Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District
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Rat Control Program

New Guidelines for Rat Service Requests

Personal / Residential Considerations

Rat Control Program

Q: What does your rat control program entail?
A: Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) will provide a comprehensive exterior inspection of your property.  We will identify possible rodent entry points to your home, make repair suggestions and discuss trapping tips.

We will also discuss practical solutions for environmental management. Removing food sources, thinning vegetation, and properly restacking a woodpile are a few examples of actions that will reduce/eliminate rodents on your property.

This service is free of charge to all Orange County residents. Our program’s emphasis is on public education by promoting environmental management solutions.

New Guidelines for Rat Service Requests

Q: What are the new rat baiting guidelines?
A: The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) shall respond to all regulations mandating rodenticide placement. The use of rodenticides will remain available for roof rat reduction only when OCMVCD determines that conditions are serious enough that population reduction is warranted. Examples include conditions that create a significant environmental disturbance driving rat populations out to seek refuge in surrounding neighborhoods or due to evidence of disease risks. Bait placement will only be considered appropriate under the following conditions:

  1. Pre-construction habitat removal, i.e. Caltrans work, development projects, etc.
  2. Home hoarding cases, pre clean-up
  3. Large-scale landscape projects
  4. Extreme circumstances observed by a public health professional
  5. Confirmed presence of a rodent-borne disease
Q. Why did you stop baiting?
A.We modified our rat control program due to the growing concerns and evidence showing secondary poisoning of wildlife, increased regulatory restrictions, and our steadfast commitment to sound integrated vector management (IVM) practices.

Details below:

  1. Homeowner awareness and participation in habitat reduction and/or elimination is the most effective method of rat control.
  2. Repeated use of rodenticides or “re-baiting” to temporally reduce the population of roof rats has proven to be ineffective.
  3. Direct and secondary poisoning of non-target animals is a threat to the environment.
  4. More restrictive environmental regulations have been implemented due to the secondary poisoning of wildlife:
  5. The current rat baiting guidelines supersede the preexisting documents describing the practices of this program.
    Integrated Vector Management:
Personal / Residential Considerations

Q: How can I keep rats away from my property?
A: All living things, (including rats) need food, water and a place to live. To keep rats away from your property, make sure you follow these recommendations:

  • Keep them out
    • Seal structural openings to your residence and garage
  • Eliminate food sources
    • Remove all potential sources of food from the premises; eliminate bird seed, harvest ripe fruit from trees, keep pet food in sealed metal containers, bring uneaten pet food inside, control snails, and keep trash cans closed with tightly fitting lids.
  • Eliminate shelter
    • Remove and/or cut back overgrown vegetation (i.e., ivy, palms, bougainvillea, and other dense shrubbery), seal BBQs and sheds, and stack firewood at least 18 inches off the ground and 12 inches away from fences and walls. Rats will take advantage of any environment that will protect them from the elements and predators.

If you follow our recommendations but are still seeing rats, they may simply be passing through your property on the way to another property that does offer at least one of the items discussed.

Q: What should I do with the bait stations/ green container? Can I refill it with store-bought poison?
A: Our bait stations require sensitive handling. Please call the District for proper removal of the bait station(s) from your property.

We do not recommend refilling the bait stations on your own as certain protocols must be followed when handling them. Our bait stations are not designed to safely contain consumer bait.  Placing your own bait in our bait station can run the risk of primary poisoning of children, pets and wildlife.

New rodenticide regulations prohibit the sale of loose bait to consumers. All rodenticide baits are now prepackaged in tamper-proof feeding containers.

Q: What other things can I do to control rats around my home?
A: Using snap-traps to control rats is an acceptable, efficient, and humane method of rat control. Wood snap traps are inexpensive and eliminates the liabilities of using poison baits. Suggested bait options are; peanut butter, beef jerky, dried fruit or nuts to attract rats to the trap. When trapping outdoors or in an unsecured area, cover the trap with a plastic laundry basket or similar cover with small openings to keep larger non-target animals out.

Snap traps can be picked up from our office, or any home improvement store.

Follow These 6 Simple Steps to Safely Set a Trap
Snap1 Snap2 Snap3  
Step 1: Securely attach bait onto the Trigger as shown; most traps have a trigger point where bait can be attached (hard bait can be tied to the Trigger with sewing thread). Step 2: Move the Latch Bar out of the way, pull back the Bail and securely hold down the Bail with thumb as shown. Step 3: Position the Latch Bar under the Trigger notch as shown. Next, hold the Latch Bar in place while gently raising the Bail until you feel the Latch Bar hold in place.  
Snap4 Snap5 Snap6  
Step 4: Very important! Release your hold of the Latch Bar while maintaining pressure on the Bail with your thumb. Hold on to the rear of the trap before releasing thumb. Step 5: Trap is set. If it should accidently go off, it would harmlessly snap without striking you. Step 6: Slowly and carefully place trap in desired location. When trapping outdoors or in an unsecured area, cover the trap with a plastic laundry basket or similar cover with small openings to keep larger non-target animals out.