Updated Rodent Ordinance in Medford Sets New Guidelines Rodent Prevention

Updated Rodent Ordinance in Medford Sets New Guidelines for Baiting, Trapping as Part of All Construction Projects, Additional Requirements for Dumpster Permit Holders and Food Establishments

Property Owners Reminded of “Clean Up, Seal Up” Actions to Reduce Rodent Activity in Neighborhoods


City of Medford’s “Clean Up, Seal Up” Campaign rolled out earlier in 2021; new campaign to expand through summer and fall 2021.


MEDFORD – Thanks in part to an updated City Ordinance, the City of Medford is continuing its work to drive down rodent sightings throughout Medford and increase prevention activities in several ways. In late 2020, the City launched a new initiative – the Clean Up, Seal Up campaign – to address rodent control and prevention through educational messages, engagement, and compliance with regulations, for homeowners, renters, and business owners alike. In 2021, the Mayor and Board of Health proposed revisions to the City’s existing Rodent Control Ordinance (#858), which the City Council approved, to introduce further rodent control measures through new requirements for all construction or demolition projects, new requirements for dumpster permit holders and food establishments, residential properties, and street openings. The Board of Health will also continue existing prevention and outreach measures and will work with both residential and commercial property owners on proper trash and recycling storage requirements this summer and fall. 


Under the revised ordinance, any individual or company seeking a permit to do work that involves removing a portion of roadway, or work that involves demolition on public or private property, will be required to submit an Integrated Pest Management Plan that details rodent prevention measures both before and during a proposed project. The City of Medford will also be required to have IPM Plans on file for any city-sponsored projects. In addition, the revised Ordinance sets new requirements for companies or individuals who are issued a permit for a dumpster within the City, and additional requirements for food establishments.


“We know that rodent activity is a big concern for many residents, and we want to assure the community that we are actively taking steps to address sightings and, more importantly, to be assertive in prevention measures. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon issue for many communities, but in Medford we have a strong program that we continue to make even stronger, such as these latest changes to the City’s ordinance,” said Board of Health Director MaryAnn O’Connor.


In addition to the revised ordinance and new requirements, the City’s Board of Health continues to promote the Clean Up, Seal Up campaign to provide important information about how to keep rodent activity to a minimum, including on private property.


“There are many important steps residents and businesses can take to prevent rodent activity as well as address known rodent activity on their property or in a particular neighborhood. For example, food, water, and shelter are attractive to rodents. Focusing on eliminating their food and water sources can reduce the chance of them staying in our neighborhoods,” said Medford Sanitarian, Sophie Antoine. “In order to properly address a rodent issue, we must take a community/neighborhood approach. The city can spend time baiting a neighborhood but if the food and water sources have not been eliminated, the baiting is useless as the rats will not eat the bait but rather the food that is readily available to them.”


Eliminating rodents’ access to food, shelter, and water sources are essential in rodent prevention and mitigation. The Clean Up, Seal Up campaign provides resources for residential properties and for businesses. Encouraged actions include:


  • Dispose of garbage properly; barrels that are compromised should be replaced, and make sure all trash is stored in barrels with tight fitting lids.
  • Trim trees and shrubs and remove overgrowth.
  • Avoid feeding wildlife.
  • Clean pet waste frequently.
  • Avoid having standing water on your property; remove standing rainwater and do not keep pools open and accessible.
  • Keep parks, building foundations, alleyways and streets clear of all dropped or discarded food scraps. 



City Roles & Responsibilities

After prevention steps have been taken, if you still notice rodent activity in your neighborhood, you can report it to the Board of Health for follow up. If necessary, the City will install bait boxes in sewers, however, as a reminder, baiting will not be effective if prevention strategies are not followed on private property. 


“An incredibly important piece of this work is for all of us – residents and businesses included – to be vigilant about things that can provide harbor for rodents, like leaving food and water sources available on your property, improperly stored trash, and grass and weed overgrowth. Our Clean Up, Seal Up campaign is designed to help address these issues and we want to continue to work with residents and businesses to educate and to address rodent activity citywide,” O’Connor added.


Additional resources, materials, and tips are available at www.medford.org/rodent-prevention

to support property owners and renters in becoming more knowledgeable on preventing rodents and rats. 



Medford city services are available to all residents, regardless of economic situation, race, gender, immigration status, ability, benefit eligibility, or religious affiliation.  

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