U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Signs of rodent activity

Rodent Resources

Inspectional Services

Rodents are an unavoidable part of life in any city. However, the City of Cambridge is committed to confronting this problem in a variety of ways - by addressing rodent problems on public property, working to control rodents during construction projects, enforcing sanitary codes and ordinances, and educating the public. By working together with local businesses and property owners, we can make Cambridge as free from rodents as possible.

Report a Rodent Sighting

How to Control Rats:

To control rats, you have to remove everything they need to survive: food, water, shelter and ways to get around.
  • Rats only need one ounce of food per day.
  • The most important thing you can do to prevent rats on your property is to control their access to food.
  • Bring trash and compost barrels to the curb as close to pick-up time as possible (7 a.m.).
  • Compost as much food as possible to keep all food scraps and organics waste in tight-locking compost bin.
  • Recycle as much as possible to reduce trash.
  • Make sure you have enough trash barrels with tight lids to hold trash between pickups. If you have tenants, insist that they use the trash barrels.
  • Use hard plastic or metal trash barrels with tight fitting lids.
  • Don’t put food out for cats, pigeons, or squirrels.
  • Put bird food in feeders only, and don’t overfeed. Consider not feeding birds until rodent problem subsides.
  • When out in the city on the street or in a park, always put your litter in a barrel and do not feed birds or other wildlife to help deter rodents.

Things You Can Do Now to Prevent Rats on Your Property:

Rats are a community problem, but the solution is found on each property. The most important step is controlling food sources everywhere on your property, but there are several other steps you can take:
  • Get educated. The City of Cambridge offers an in-depth guide for preventing rats on your property.
  • Do your part. Control food sources on your own property. Make sure that trash barrels are heavy-duty and covered at all times.
  • Know your property. Take a half hour to walk slowly around your house and yard/lot/alley- ways. Look closely at potential problems areas.
  • Talk with your neighbors. Share what you learned about rat control and ask everyone around you to help.
  • Get your money’s worth. The City has tips on what a pest control company should be doing and how to check on their work.
  • Act together. Consider working with other owners on your block to take action together and hire a pest control contractor as a group. You can save money and also get more effective control. If you have a lot of debris and trash, the City can offer some help with removal.

Things the City Can Do:

  • Use ordinances to regulate dumpsters and to tighten curbside pickup rules.
  • Issue fines directly to curbside trash violators.
  • Respond to resident complaints received via SeeClickFix.
  • Use strategies to identify problem areas like area sweeps to tag at-risk conditions, mapping of complaints, and enhanced staff training on rodent behavior and control.
  • Install new public trash receptacles that keep rats out and more frequent trash collection in high-impact areas.
  • Provide baiting/trapping on private property for residential properties with 4 or fewer units as part of the City's Private Property Rodent Control Program.

Private Property Rodent Control Program:

To expand rodent control efforts in Cambridge, the City has contracted with a private pest control company to offer a new residential rodent control assistance program as part of the City’s broader rodent control efforts. This program:

  • Is free.
  • Provides inspection and at least 3 baiting/trapping/follow-up inspections within a 60 day period at no cost to the resident.
  • Is available to residential properties with 4 or fewer units.
  • Can be requested by the property owner and/or tenants.

Both Inspectional Services staff and the pest control contractor will inspect the property and provide specific feedback on issues that should be addressed in order to help prevent rodent activity. More details on this program and the application can be found here. If you have questions or need assistance, please email Rodents@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-6100. A multilingual PDF flyer with information about this program is available in English, Amharic, Arabic, Bangla, Simplified Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Apply Now

Report Rodent Issues:

You can email rodents@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-4899 to leave a message on our Rodent Hotline. Please leave your name, number, address where issues are being seen, and as much information about the issue and possible causes as you can (overgrown plants, improperly stored trash, etc.).

For the quickest response, please report issues online or via the Commonwealth Connect app for iPhone/Android.

Report a Rodent Sighting

Additional Information

Interested in learning where the most reported rodent sightings occur in Cambridge? View the Rodent Sightings Heat Map from the Cambridge Open Data Portal.
Page was posted on 12/5/2019 3:52 PM
Page was last modified on 4/22/2024 5:41 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement

Service Requests

Enter a service request via SeeClickFix for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.