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Buildings or spaces that have been unoccupied for a period of time may be at risk of rodent infestations. Rats and mice are common pests in King County and the following are some tips to help you reopen your building safely. Even if you continued your pest control services during quarantine, you should still take extra precautions concerning rodents as you move back into your building.

Outside your building

  • Inspect your building as entry points along building foundations, sweeps of doors, attics, and roof tops for signs of rodents. Exterior rodent evidence include droppings, grease/rub markings, and gnawed holes in containers or doors.

  • Remove any rodent food or harborage such as garbage, junk items, and overgrown vegetation. Rodents are attracted by pet food, pet waste, human garbage, compost piles, and fallen berries/fruit.

Inside your building

  • When entering the building wear a mask or face covering.

  • Open windows and doors to improve ventilation and wait until 30 minutes have passed to re-enter buildings.

  • Inspect for signs of rodents, including droppings, urine, nests, damaged goods, dead rodents, or a new odor.

What to do if you find evidence of rodents (rats and mice)

  • While only deer mice carry hantavirus, special care should be taken when cleaning up after all rodents.

  • If there are signs of an active infestation it is recommended that you follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning up after rodents.
    • You may need to consult with a pest control professional.
    • Wear gloves for all cleaning.
    • Seal up any entry points for rodents.
    • Trap rodents in the building until 7 days have passed without trapping any rodent. This helps to reduce the exposure to germs in rodent urine and feces.
    • Clean surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner. Use a wet technique for cleaning. If surfaces are dusty, spray them down first.
    • Avoid sweeping and vacuuming to reduce dust.
    • Discard dead rodents by first spraying the rodent with disinfectant such as bleach and water and letting it sit for 5 minutes. The dead rodent can be wrapped in paper towel or newspaper, or placed in a bag, and discarded in the garbage.

Supplies for rodent clean up

  • Gloves
  • Face covering (dust mask)
  • Disinfectant (1 part bleach to 10 parts water)
  • Paper towels or disposable cloths
  • Garbage bags

References and resources