Pest Control

Rats and Rodents

Contrary to some beliefs, rodents don’t come from a specific neighborhood, entity, or area—rodents require food and shelter, and densely populated communities like ours are more likely to provide these. When it comes to rodent control, everyone plays a role. Residents can remove food and shelter sources from their properties by:

  • Keeping a lid on trash (literally!)
  • Removing weeds and clutter
  • Keeping grass and landscaping neat and trimmed
  • Cleaning up after pets

To learn more about preventing and eliminating rodents, click below to view the City's educational brochure, see our informational PowerPoint, or view our FAQs below.


Are there things to look for that indicate that I might have rats?

The following are strong indicators that you may have rats or rodents in your home or on your property:

  • Gnaw marks on wood, walls, or garbage cans
  • Trails—rats tend to follow the same path over and over, which can tamp down grass or leave tracks in the snow
  • Holes in the grass or ground
  • Greasy or dirty marks on walls, baseboards, or a home's exterior

How do I clean and disinfect after a rat infestation?

The following clean-up procedures will reduce your risk of exposure:

  • Never dry sweep or vacuum a rodent infested area. Always use wet cleaning methods.
  • Always wear rubber gloves, long sleeves, protective eyewear, and a dust mask when cleaning. This will help protect you from contamination, and from coming in contact with potentially harmful chemicals.
  • A 10 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach solution or a household disinfectant can be used to clean up contaminated areas.
  • Dispose of dead rodents by disinfecting first. Use gloves to pick up the rodent, place it in a bag, and seal it. Place the bag within another bag and seal it. Put the bag in a covered outdoor trash can that is regularly emptied.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and dry with paper towels when you are done cleaning. Launder your clothes normally.

Note that these are recommendations provided by the CDC. Remember that bleach can stain surfaces and that cleaning chemicals can be harmful if misused. Always follow label instructions.

I think my neighbor might have rodents—what should I do?

You may want to consider first addressing your neighbor or property owner with a friendly conversation about the issue. If that's not possible, or if you need to report the issue, contact our Code Enforcement department at 248-546-2525 Ext. 131 or

What activities increase my risk of exposure to diseases carried by rodents?

Entering or cleaning buildings that have been closed for a long period of time, such as garages, storage sheds, or anywhere with rodent droppings. You can get sick by breathing in dust that is contaminated with urine or droppings, by direct contact with an infected rodent, or by eating or drinking products contaminated with urine or feces. 

Who should I contact for help or information?

If you have a Code Enforcement concern, you may submit your request online using the form below, or contact City of Ferndale Inspector at 248-546-2525 ext. 131.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) rodent information site

How do I prevent rodents?

Take away their food:

Rodents will eat anything—to remove rats, you must remove their food source. Common food sources include:

  • Garbage
  • Bird food/feeders
  • Pet food/chicken feed
  • Pet waste
  • Fallen fruit from trees or unharvested produce from gardens

Keep them out of your house:

Rats can fit through a space the size of a quarter or smaller. Small openings in homes, buildings, and sheds must be sealed to prevent rodents from entering. Check for openings where pipes or wires enter the building, under eaves, around foundations and crawl space entrances, and near doors and windows. Use cement, 1/4-inch steel hardware cloth (wire mesh), or steel wool and spray foam to seal openings.

Keep them out of your yard:

Don’t let your yard be a nesting zone for rodents. Rats will nest in:

  • Outdoor piles of garbage and junk.
  • Underwood piles or lumber—stack woodpiles 18 inches off the ground.
  • Under blackberry bushes, shrubs, vines, and tall grasses that are not trimmed or cut back.
  • Holes under buildings that haven’t been filled

You may need to hire a professional if you have a bad infestation. The State of Michigan recommends working with pest management companies that use an "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM). IPM focuses on long-term solutions to pest problems with minimum impact on human health and the environment.

I think I've got rodents—what should I do?

If you think you may have an infestation of rats or rodents, contact City of Ferndale Inspector Rachell Garrison at 248-336-4365 or A specialist will be happy to come and inspect your home and property and advise about how best to proceed. 

Trapping is the preferred method for eliminating rodents, both indoors and outdoors. Snap traps are inexpensive and effective. Peanut butter usually works as bait. Set the trap in the area with the most rodent activity. Rodents tend to run along walls, so place traps next to a wall, fence line, or foundation. Make sure children and pets do not have access to the traps.

Poisoning is not an ideal way to eliminate rodents but is sometimes necessary when populations become too large. Poison is not recommended for indoor use, as rodents can die inside walls and produce odor. Rodent poisons (rodenticides) are also harmful to animals and pets, so use them carefully. Always use a secured bait station to keep poisons away from children and pets. When dealing with poisons, it's best to work with a certified and referenced extermination professional. 

Does the City use anticoagulants?

In October of 2020, City Council signed a resolution against the use of anticoagulant rodenticides as part of maintenance programs for City-owned parks and facilities and recognized that the use of anticoagulant pesticides is harmful to our community environment. The City’s DPW discourages the use of anticoagulants and serves as a model in promoting alternative means of pest control on public property. The full resolution can be found here.

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