Exterminators for Mice & Rats

Parent Q&A

Pest control for mice in Oakland Nov 5, 2019 (1 responses below)
rodent and pest control Aug 25, 2017 (1 responses below)
Help dead rat around heating system Mar 7, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • Pest control for mice in Oakland

    (1 reply)

    Hi there. We're dealing with issues of mice in our home. Does anyone have a recommendation for pest control that specializes in mice that services Oakland? Thank you!

    We used Alley Cat to get rid of our mice problem. They don’t poison or trap. They crawl around and find all the points of entry and thoroughly seal them off. It wasn’t cheap, but we haven’t seen another mouse since.

  • rodent and pest control

    (1 reply)

    Berkeley Hills

    Dealing with ants,spiders and rats.

    Any suggestions for a  reliable and reasonable person to call in?

    RE: rodent and pest control ()

    Suggest you call Burge Pest Control at 888-292-7378 to solve your issues. Located in Alameda, they are a family owned business and I have used them several times for different reasons. Most of the time they had to deal with rats but this month they came out to spray the exterior of the house because we were having a terrible infestation of ants-constantly. After the house was sprayed not one more ant. Good, solid company to call to rid your house of pests.

  • Help dead rat around heating system

    (3 replies)

    I recently moved into this house and discovered it had rats - I'm pretty sure one has died near one of the heating vents- can anyone recommend a good HVAC or abeitment person?

    thank you


    If you live in Alameda County.  Contact Alameda County Vector Control Services.  They will guide you to solving your problem with rats.

    We used Clark Pest Control for  a rat problem. They got rid of them and secured all possible entry points. 

    Look in the recommendations for I think it's the rat guy or the rat eliminator.  He's been around for a long time and it's not some big company that's going to over charge you.  Rats can squeeze through an opening the size of a quarter.  You need someone who specializes in rat trapping and  proofing.  With all of the rains we've had there's going to be an ample supply of food for them and the many offspring they will have.  Rats can cause an incredible amount of destruction including the eating of insulation off of electrical wires which can cause fires in the walls.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Do you know a rat exterminator who cleans up nests

Feb 2013

We have recently discovered that there are rats living in our unfinished basement. They were nesting in the water heater blanket and have left tons of droppings. I saw good advice for how to seal up the cracks/vents with screens. However, the droppings being quite disease laden (probably) does anyone know of a professional company who handles this kind of clean up with worker safety in mind? Need response asap, please! grossed out by Mickey's cousins

Suggest you call Burge Pest Control at 1-888-292-7378. It is a family-run business and can take care of your rodent issues. Good people. Roger

Who to hire for mouse removal

Dec 2012

We have 7 week old twins and a mouse (or probably mice). We know all the things that supposedly deter and get rid of them (the mice) but we just don't have the time to inspect the whole house and block every hole. Traps have not worked at all. I just want to hire someone to take care of it- not an exterminator so much as someone with the know how to find where they're getting in and block the holes. Never had critters before and this is not good timing for dealing with it. Any recommendations?

We had the exact same problem several years ago and hired Rat Patrol to take care of the job. They were FANTASTIC. It cost a lot of money, but the guy came out, set some traps, did a thorough search for holes, filled them in and then came back a few days later (or maybe a week?) to 'clean out' the traps and set new ones. He kept doing that until the traps came back clean (and stayed clean). Once we called him, we never thought about the problem again. It was worth every cent. The guy's name is Garland. You can find him here: http://www.ratpatrolinc.com/ (Bad website. Good service.) Good luck!

I know you said ' not an exterminator so much as someone with the know how to find where they're getting in and block the holes' but an exterminator might be your best bet. Poisons are not their only tool. If you call several local exterminators with your list of questions, you can get a good idea of their techniques.

At my workplace, I worked with Western Exterminator to deal with mice. The guy knew tons about mouse behavior, went through many spaces looking for mouse poop and possible points of entry. He set out traps at the correct locations using peanut butter as bait, and caught the mice. He said he doesn't use poison for mice anyway, because after they eat the poison, they might die in your walls or be eaten by other animals that could then be poisoned. Although he didn't actually block the points of entry (though you may find an exterminator that will do this work), he showed me the entry points and offered suggestions. We ended up installing brush strips at the bottom of several doors where you could see light through the crack at the bottom of the door, and blocked a few other holes, and it was not that difficult.

