Rodent Control FAQ's

What evidence might I see if rats are on my property?

You would likely see burrows, droppings, holes, and/or runways.  Burrows are holes in dirt or concrete from one to four inches wide, with smooth edges.  They can be found under bushes and plants and along foundations or walls. Droppings are often found close to garbage; if they are moist and dark it is a sign that rats are active in the area.  Holes and gnaw marks might be seen on plastic barrels.  Runways are paths create by rats from constant back and forth movement that are dark, greasy track marks.


I have seen rats (or mice) in my home or yard. Who should I call?

If you notice any evidence of rodent activity on your property, contact a professional exterminator to properly eradicate the issue.  Exterminators can be found in the local phone book or online.

Who do I contact with concerns about rodents or sanitation issues on a private property?

Inspectional Services is responsible for enforcement of the State Sanitary Code, which covers sanitation violations on private property.  To request more information or enforcement in either of these locations, please email or call Inspectional Services at 617. 349.6100.

What responsibility do landlords have to provide trash cans?

The property owner must supply an ample amount of the proper type of trash receptacles for all tenants.  The proper type of trash receptacle is in good condition, has no holes or cracks, has a lid, and is water tight.

How can tenants help prevent rodent problems?

It is the occupant's responsibility to use receptacles properly,  to keep receptacles covered at all times, and to notify the property owner if the receptacle becomes cracked, broken, or loses its cover.

Who should I contact if I see rats on public property (in a park or square, in a road side catch basin, or in association with public construction or rubbish on the sidewalk)?

Public Works conducts inspections of rubbish and recycling improperly set out on the sidewalk.  Public Works is also responsible for rodents in public parks and squares, public buildings, and associated with construction on public property.  To request more information or enforcement related to these locations, please e-mail or call us at 617.349.4800.

How can I prevent rats from becoming a problem on my property?

To control rats you must remove everything they need to survive: food, water, shelter, and ways to get around.  Good sanitation helps eliminate a food source.  Store and deposit trash in receptacles properly.  Eliminate breeding areas by keeping vegetation short and neat and don't  allow debris to accumulate on your property.

To learn more, visit the What You Can Do section of our rodent control website.

Who can I contact about an unsanitary or poorly maintained dumpster?

Inspectional Services is responsible for enforcement of the City's Dumpster Ordinance.  To request more information or enforcement in either of these locations, please email or call Inspectional Services at 617.349.6100.

Will the construction I see in my neighborhood increase rodent problems?

Construction doesn't have to lead to rats, and Cambridge is committed to preventing increases in rodent activity during construction projects to the greatest extent possible.

Rodents are usually not disturbed by routine road and sidewalk work, but by extensive demolition or excavation.  The City requires that a rodent control protocol be established prior to approval of demolition and building permits involving excavation.  All Public Works contracts dealing with excavation or underground utilities also include rodent control (including pre-construction surveying and baiting) in their specifications. 

Rats usually stay close to home; they typically go just far enough to find food and shelter.  By working to eliminate rodents in an area before and during construction, Cambridge works to prevent the spread of rodents to other neighborhoods. 

If you have any question or concerns about rodents near a construction site, please call us at 617.349.4800 or email;


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