Rat Removal


Murine typhus is usually transmitted when infected rat flea poop gets into a person’s blood (pooping during a flea bite or flea poop getting into a cut or mucus membrane – eyes, etc). A person who recovers from a typhus infection generally has lifelong immunity but reinfection can occur. There are active cases of flea-borne (murine) typhus in OC. Typhus symptoms. Symptoms usually begin 7–14 days following exposure. Patients typically present with fever and headache or fever and rash and may also experience: … nausea, vomiting, … Common laboratory findings may include anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, hyponatremia, and elevated levels of liver enzymes. While the majority of patients experience a self-limited illness, severe and fatal cases have been reported with pulmonary and neurologic manifestations.  Flea-borne typhus is not nationally notifiable but is reportable in California (to the CA Department of Public Health) under Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations.

Hantavirus spreads through wild rodent urine, poop, and saliva. From the CA Dept of Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/HantavirusPulmonarySyndrome.aspx

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is one kind of disease that can result from hantavirus infection. HPS is the main hantavirus disease of concern in the U.S. HPS is caused by the Sin Nombre virus, which is a specific type of hantavirus in the western U.S., including California. Although it is rare, HPS can be very serious and deadly. Symptoms of HPS are similar to other respiratory infections, including fever, headache, muscle aches, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms usually develop weeks after breathing in air contaminated by infected deer mice. There is no specific treatment or cure for HPS, and death is possible, but early medical care can increase the chance of survival.

If you have a fever, difficulty breathing, and have been exposed to rodents or rodent-contaminated materials, talk to a healthcare provider right away and tell them about your recent exposure to rodents (especially mice). 


Using a black light flashlight to detect rodent urine and hairs: rodent urine fluoresces blue-white when fresh, fading to yellow-white when dry and aged; rodent hair fluoresces blue-white. The urine will often appear as a trail of dots or streaks between boxes and bags, especially on vertical surfaces, and often including tail drag marks. Best black light flashlights.

In daylight, the urine color ranges from colorless to yellowish-white and light brown. Once the urine stains a surface, its color can be yellowish to brownish with an irregular shape.


Rats (and probably also the cats) are repelled by peppermint and rosemary oil. Cats, with their superior olfactory senses, can detect traces of rat urine from a mile away – so it’s really cruel to make the cats live in a rat-infested house.

Homemade Air Freshener for Rat Odor

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 20-30 drops of pure essential oils
  • Spray bottle

Rats can be smoked out.

Use steel wool or cement to seal, screen, or otherwise cover all building openings that have a diameter of ¼ inch or larger. Use weather-stripping on bottoms of doors.


Yelp: 360 Rodent Control, A Team Rodent (Rodent Control Services), Green Flash Pest Control, Rodent Control, HomeShield Pest Control,

Rat nest clean up video.

After removing a dead rat, disinfect the trap.  Move the traps around.  Try pre-baiting. Cover the trap with a milk crate when there are larger animals in the vicinity.

OC Vector Control: “Do Not Relocate Animals!  (This practice helps spread the disease.)” 

Investigators should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent exposure to fleas, specifically long sleeves and long pants (or coveralls), closed toed shoes, and disposable gloves. An EPA-registered insect repellent should be applied to the lower extremities prior to assessments. If large numbers of host-seeking fleas are found on the property of a suspected exposure site, the assessment of the property should cease until flea control is conducted at the site.

PPE gear: heavy duty gloves, shoe covers, goggles, coveralls, contractor trash bags, respirator with HEPA filter.  Cleaning gear: contractor trash bags, disinfectant, bleach, mixing bucket, pump sprayer, paper towels, mop with a removable microfiber head (that can be washed in the washing machine).

Storage Pods

Go Mini’s of OC, West. How it works. 20′ pod for on-site storage is $79 drop off and pick up plus $299 per month. 16′ and 12′ pods are $259 per month. Other possibilities are: We Come 2U Storage, Storage Valet, Curbside Self Storage, and Lighthouse Self Storage.

There are several companies offering portable storage (storage pods).  They drop off the unit, you fill it, and then they either truck it over to their facility or the pods stays in place as on-site storage until you call for pickup of the empty unit.  When the unit is stored off-site, you can arrange to access the unit’s contents.  Most of the units are metal but a few are metal frames with heavy-duty plastic canvas walls.