Recommendation for Rat Exterminator

Sept 2012

Rats have found a way into the space under our bath tub and maybe nearby walls. Gross!! Can anyone recommend a good exterminator? Jonathan

We've used a good exterminator that got rid of our mouse infestation in our house. They set bait that made the mice thirsty when they ate it, and usually by the time the mice got to the water source, they'd die. Burge Pest Control: 510-523-6100 They're also in Yelp. Alex H.

We used Dan the Bug Man and were pleased. After surveying our house and setting traps he also advised us to a contractor to seal our holes. 1 week later, we were rat free and the rat that had earlier set up residence in our walls was 'laid to rest.' It's been a month and we are still rat free. http://www.danthebugman.net/ (caveat: sealing your holes will not be cheap, but will be worth it) Cathy

Exterminator for Rat Infestation

Aug 2012

I am seeking up-to-date recommendations for exterminators for a rodent infestation in our yard and under our (rented) house. This is a major problem and we need a swift and effective remedy, even if it means toxic baits, etc. So please--no judgment about our desired means, just recommendations for those who can do the job. Thanks! freaked & grossed out

Dan the Bug Man (we also call him Dan the Mouse Man) is great! He helped us with rats, mice and ants. (415) 608-1355 http://www.danthebugman.net Satisfied Customer

We had a fantastic experience with Rat Patrol. Garland took care of the problem and it was worth every penny. http://www.ratpatrolinc.com Rodent Free and Happier

I highly recommend Alex Rodriguez with Clark Pest Control (925)462-4052. Initially we were with Terminix but their only solution was to set out & clean up traps weekly. This went on for almost a year with them catching 2-3 mice per week! At my wits end, I started reaching out to everyone for suggestions. My neighbors explained how they had the same issue and that Alex closed all access points & cleared up their problem. I'm happy to say we've been mice free for 3 months now! Alex was very diligent about fixing the problem, and he was always prompt for our appointments. Yeah, no mice!!,

We've used The Hitmen Termite & Pest control (http://www.hitmenpest.com/) for a host of pest problems at our rental home (termites, mice, rats -- the last came with some serious tunneling under the foundation that became a mouse superhighway when the rats moved on). The service technicians have all been great ~ they take their time examining the problem and making recommendations, responding quickly when we needed some indoor traps taken care of. They have also been really great at dealing with both my rodent phobia and my inquisitive child. They set traps for the current problem and also focus on exclusion work to prevent re-entry. I was skeptical about the trapping, but we had much better results than the first exterminator we hired who used poison. The exclusion work has a year warranty. They also do trapping of outdoor rodents. Also...the home owner should be paying for the work...you have a right to live in a rodent-free home! Susan

Rat infestation, used 3 different exterminators

Sept 2011

We have been dealing with rats for two years now. We have used three different exterminators with varying success. So far we have had to replace out heating system and our sewer system. We have done the standard removal of vegetation, water supply, bird feeders and we have had people cement tunnels and holes. Has anyone had success with an exterminator that is actually effective? Frazzled

Your county vector control may come out and do a free inspection of your property for rat activity. Contra Costa County Vector Control offers this service, you might check where you live. You have to stop rats from getting into the house first. Vector control focuses on figuring out how the rats are getting in your house ('exclusion') and gives you ideas for how to fix those areas so rats stop coming in. Then they also give tips for trapping rats that are in your house, attic & crawl space. We had some activity and they found 2 areas outside where the rats were likely coming in. Simple recommended fix was shoving some hardware cloth (a small-grid metal mesh) into the holes to prevent the rats from entering. Maybe they will notice something your exterminators didn't...also they don't have any economic interest in long-term monitoring of traps, etc. Christina

I'm so sorry to hear that you have a rat infestation. I had one too back when I was living on the East Coast. It was horrible. I paid a lot of money for an exterminator and all they did was lay out sticky rat traps, which I could have bought myself at the hardware store. Apologies if you've already tried these methods, but for what it's worth, here's what finally got rid of the rats for me:

1) I stopped up all the holes leading into my house with aluminum siding (wood is not strong enough). You can easily find these holes because rats leave a dark smear on the wall where they frequently travel

2) I located their food source--a city trash bin. I called the city and they baited their bins with rat poison

3) I found rat paths by looking for well worn grooves in the ground. Small animals like to travel along the same paths all the time, so I set out to frustrate them by putting large rocks, cat poop, and sticky traps right in the middle of the paths. Eventually they stopped using those paths that cut through my property.

