Director: David Fiess, MPA Phone: (260) 449-7459 FAX: (260) 449-7460 Email:
Location: 2242 Carroll Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 Hours: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Meet the Staff: Josh Blauvelt, BS, CHHS, Asst. Director; Tom McCue, BS, Env. Health Specialist II; Francis Koch, Env.Technician; Trina Riecke, Lead Case Manager; Cindy Wable, Lead Case Coordinator/Env. Technician; Pat De Haven, Secretary Seasonal Mosquito Technicians

Rats & Mice - Control

Controlling rats and mice is more than just plugging entry holes, setting traps, and putting out poison bait.  The best control is to take away available food, water, and shelter.


The first step is a cleanup program.  Rats and mice find shelter under old lumber piles and stacked firewood (should be stored 18 inches off the ground), piles of old papers, boxes, bags, broken-down sheds, trash dumps, high weeds and abandoned vehicles.  All such areas must be eliminated or corrected.  Any control program without environmental improvement will be ineffective.  These rodents can rapidly restore their original population levels due to their high birth rate.

Interior sanitation also needs to occur.  Once rats or mice are in your house, their population levels will increase if there is available food and water.  Remember rats will eat about anything.  If there is a cockroach problem, rats or mice can feed on the insects.  Clean up food crumbs and fix water leaks.


This means stopping the movement of rats and mice into buildings or other areas where they are not wanted.  Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter; mice can move through a hole the size of a dime.  Favorite entranceways are poorly fitting doors and windows, holes around lead-in pipes and wires, dryer vents, joints between building foundations and walls, cracked siding, and unscreened doorways.  All such openings should be closed using sheet metal, hardware cloth or cement.  Doors and windows should be adjusted to close tightly.  It is also important to have tight-fitting covers on floor drains.

Population Reduction

There are five methods generally used for population reduction:  trapping, glue boards, burrow fumigation, tracking powders, and oral toxicants.

  • Trapping is a practical way of removing rats and mice, especially where poisons might be hazardous and where odors from dead animals would be objectionable.  The most effective and versatile trap is the wooden-based snap trap.
  • Glue boards involve the use of a non-toxic sticky substance on heavy squares of cardboard.  They are placed in active runways.  When the animals become trapped, they are killed and the board is thrown in the trash.  These are well-suited for restaurants and food-handling establishments.
  • There are several chemicals federally-registered for use as fumigants against commensal rodents.  They should never be used where there is danger of people or non-target animals coming in contact with the gas.  For that reason, most fumigants can only be used by professional pest control operators.
  • A tracking powder is effective when food is plentiful.  They work by having the rodent come into contact with it; then the rat or mouse cleans itself; and, the rodent ingests the poison.  Tracking powders should never be used in areas where there is any danger of the powder coming in contact with food or surfaces where food is prepared.
  • There are two general types of oral poisons:  single and multiple doses.  Killing success with single dose poisons depends on the animal consuming a lethal amount at one meal.  Multiple dose poisons have a lower concentration of toxicant.  They rely on several days of consecutive feeding.  No toxic bait is 100% effective.  Trapping is necessary for every last rodent to be removed.  Also, placement of bait inside a structure can cause several problems.  Children or pets may eat the bait and have adverse reactions.  Rats and mice that eat the bait may die in a wall void or other unreachable areas and produce a decomposing odor.


The Vector Control & Environmental Services Division of the Fort Wayne - Allen County Department of Health places bait around a residential structure to eliminate rats as needed to remove potential public health threats.  Bait is placed in burrows or secure bait stations.  The bait is not to be touched by the occupant/property owner as this is unsafe and may decrease the effectiveness of the Department's efforts to eliminate the rats on the property.  The Department cannot provide bait to the public, due to Federal law.

Rodenticides Used

Employees will not place bait inside the living areas of a structure.  It is the employee's discretion to bait in attics, utility basements, crawl spaces, and garages depending on the situation.  For safety reasons, employees will not climb into attics and/or crawl spaces to place bait.


If there is a large amount of droppings and urine to clean up, take great care because rodent-borne disease could be present.

  • Open windows for ventilation.
  • Wear gloves.
  • If a large amount of droppings and urine are present, wear a N-95 respirator mask.
  • Spray the droppings and urine with a disinfectant or bleach solution (1 part bleach per 10 parts water).
  • Wipe up with paper towels.  Throw the towels into the trash.
  • Spray the disinfectant or bleach solution on to the surface and wipe or mop.


The Division will provide a free inspection of your residential property.  When necessary, toxic baits will be placed outside the structure, at no charge.  The employees will recheck your property every 7 - 14 days until the infestation is eliminated.  Please call us at 260 449-7459 to schedule an inspection.



Bookmark and Share

More Articles:   General Information FAQ Animal Bites & Rabies Bed Bugs Built Environment Childhood Lead Poisoning Childhood Lead Screening Children's Environmental Health Protection Cockroaches Healthy Homes Indoor Air Quality Integrated Pest Management Lodging Establishments Meth Labs Mold Mosquitoes Mosquitoes - Biology Mosquitoes - Diseases Mosquitoes - Prevention & Control Pests & Other Vectors Radon Rats & Mice - Biology & Diseases Ticks Unsanitary Conditions Unwanted Refrigerators & Freezers

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to see large image.
  • Trina Riecke, Lead Case Manager, conducts a developmental assessment of a lead-poisoned child.
  • Lucky the Lead Free Lemur is a mascot of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.  He appears at health fairs and other events to promote lead prevention.
  • This engorged American Dog Tick was pulled off a human.  To prevent tick attachment, wear light-colored clothing, long pants with the bottoms placed into the top of socks, and apply a DEET-product to your clothing.  Check your clothing and body after exiting a high grass or wooded area.
  • De-rimmed tires breed mosquitoes and can provide drinking water for rats.  Culex species, ones that can carry WNv, and Ae. triseriatus, carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, use tires as a habitat when in the larval form.  The sun heats the black rubber allowing for increased mosquito production, even when it is cool out.  Tires should be properly disposed of or covered to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • A female Culex mosquito laying an egg raft, which can consist of 200-300 eggs.
  • A blood sample to be tested for lead is taken from a capillary in the tip of the finger.
  • Mold needs water to grow.  Remove the water source and there won't be a mold problem.
  • The American dog tick is the largest tick in Indiana and can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Children enjoy meeting Lucky the Lead Free Lemur.
  • Sticky traps are a great tool to catch cockroaches.
  • Trina Riecke educates a citizen about how to maintain a healthy and safe home.
  • Rats like to eat grease, as can be seen in the pan on the stove.
  • Educating the public on Vector-borne diseases is an on-going effort.
  • Ae. triseriatus, a carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, lays her eggs in treeholes and containers.
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Cockroach infestation in kitchen cabinet.
  • Mosquitofish can be placed into ornamental ponds to eat mosquito larvae.  The fish only get to be an inch in length.
  • Un-maintained swimming pools are perfect for breeding the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus.
  • Double whammy for mosquito breeding - uncovered boat with un-rimmed tire in it.
  • Notice the pop can the rats tried pulling into a burrow.
  • This rat ate poison bait stored in a secure station.
  • Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become infected if scratched too much.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Free radon test kits are available at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
  • Ingredients taken from a meth lab that was found in a house.
Did You Know?

Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States of America (EPA).

Free radon test kits are available through the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health while supplies last. Call 260 449-7561 to find out where in the community test kits are available.