetables in cardboard boxes and plastic bags; any garbage that is not in a can with a tight lid.
Recommendations: stack fire wood 18 inches off the ground and away from all buildings; birdhouses and sees should be on poles and in trays rats cannot reach; garbage can lids should be kept tightly closed; plant bushes and shrubs at least 3 feet from your home; keep yards and alleys clean; take junk to the dump; pick up fruit and vegetables on your property; keep compost lids tight; food stored in basements should be kept in closed containers; cover all openings to your house; do not leave pet food outside.
Contact NWBRHC at 201-445-7217, ext 0, with any questions or findings.