4) I got a cat, took its poo, and liberally spread it around my yard.

All in all, the rats got the message and left my property alone. I did see them in my neighbor's yard, but not mine, so I just diverted them, but did not get rid of them. Again, my condolences. Rats are absolutely nasty. Hope you can get it resolved soon! --Hate rats too

Yes - And both are inexpensive.

First way is to get a cat or if you are allergic just get cat poop and urine. Cat poop/pee has a pheromone that drives rats away. Unless the rat has been infected with a microorganism in which case the rat will be attracted to the cat.

The other way is to use rat traps. They are very effective. Go to HomeDepot and buy 10 or so of the Victor rat traps. Bait with peanut butter spread on small piece for French bread or bagel. Push the crust into the trap so the rat has to tug to get the bread while eating the peanut butter. Place the traps next to the wall in areas where the rats have been. Check the traps every day or so. The peanut butter will last for month if not a year.

I helped a neighbor with a rat infestation. The rats had eaten the electrical wires creating a fire hazard and we found them living one bathroom under the shower pan and in another under the tub.

The rats around here are terrible and quite destructive and are prolific breeders. ANON

helmut from 'bay area pest elimination' (510-717-3506) just came to deal with a small termite invasion. i don't know if you've tried him, and i have no evidence of his success or lack of it as this was just done this week. but he was very easy to deal with, thorough, and reasonably priced. lotusgreen

Quick note about rat infestations: Please please don't use sticky traps or rat poison! As a volunteer wildlife rehabber, I've seen a ton of birds brought in that were inadvertently caught in sticky traps, and if they survive, the recovery process is long because they have to regrow their feathers. Even worse, I've seen hawks and owls die from massive internal hemorrhaging after eating poisoned rodents. Hawks/owls keep rodent population down, so the last thing you'd want to do is poison them. Cats/dogs can also get poisoned, not just from the bait itself, but by ingesting animals that ate the bait. Rodenticide poisoning is not a pretty sight . Snap traps are the most humane way of killing rats. Add'l info: http://www.wildlife- museum.org/livingwithwildlife/solutions/rodent.php

ALSO, I've heard that Slim Jims beef jerky works even better than peanut butter to attract rats, so you might want to give that a try! Concerned Rehabber

Try Rat Patrol. 888-551-5513 info [at] ratpatrolinc.com Not cheap ($500) but they'll shut down your infestation and guarantee it for two years.

Removal of Rat Poop and Rats

May 2011

I'm looking for recommendations for someone who will remove not only the rats from my attic, but also the decades-deep evidence of their thriving colony. An electrician who went into our cramped and crawl-space-like attic discovered chewed wires, but we can't get any electrician to agree to do the job since it is so disgusting up there. desperately seeking clean attic

I have heard nothing but great feedback about Helmut Tutass for pest problems. I haven't had to hire him myself, but a few of my friends have and rave about him. He's prompt, knowledgeable and thorough. He also responds to emergencies on weekends, etc. Here's his number: 510.717.3506 Good luck! May your attic be clean and rat-free for years to come! Francesca

Exterminaor for Rodents?

May 2011

Ugh, I think we have rodents in our house. We've never seen any out in the open, but a wire and some luggage in the crawl space has been chewed, and I can hear them running in the walls at night. Any recommendations for an exterminator, or other advice? Frankly, I'm not too worried about being humane. We already have a cat, who is apparently uninterested in the situation. Thanks! Don't like uninvited guests

If there is one, and only one, benefit to my emotionally scarring rodents experience, it will be to share my knowledge. There are a couple of things you can do. The exterminator that I have used over the years is Burge Pest Control. They are a great, local business and always available. Ph: 888-292-7378. You can also contact your local county vector control department and ask to have an inspector come do a FREE inspection to help you rodent-proof your house.Also check out their Websites - Contra Costa and Alameda Vector Control Depts. have a wealth of resources. A Contra Costa Vector Control inspector just came to my house - he was really nice and helpful (in addition to the exterminator). overtaken by rodents

We recommend Rat Patrol (510-628-0958) in Oakland as strongly as possible. They did a great job of systematically sealing off every place a rat could enter the house (from the roof, foundation, etc.), and also set traps to catch any that were still inside. The office staff is great, they guarantee their work, and when they came out to our house, they were terrific--always on time and very thorough. If you want the problem solved quickly and professionally, these are the people to do it. Relieved to be Rat-free in Rockridge

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Rodent repellents to just keep them outside?

