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Environmental Health - Rat Control (Vector Control)

This unit enforces the regulations associated with the elimination and control of rats. In Montgomery County, rat elimination and control is the responsibility of the property owner. Complaints are received and investigated by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Licensure and Regulatory Services section.

"It shall be unlawful for anyone to allow their property to be infested with rats or to be in such condition as to contribute to an existing or potential rat infestation."  Chapter 39 of the Montgomery County Code.

If you suspect that there are rats on your property or an adjacent property, call the Licensure & Regulatory Services section at 240-777-3986.  If rat problems are found, the owner of the property or tenant is given written notice of what the inspection found and outlines what is required to eliminate the problem.  A specific time frame for correcting the problem is established.  Licensure and Regulatory Services DOES NOT BAIT OR PROVIDE BAIT TO PROPERTY OWNERS.

Why Rat Control is Important

Rats are known carriers of disease and when living in close proximity to human, a public health problem can develop.  They also cause economic damage by destroying food sources, stored grain supplies and property.

How to Inspect, Prevent and Respond to Rats

Step One: Look for Evidence

Step Two: Clean Up

Cleaning up and getting rid of clutter is an easy and effective way to prevent rats.

Wash Away Droppings and Track Marks
Rats communicate and attract each other through their urine and droppings.


Get rid of Clutter
Clutter gives rats lots of places to hide, sleep, nest and reproduce.


Control Weeds and Shrubs
Rats are often found in burrows under bushes and plants.


Step Three: Starve Them

Rats only need one ounce of food each day. Don’t make your garbage their food.

Manage your garbage


Keep Food Away


Step Four: Shut Them Out

Rats chew holes into buildings, and can squeeze through cracks and holes as small as a half inch. To keep rats out for good, seal all holes and cracks in foundations, walls, floors, underneath doors and around windows. Most repairs can be done by maintenance staff, superintendents, handy men or pest control professionals. Materials are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores.

Seal Cracks and Small Holes


Fill Large Gaps and Holes


Close Inactive Burrows

An inactive burrow will often have leaves, cobwebs or other debris around the entrance. These burrows should be closed so rats cannot get back in.


Step Five: Wipe Them Out

Rodent bait is an effective way to wipe out rats but applying these poisons is a job for professionals. If you live in your own home without tenants, the law allows you to place rodent bait yourself. But commercial and multiunit property owners must hire a pest control company – it is against the law for them to place their own

Make sure your pest control company follows these guidelines:

For more information about pesticides, call the National Pesticide Information Center at (800) 858-7378.

Certain information provided with permission by the New York City Health Department.