From what I can find regarding parking regulations on Westminster’s website, so long as you don’t block the street sweeping or emergency vehicles, you can park portable storage curbside.  If we’re going to park the blue van at the house as well as a storage unit, then I suggest putting the storage unit next to the house, blue van in the driveway, and the other vans curbside (moving on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays for street sweeping).  (Trash pickup is on Mondays but I don’t think that we need to move vehicles for that.)

Cat Boarding

  • Club Cat, Irvine, (cats only), https://www.clubcatusa.com/services/suites/, $69 per night for the two cats (in a shared suite) with a small discount for stays over 30 days.  5 star yelp reviews with a lot of reviews.
  • Cali Pet Hotel, Anaheim, (dogs and cats), https://calipetshotel.com/, $30 per night per cat with discounts for long stays.  5 star yelp reviews – though not many reviews.
  • Cats Luv Us, Laguna Niguel, (cats only), https://catsluvus.com/, $35 per night per cat with first night free for new customers staying at least 3 nights.  Mostly 5 star yelp reviews but their site.  Their site kinda has the crazy cat lady vibe (not necessarily a bad thing).

Ensure that the cats are current with their feline leukemia vaccinations.  Given that rats are not a common carrier for rabies and that the only rabies cases in OC last year were in bats, they don’t need rabies shots.  As needed, apply Comfortis or Revolution flea treatment.  Check them for ringworm.

Flea Eradication

The rats and cats are hosts for fleas. Fleas are the vector for murine typhus, cat scratch disease, and rat bite fever (and bubonic plague). Carpets and upholstery become infested with adult fleas, flea droppings, and flea eggs. The eggs are on a four-week hatch cycle. Foggers are not useful: the fogger is a surfactant that does not get into the fabric and nap to kill the fleas and their eggs.

  1. Treat the cats with Revolution, a monthly topical. This will kill the adult fleas and flea eggs on the cats and in the places where the cats spend most of their time.
  2. Get rid of ALL the rats.
  3. Get rid of the rat droppings (without sweeping or vacuuming).
  4. Move the furniture off the carpets.
  5. Steam clean the carpets and furniture.
  6. Wash or dry-clean all bedding and curtains (and any other fabric items). Dry on high or dry in bright sunlight.
  7. Brush a flea control powder into the carpets and upholstery then vacuum. Repeat as needed.

Cleaning of rodent nests and various surfaces.

Rent a carpet cleaner at Home Depot – Westminster, Garden Grove, and Stanton.  (Home Depot also rents trucks.) https://www.homedepot.com/p/rental/Rug-Doctor-Carpet-Cleaner-95371/316821412, click on Check Nearby Stores.

Dropping Removal

  • Put on rubber or plastic gloves.
  • Spray urine and droppings with bleach solution or an EPA-registered disinfectant until very wet. Let it soak for 5 minutes or according to instructions on the disinfectant label.
  • Use paper towels to wipe up the urine or droppings and cleaning product.
  • Throw the paper towels in a covered garbage can that is regularly emptied.
  • Mop or sponge the area with a disinfectant. Clean all hard surfaces including floors, countertops, cabinets, and drawers. Wash hands with soap and warm water after removing gloves or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Follow instructions below to clean and disinfect other types of surfaces.
  • Wash gloved hands with soap and water or a disinfectant before removing gloves.

Odor Removal

DIY tips. This is the last part of the process. Can be done a room at a time once the rats are gone. Use the black light to determine the location of the urine trails. Clean and disinfect with baking soda, white vinegar, enzymatic cleaners, essential oils, oxygen bleach, and activated charcoal. UV heat lamps?

To clean rodent contaminated areas: (from OC Vector Control)

  • Never touch a rodent, its droppings, or its urine with bare hands. Wear rubber or plastic gloves to handle rodent materials
  • Spray rodents, rodent nests, droppings or other items that have been contaminated by rodents with disinfectant. Soak the material thoroughly and then wipe up and place in a plastic bag. Place plastic bag in a second plastic bag and dispose in the regular trash. DO NOT sweep or vacuum materials which may create dust.
  • Before removal of gloves, wash gloved hands in a disinfectant and then soap and water. Thoroughly wash your hands after removing your gloves.
  • Disinfectants that can be used include a commercial disinfectant or a fresh solution of 3 tablespoons of household bleach in 1 gallon of water
  • Wash potentially contaminated bedding and clothing with detergent and water as hot as the fabric will allow. Use gloves when handling contaminated laundry. Machine dry on a high temperature setting or allow to air dry in the sun.

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