Oct 2009

Renting in LaMOrinda. Rats seem to be very common. Landlord has done everything to this 40 year old house ''on the cheap'' so actually 'proofing' the house would be WAY too expensive, but as it is getting cooler, I need to start thinking about rodents.

Do NOT want them in the house with me and the little ones, but do not (with a completely clear conscience) support the whole poisoning/trapping thing.

Is there any repellent or humane way to just keep them away from the inside of the house? I already have a dog. Trying to keep them OUT

I recommend you call Contra Costa County Vector Control. They will come out to your house at no charge and evaluate the rodent situation. Rats are extremely destructive. They made a nest in my brand-new car and did $6,000 worth of damage. Additionally, the public health hazards are serious. Vector control will explain how to best deal with them and perhaps they could advise you about your landlord's liability in this. Anon

as i wrote to the person with the mice problem above, the only way to keep rats out of the house without poison is to block the holes they use to get in the house. your landlord has an obligation to take care of this and hire a professional terminator but that might lead to the use of poison. you might be better off just finding these holes your self and blocking them with sheet metal the rats can't chew thru. i'm not a professional terminator but i've dealt with rats in a few past homes. good luck rat in a hat

Seeking snake for rodent problem

Aug 2009

We have a rodent problem due to our compost bin in the yard. There is a huge rat warren living near to it. I stopped composting kitchen waste over a year ago but the rats still remain. I do not want to use poisons (during parts of the year we have an owl living in a nearby tree).

Does anyone know of a source to get a native California snake, such as a King or Gopher snake, to release into my yard? We would love for a snake to take up permanent residence in our garden.

The Vivarium will not sell snakes to people if they are going to release them and not keep them as a pet. Any information or thoughts would be appreciated. Too Many Rats!

Dear Snake-Seeker, It sounds like you have no problem with killing rats. I don't either; I really don't like them at all. However, you are going about it in the wrong way. I don't think any snake will be garanteed to stay in your garden long enough to eat your rats. I don't believe that a snake's ''territory'' is limited in that fashion. You either need to get one or two outdoor cats, which are highly territorial animals and will treat your garden as their domain after they have been trained to their territory (takes one to two months) or buy some simple wood and metal-spring traps (one for each rat at least) and bait them with peanut butter (highly sticky and irresistable to rats). I had a LARGE rat living in my garden and his neck was snapped within 25 minutes, in the middle of the afternoon, of my setting out two traps baited with PB along the wall that I saw him scurrying across twice in the previous days. Good luck rat-hunting. Detest rats too

Looking for someone to get rid of my rats

April 2009

We seem to have rats getting into a wall/crawl space. I'm looking for someone to help get rid of them and find their access point and keep them out. Has anyone ever worked with a reputable exterminator? Any advice? plagued

We just went through the rat situation ourselves (a mom rat and a nest full of babies! Fun!). We ended up using Rat Patrol in Oakland (got the info off of BPN, actually). They guarantee their work for years and they did a great job of sealing off all the cracks. Rat Free!!!

Rats in the walls - worried about poison

Sept 2008

We have rats living in the walls and cleanings (upstairs neighbors floors). There are also signs of them in our kitchen sink cabinet - we have tried a trap there but they seem to know to stay away from it. The traps we have are the snapping kind (we looked for no-kill ones but only found them for mice). My landlord is talking about trying poison but I am worried that our cats catching and eating a poisoned rat! Anyone have successful strategies? anon

Sorry to hear about your rats! First, call your county ''Vector Control'' office. Rats are a ''vector'' for disease. The county will provide a free inspection of your home, with tips on how to beat your rat infestation. Find their phone number in your phone book's government pages at the county level. It might be under ''Vector'' or under ''Health Dept'', I've forgotten, but search the listings for ''vector''.

