Rodents & Pests

Rats, mice, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas can all carry serious diseases. Other pests, such as cockroaches and bed bugs, can be serious nuisances. If the infestation is in a residential, hotel, or motel you will need to report the problem to DSHS or city code enforcement department.

Please note that the Health District does not have a pest control program and does not take pest complaints, unless it is a food establishment.  

BatsBats are a common sight to see in Central Texas, and not all bats are carrying diseases. 

Rabies exposure occurs only when a person is bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal, or when abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes are contaminated with the saliva, brain, or nervous system tissue of a potentially rabid animal.

It may take several weeks or longer for people to show symptoms after being infected with rabies. The early signs of rabies can be fever or headache, but this changes quickly to nervous system signs such as confusion, sleepiness, or agitation. Once someone with a rabies infection starts having these symptoms, that person usually does not survive. This is why it is critical to talk to your doctor or health care provider right away if any animal bites you, especially a wild animal.

Read more about the Mexican free-tailed bat, also known as the Brazilian free-tailed bat.
Read more about bats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

REPORTING:  If you come across an alive bat, leave it alone and do not disturb it. If you find a dead bat, do not touch it, and call animal control. 
Bed BugsWhen a bed bug infestation is discovered there is multiple methods for controlling it. Be aware that it will take time and patience; there is no quick fix for eradication. There are both chemical and non-chemical approaches are available. 

Read more about preparing a strategy to eradicate bed bugs in your home from US Environmental Protection Agency
Read more about Bed Bugs in Texas from DSHS Public Health Sanitation Program.

REPORTING:
If you are a renter of residential housing, you will need to notify your landlord. If you are staying at a hotel/motel, notify the front desk of the situation. If the problem is not resolved, report to city code enforcement. Bed bugs found in a personal home, consult a pest company for the best plan of action.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches and their droppings may trigger an asthma attack. Their feces, saliva, eggs, and outer covering, or cuticles left behind on surfaces contain substances that are allergenic to humans, especially those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Within and on the surface of their bodies, cockroaches carry bacteria that can cause salmonella, staphlylococcus and streptococus if deposited in food. Additionally, cockroach feces, skin shedding, and saliva can cause asthma and allergies, especially in children.

Visit the US Environmental Protection Agency to prepare a strategy to eradicate cockroaches in your home.

REPORTING: If you are a renter of residential housing, you will need to notify your landlord. If you are staying at a hotel/motel, notify the front desk of the situation. If the problem is not resolved, report to city code enforcement. For homeowners, contact a pest control company for the best plan of action.

Rodents
Rodents, particularly rats, are responsible for a substantial amount of property damage and may transmit diseases, such as Murine typhus, plague, salmonellosis, trichinosis, leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever.


PREVENTION OF RODENTS:
Rats and mice are attracted by trash piles, open garbage cans, pet food, and pet manure (poop). Quick fixes like traps may help, but long-term changes throughout your neighborhood are best:

  • Eliminate food sources such as compost piles or outside pet food. Bird feeders should be on poles and seed in trays that rats can't reach. If a squirrel can reach the bird feeder, so can a rat.
  • Keep garbage can lids closed tightly.
  • Pick up fruits and vegetables in your yard.
  • Remove shelters such as woodpiles, bushes, vines, tall grasses, rockeries, old furniture, appliances, and junk.
  • Rat-proof your basement and sheds by sealing holes or other openings.
  • Kill rats when necessary to reduce the population.
Read more about managing rats and mice from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

REPORTING: If you are a renter of residential housing, you will need to notify your landlord. If you are staying at a hotel/motel, notify the front desk of the situation. If the problem is not resolved, report to city code enforcement. Use tips from above if rodents found in a personal home. Report to city code enforcement if the problem persists.

SnakesSnakes are very specialized animals and have an important role in our environment. Most snakes are non-poisonous and help control rodent and insect populations. There are many different kinds of snakes in Texas, but only venomous snakes are rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.), copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix), cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus), and coral snakes (Micrurus spp.)  should be avoided. Snakes cannot tolerate extreme cold and will normally hibernate during the winter months, usually emerging from their dens in late February or early March. Snakes are most active at night and during early morning and late evening hours.

Read more about how to identify non-venomous and venomous. 
Read more about snake bite first aid. 

REPORTING: If you find a snake, do not handle the snake and leave it alone. If the snake is a venomous snake contact animal control for removal. If bitten by a venomous snake seek medical care immediately. To help with medical treatment,  take a photograph of the snake if you are able to.