Insects, Rodents & Other Pests

Rodents and insects can be a big problem for both homeowners and business owners. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit provides information about prevention and control, and public health inspectors inspect businesses in the District – particularly restaurants and food vendors – for signs of pests.


Pest Control and You

Prevention is the best way to deal with rodents and insects, and the most important control measure is good sanitation.


  • Seal outside openings where rodents can enter with coarse steel wool and place sheet metal around pipes and electrical conduits (the electrical piping system that brings electricity into your house).
  • Get rid of their hiding spots through good housekeeping. This includes storing food and other items off the floor.
  • Get rid of all sources of food and water. Repair water leaks and clean up water spills.
  • Use rodent-proof storage containers (e.g. metal or plastic).
  • Pay close attention to handling and getting rid of garbage:
    • Garbage provides rats, mice, and other rodents with both food and water in residential and commercial areas in the city and in rural areas.
    • Wrap garbage in plastic bags until it is stored in garbage containers.
    • Use metal garbage containers that are rust resistant and water tight to store garbage between collections. The lids should fit tightly and have a recessed bottom. Store garbage containers on a concrete base or raised off the ground.


  • Pump out any standing water
  • Control the humidity in all living areas
  • Get rid of all sources of food and water and follow the tips for storing garbage outlined above in the “Rodents” section


Getting Rid of Rodents and Insects Already Present

  • Traps should be placed where children and pets cannot be harmed.
  • Make sure to use the correct trap (rat traps for rats, mouse traps for mice).
  • Be sure to place enough traps in areas of high rodent activity. Traps should be set 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) apart for mice, 7-10 metres (23-33 feet) apart for rats.
  • Rodenticides (for example, rat poison) are also poisonous to other animals and humans. Always read and follow the label directions and precautions. Clearly label any bait that is poisonous and keep out of reach of children and pets.
  • Glue boards are very effective against mice. Mice become entangled in the glue when they run over the boards and then die of suffocation. They are the method of choice in homes and other sensitive locations where toxic baits are a concern.
  • Should the glue from a glue board contact the fur of a pet or the skin of a child, it can be removed with mineral or vegetable oil.
  • Traps and glue boards should be checked daily.


Protect Yourself

  • Use gloves to touch dead rodents and get rid of them in household garbage.
  • Get rid of garbage in tightly sealed bags.
  • Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 15 seconds after handling traps, poisons or dead rodents.
  • Make sure infants and other family members with asthma, allergies or other health problems are not in the work area or in a nearby room during the cleaning.

For severe infestations, contact a professional pest control service.

For More Information

Call the Public Health Inspector: (807) 625-5900

or toll-fee 1-888-294-6630

Last Updated: 13/10/2016