Next, get rat bait traps to put around the property, available at some hardware stores. These use poison ''bait'' in big cubes with a hole in the middle, so it can be placed on a metal rod within the bait station, preventing animals from running off with the poison. The opening into the station, and the path to the bait within, is small and circuitous, designed to keep out other animals, like squirrels or cats. The station ''locks'' with a plastic key or a phone-wire tie, and is screwed down to a fence or other wood structure on your property, to keep out children.

The vector people will also show you how to place the spring-traps, screwed down, perpendicular to the rats' accustomed paths, inside the house, and advise you to set them at night and check them in the morning, regularly, using peanut butter, tied-on nuts, or granola bars as bait.

Rats can squeeze through a 1/2'' hole, so you must inspect your property and close up any spaces where they can get in, using metal sheeting, heavy hardware cloth (metal mesh), or some plastic spray-in goopy insulation stuff. Check out drier exhaust vents, chimneys, basement vents with bent lattice, etc. Rats climb. Trim vegetation away from the roof.

Don't touch any rat droppings or vacuum or sweep rat debris, it could carry airborne disease. Use disposable plastic gloves and a moist paper towel to wipe it up, double bag in plastic and discard all, outside the house.

If the rats die within your walls, it will smell awful for a while and there will be flies. We sealed off our hearth (in which a rat died) with plastic sheeting & tape, and ran a cheap, used vacuum cleaner from the exterior ash-debris box, to make this manageable. The poison makes the rats thirsty, so most go outside to find water, but we had a nest, with babies.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, so get the vector people to come out, and take notes on what they say! No rats now!

Rats are resourceful and smart (you knew that already). Putting out snap traps yourself might help, but it it's important to find the places where they are entering and exiting your home and to plug these holes. It's also vital to locate their pathways and then to place the traps strategically to have the best chance to catch them. When we had this problem some years ago we hired The Rat Patrol, a firm that specializes in rodent control. You pay a set fee which covers their services for a few years. If rats return within this time frame they will come out again to combat the problem. I agree with you that the rat poison strategy is distasteful and is to be avoided, if possible. Been There

I had this problem, though your sounds a bit more severe. I would recommend against poison because you don't want rats dying in your walls. First you/your landlord have to find, and then close up, any holes where they may be getting from inside the walls to inside your house, like under your sink. You have to use wire mesh and/or steel wool; they'll chew through anything else. Then you have to find and close off all access from outside the house into your walls. I had to close up a big (interior) gap around our dryer vent tube and another around a piece of sheetrock cut to access to bathtub plumbing, in a cabinet -- the rats chewed the sheetrock to enlarge the opening! The next year we had mice -- even worse, b/c they can get into openings as small as 1/4''. Couldn't access the holes to close them up. Finally used snap traps to get rid of a family of 4 or 5. It was awful, but it worked. Good luck! Been there, done with that, I hope

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

We have elusive rodents!

April 2006

We have had alot of trouble with rodents in our home for the past 3 1/2 weeks. Since I have young children (2 1/2 and 5 months) my husband and I are trying to find a safe solution but nothing is working. We've bought Victor glue traps, the snap traps, the box traps, and some black lure disks; we've put the traps everywhere we've seen them, alternating locations, but every morning I still find droppings everywhere, mostly in the kitchen, but now moving into the kids play area and living area. I've even hired an exterminator but so far they've only caught one and I know there must be a bunch breeding somewhere in our home. Some of the traps are even missing or sprung and yet they still get away. Several people have recommended the poison, but I don't want them dying somewhere in our house where we can't see them. And I'd rather not keep shelling out money for exterminators that don't do anything. Help! Sandra

What about a cat? Jill

The first thing to do is to find out how the rodents are getting into the house and keep them from getting back in. We had rats in our previous home that were coming in through the cat door. It took me a while to figure that out, but once I did, I intalled a magnetic cat door and killed all of the rats with spring traps (against the wall with peanut butter bait). I found the first rat living above the dishwasher in the insulating material (the rat destroyed the hoses under the dishwasher) and then more living in our sofa! Several months after the first invasion, I discovered that they were once again getting into the house, this time through a gap in the dryer vent. Good luck. anon

We have had success with two services: 1. Alameda County Vector Control, David James, 567-6816 2. PESTEC, 925-757-2945 Good Luck! Rachael

Get the Rat Zapper. You'll be amazed.

