Rodents, Pests & Other Nuisances
Rodents such as rats and mice can carry and spread harmful diseases to people through consuming contaminated food or water; breathing in dust contaminated with urine, feces or saliva; or through rodent bites. People can also get diseases from ticks, mites and fleas that have fed on infected rats and mice. Homeowners, renters, and building managers are responsible for maintaining their premises and preventing dangerous or unhealthy conditions.
Tips to Control Rodents and Pests
The Loudoun County Health Department encourages homeowners, renters, and property managers to practice Integrated Pest Control Management for public health, safety, and welfare.
Remove any shelter source
- Close openings to buildings by weatherstripping doors and windows.
- Seal holes in outside walls around pipes and utility lines with concrete or sheet metal collars. Use 1/4 inch mesh galvanized screening (hardware cloth) on attic and crawl space vents and other louvered openings outside (bathroom and stove hood exhaust).
- Keep grass cut, especially around sheds and buildings and along fences.
- Regularly work yard waste / compost piles.
- Store firewood and lumber at least 12 to 18 inches off the ground.
- Use 1-inch of gravel to fill in rodent burrows around sheds, concrete slabs, and porch steps.
Remove any food source
- Use covered, tight-fitting trash containers, not just plastic or paper bags. To eliminate spillage, put garbage out on the morning of the pickup day, not the night before.
- Clean up vegetable gardens.
- Dispose of fallen fruit from trees and shrubs.
- Do not leave pet food out overnight, especially outside.
- Store dry pet food and birdseed in covered containers.
- If there is a reported rodent infestation in your neighborhood, do not feed wild birds for 2 to 4 weeks. Only use above ground squirrel-proof bird feeders.
Trap rodents that get inside homes and buildings
- Use bait stations and traps in problem areas. Consider hiring a Virginia licensed pest management professional who can provide expertise in effectively and safely using pesticides and placing traps.
- Carefully follow all the label directions and precautions for rodenticide (rat / mouse poison) bait. If you use rat traps, bait the trap unset for a few days, then set the trigger. Peanut butter, Q-tip ends, or raisins work well as bait. Place traps against the wall, flat on the floor, with the trigger facing the wall.
Concerns about pest, rodent and insect infestations can be reported through LEx - Loudoun Express Request. The Loudoun County Health Department will work with the community to find a resolution. Depending on the public health concern, any enforcement authority “granted” to the Health Department may be limited by state and local codes.
Concerns about other nuisances (as defined by Virginia Code of Ordinances, “'nuisance' means anything unwholesome, dangerous, offensive or unhealthy, which constitutes a menace to the health and safety of the public, or any structure which, due to a structural defect or dilapidation, has become dangerous to life or property.") can be reported through LEx - Loudoun Express Request. The Loudoun County Health Department will work with the community to find a resolution. See the public health ordinances for more information:
- Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 648 - Nuisances
- Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 692 - Tall Grass
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Rodents
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Introduction to Integrated Pest Management
- Loudoun County Public Health Ordinance: Chapter 1082 - Solid Waste Storage