DOH Service Telephone Directory
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Using Dumpsters to Prevent Rodent Problems
Mice, rats, gulls, pigeons, and other animal pests can find food, water, and shelter in and around Dumpsters. Follow these tips to prevent rodent problems near Dumpsters.
- Use Dumpsters with tight-fitting lids. Keep lids and doors closed at all times. This prevents trash from overflowing onto the ground, wind from blowing trash out, and rodents from jumping inside. Dumpsters with lightweight plastic lids or sliding doors are easier for children and seniors to use.
- Rats can jump three feet vertically and four feet horizontally! Mice can run up concrete walls. Consider these facts and place Dumpsters away from walls and fences. Place them on pavement rather than soil, because rats like to burrow in soil and underneath large objects.
- Choose the right type and size of Dumpster for your needs, and don't allow trash to overflow.
- Dumpsters sometimes rust along their bottom edges, resulting in holes and access for rodents. Insist that your waste disposal company provide a Dumpster made of sound metal or heavy-duty plastic, and free of openings ¼-inch or larger.
- Rodents can enter Dumpsters through the 1¼-inch or 1½-inch drain sometimes present in the rear wall or side. Ask your waste disposal company to put a drain plug in the Dumpster. If drain threads are damaged, a rubber plug can be installed. Supermarkets sell inexpensive copper scrubbers that can be used as temporary barriers in drain holes.
- Clean under and around dumpsters daily if necessary, and sweep up any spilled debris after collection. Trash tends to accumulate especially under and around compactors. Ask your waste disposal company for a dumpster or compactor that will minimize spillage.
- Clean Dumpsters and storage areas with a hose. Make sure the water flows into a drain so there are no puddles left, since rats need water.
- Use a chain and lock on the Dumpster lid if necessary to prevent scavenging and unauthorized use. Keep chains and cables from touching the ground, since rats can climb them.
Remember: Sanitation is the single most important factor for rodent control. Keep Dumpster areas clean!