An electronic pest control device will do the trick! It's a little device that emits ultrasonic noise - humans can't hear it, but rodents can and it drives them away. You can find them at any hardware store, or do a Google search on ''electronic pest control.'' Kristine G

Try the Mosquito and Vector Control department in your county. I called the one in Contra Costa (actually left an e-mail) and an expert came out within a couple of days. She spent a whole hour with me, inspected the inside and outside of the house, and made recommendations. We are to set traps in strategic locations, repair all the tiny holes rodents can come through, clean up all possible food sources, etc. Keep some of the droppings so that she can tell what kind of rodents you have. This was free, too, by the way, though she did no trap set-up herself. I was very happy. (Unfortunately, in our case, we have not done all the many things required yet, so I can't tell you if the suggestions have worked or not!) Susan

Rat mites and toxic chemicals

Oct 2005

We just learned that the nasty itchy bites my family has been getting for weeks are due to roof rat mites. our house has been sprayed and now we are working to get rid of the rats in our attic. we've had to move out of the house and it's all been a terrible inconvenience. The pest company wants to dust the house and attic with a pesticide called Drione, but I've read it's safety is questionable. I'm trying to walk a fine line between wanting to aggressively deal with this horrific problem while not hurting my family (and especially our 1-year old) with toxic chemicals. Does anyone have any experience or advice???? Rachael

I would check out ''the bug man'' a columnist in the SF Chronicle on Wednesdays in the home section, I think. He has a website and gives very level-headed recommendations about pesticide management. He usually recommends the least toxic method for pest control and also recommends getting more than one opinion. I emailed him once about a non-toxic bug repellant and he responded to me in a pretty short time. jen

i didn't see the original post, but --in my opinion, Rat Patrol does the best job. They completely seal off the house, set and collect traps, and make sure the house is rat free. They have a two year guarantee. We had another pest control company in before and they just set traps and poo-pooed our theory that the bites all over my and my son's body were mites. No longer bitten

2003 & Earlier

Rat Control

Dec 2001

Ensure Pest Control (415-731-5288) solved our Montclair rat problem 3-1/2 years ago. Like you, we couldn't see our rats, but we could certainly hear them. We haven't seen or heard any rats since. -NORM

Most people don't like to hear this, but the only way I finally got rid of the mice in my house (big field running the length of the block behind the houses) was to put poison under the house where they were coming in. Had to do the same thing to get rid of the gophers (put poison in their holes). The good news is I've been mouse free for over a year and gopher free for over two years. I now have two cats (in the house) that find any moving piece of dust a toy so I am not anticipating any return any time soon of the mice. At least in the house. And I am also guilty of using those sticky traps as well. It was the only way to catch the babies that were already in the house. This was pre-cat so I won't have to go to that extreme again. I have a couple of neighbors who refused to be so inhumane and still have mice problems. They are continuing to try all the humane methods available and continuing to find things chewed up and droppings all over their formally nice clean counters. I really feel for them, but I consider invading mice (especially deermice and roofrats) to be disease spreading rodents and not nice sweet house pets that you keep in a cage, so my conscience is clear on this one. marianne

Exterinator for Mice

Oct 2002

We have a mice problem in the duplex I live in. I called one of the exterminators recommended some time ago and was quoted a price of $125.00 to come out and set out bait in traps and then come back five days later to check on it. They give a three month guarantee. I'm curious if anyone has used anyone's services recently and if this price sounds about right. I have no idea what one pays for this service. Not looking forward to this. I.S.

I full heartedly recommend ''Employ Exterminators.'' Richard has come to my home three times already regarding a mice problem and has also consulted with me about ants and spiders. He is very knowledgeable and honest. You can't do better. Good luck.

