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Pest Control/Rats or something else?



Nesting material?
Nesting material?  
We live in San Francisco.  Itís an urban, residential area but adjacent to an open hillside (we have, for instance, a coyote in our neighborhood).  

We recently discovered what appears to me to be rodent activity in a storage area below our building.  Evidence is shredded paper and plastic (fairly large pieces, photo attached) and what I assume are droppings.  The droppings (additional photo attached) include what I believe are rat droppings, based on size and shape.  In addition, there are far more of something that doesnít look like what Iíve seen as on-line examples of rat droppings.  They look like un-ground peppercorns.

Iím assuming our first step in dealing with this situation is to get rid of the pests.  However, Iím hoping to identify the problem before attempting a solution.  I plan to set traps, but assume I should use traps appropriate in size, etc., for the problem (rats, mice, something else).  

Any information and advice you can provide would be much appreciated.

Dear Tom,

I agree that the larger of the two droppings look to be rat droppings, but I haven't a clue on the peppercorn-like objects.

Rat snap-traps are in order. Would suggest you bait several (cheap peanut butter, pieces of Slim Jims, gum drops are all worth trying), BUT DON'T SET THEM. Just put them out in areas near where you've found the droppings - and check them to see which bait the rats like the best. Then, after the rats have eaten from the traps a couple of times, bait and SET them. (This strategy counters the rats' fear of new objects in their environment.)

Please google 'diseases associated with rat feces' so you use proper care when cleaning these areas. And there is a ton of info on the 'net about "rodent-proofing" one's home, which you should do as soon as possible. You do not have to wait until you've trapped out the rats inside the structure to take the steps necessary to prevent additional rats from entering your home.

Sorry about the delay in responding to your need, was away from technology for a few days around the recent holiday. I'll see if I can figure out what those peppercorn-like objects are, and if so, I'll follow-up. If I don't follow-up by June 2nd, it means I've failed to glean any useful info about them.

I hope this helps somewhat,


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George E Serdes


My knowledge is in the areas of structural insect or rodent pest problems. I do not know enough about lawn and garden pests to be of any help there...


I've retired from the pest control industry in Central Florida. I spent 15 years in all areas of the industry (sales, night technician, integrated pest management specialist, service manager, and branch manager for both National and local companies.

Formerly sat on the Florida Pest Management Association's Board of Directors (Region IV)

Retired Florida State Certified Pest Control Operator -

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