Rodents & Pests

Rats, mice, mosquitoes, ticks and fleas can all carry serious diseases. Other pests, such as cockroaches and bed bugs, can be serious nuisances.

The Snohomish Health District provides information on the control of rats and insects, known as “vectors.”

  1. Rats & Mice
  2. Bed Bugs
  3. Cockroaches
  4. Mosquitoes & West Nile

Please note that Snohomish Health District does not have a pest control program. Snohomish Health District does not take complaints on these issues. The materials provided on this web page are designed to answer basic questions about rats and mice. 

Getting Rid of Rats & Mice

Rats and mice are attracted by trash piles, open garbage cans, pet food and pet manure (poop). Quick fixes like traps and poison may help, but long-term changes throughout your neighborhood are best:

  • Eliminate food sources such as compost piles or outside pet food. Bird feeders should be on poles and seed in trays that rats can't reach. If a squirrel can reach the bird feeder so can a rat
  • Keep garbage can lids closed tightly
  • Pick up fruits and vegetables in your yard

  • Remove shelter such as wood piles, bushes, vines, tall grasses, rockeries, old furniture, applicances, and junk

  • Rat-proof your basement and sheds
  • Kill rats when necessary to reduce the population


For specific tips on getting rid of unwanted rodents, see these resources:


The deer mouse is the main carrier of hantavirus in the western United States. Deer mice are most common in rural settings but live in all parts of Washington. A person may be exposed to hantavirus by breathing contaminated dust after disturbing or cleaning rodent droppings or nests, or by living or working in rodent-infested settings.

Typically one to five cases of hantavirus are reported each year in Washington state. Hospital care is usually required and this rare disease can be fatal.

The best way to avoid exposure to hantavirus is to carefully clean up rodent droppings, prevent rodent infestations, and avoid wild rodents.