HOw to get rid of mice humanely

April 2002

We have a newborn baby at home and unfortunately, we seem to have a family of cute but unhygienic mice as well. Any advice on how to get rid of the mice without using poison or inhumane traps? anonymous

Don't worry about being ''humane''. You and your family's health are more important than a trying to be nice to a few mice. The mouse problem can very quickly go out hand and they carry tons of disease. It is just not worth trying to be gentle with them. elli

For persistent problems with mice/rats getting into the house, the permanent solution is blocking the access that the mice/rats have. In addition to using trapping and poisons, there are exterminators who can help you identify the little cracks and spaces the critters squeeze through to get inside and help you block them. Over time you can gradually close up those holes and hopefully they won't find other ways in. Poison alone will eliminate the vermin that are there now but not the ones sniffing their way down established trails toward your house in the future. I recall a homeowner who was telling me about her experience with this. She contacted someone at UC Berkeley who made a house visit and consultation. Does anyone know the name of the person with ties to UC? It may be a professor.

You can also request the city (county?) to put rat bait in the sanitary sewer (not storm sewer) near your house because the vermin travel through the sewers and the poison is not accessible to pets or larger animals. Lissa

This may be stating the obvious--but have you thought about getting a cat? When I was in college at UCSC, I lived in the campus trailer park, where *everybody* had wood rats (cute silky little native rats, destructive nonetheless). I (illegally) brought my rescued feral cat back from my boyfriends house, left all my cabinets open, and after a few days, I was the only one rodent-free. He didn't actually catch the rats, but would park himself in their pathways and generally make their lives hell; it was easier for them to just move on. As long as the cat was there, the rats weren't. It worked much better than poison or traps.

A couple thoughts, if getting a cat is right for you: o To get a good mouser, you'll want a cat that has lots of interest in playing. Cat rescue societies are a good bet (try http://www.feralcatfoundation.org/); cats that were born feral will have been taught by their mothers to hunt. There should be a cat up for adoption somewhere that's proven good with kids.

o Keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats are a danger to themselves, and can be devastating to bird populations.

o Obviously, you'll only want a cat if you have the time, energy, and money to deal with another new addition to your family. You'll get a new friend, though, which you won't from traps.

A final note: if you go with traps, humane or otherwise, I've heard honey-nut peanutbutter is the best bait ever. Also, those ultrasonic mouse-chaser things don't work for squat. Good luck! Katy

Exterminator for Mouse-Phobic Mom


Can anyone recommend an exterminator to get rid of mouse in our rented house? I am a single mom with a young toddler and a dog and I don't want anything done which could harm them in terms of whatever is used. I am also terribly phobic of mice so I won't be setting or picking up traps myself so I'd appreciate recommendations of local exterminators and info regarding what this should cost and how much time it takes to get rid of them. We live in El Cerrito...thanks so much!!!

Try to contact your Animals Control in the City of El Cerrito. They might be able to help you. They provide free service too. Good luck!!!

Employ Exterminators in Berkeley, Richard REALLY knows a lot about mice, roof rats, and ants! Family business -- we have used them for two years and are delighted - they respond promptly whenever a problem pops up (yellow jackets were attacking us. They were there that afternoon. Ant infestation - ASAP, usually the same day or next morning).

I highly recommend Brinkman Pest Control at 510-530-6133. They are great people to work with and more importantly effective at exterminating a mouse (laying down traps & removing them). I called all around when we had a small problem and they were also one of the most reasonably priced. Good luck.

We had a terrible problem with rodents in a house in the Sierras. Our cat was useful, but the thing that really did the trick was a device my brother bought at a local hardware store that emitted a high-pitched noise that is apparently painful to mice. My recollection is that it had different levels including some that were inaudible to humans and others that were not a problem for pets. We turned it on only when we were not in the house; it worked (continues to, actually) like a charm.

You can call the pest control of your county's health department. I had a wonderful experience with the Alameda County Pest control, the officer came with a thorough inspection, and put several cages (traps) on each openings, he came back to pick up the cages and the mice to the lab for inspection. Then, he gave our landlord a list of repair works required to do within certain days. Your landlord is liable for all the pest related work if there are holds or openings need to be mended.

Humane Mouse Traps

April 2000

One of our much-loved pet mice has escaped and may be in our subarea along with some wild mice: I found a new mixture of pet and wild mouse poops just last night. Does anyone who lives around campus or North Berkeley, or works on campus, have a humane mouse trap they would be willing to loan me short term? (I admit to being one of those who set snap-traps when trying to eradicate mice.) Fran

The Ecology Center (San Pablo at Dwight; number in the phone book) used to rent humane mice traps for a nominal fee (only a couple of dollars for a week's use). They may still have them available for rent. Jennifer