As rodent populations worsen in King and Snohomish counties, more and more cities are passing rat abatement laws for construction projects. Seattle, Kirkland and Shoreline have passed rules requiring developers to control or eradicate the rodent population when “clearing, grading or demolishing” on a jobsite.

A rodent in a building being demolished

Why do Seattle rat abatement rules exist?

Buildings slated for demolition can be ideal habitats for rodents. Older structures are often full of holes for easy entry. Vacant places have nesting material like insulation, clothing, or furniture. The ideal spot for a rat is close enough to humans that they have access to food (like our garbage) but far enough away that they can nest and breed without being disturbed. That empty house on the block is the perfect hideaway!

When a vacant structure is demolished the rodents explode out into the surrounding neighborhood. Add in the increasing density of King and Snohomish counties and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

How developers comply with the law

If your project will include “clearing, grading or demolition” you must have a pest control professional with a license from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) inspect the property. If evidence of rodent activity is found (droppings, nesting, skeletons, old bait boxes, etc.) you must start an abatement plan at least 15 days prior to beginning work. The plan should extend up to the planned date of demolition. If the inspection reveals no evidence of rodent activity then you’re home free! Just have the pest control company write up a declaration.

Rodent abatement paperwork for Shoreline, Kirkland and Seattle
Paperwork for a rodent abatement plan must be written up by a pest control professional and submitted to the city by the developer

How much do rat abatement plans cost?

Parker Eco Pest Control charges $200 for an inspection. If no activity is found, that’s all you pay.

If we do find evidence of an infestation, the fee is usually $399 (the $200 inspection fee + $199 abatement fee). That can vary with the size of your project. After the plan is complete, we write up the paperwork proving that your property meets the city requirements. You hand the paperwork into the city and proceed with demolition.

What a rodent abatement plan looks like

A lot of pest control companies simply show up and drop bait boxes, then collect a large fee. Parker Eco Pest Control actually conducts an inspection. It’s not uncommon for us to clear a structure as rodent-free during this inspection. We would rather be honest with you and build a long-term relationship than collect a quick buck.

If the inspection uncovers evidence of an infestation we’ll develop a plan for dealing with the problem. This usually requires several visits to monitor activity up until demolition.

  • We conduct an exterior inspection to see where they are getting into the structure.
  • We seal up any holes greater than ¼ inch with sealants, foam or other materials.
  • We remove anything that might be attracting them to the property.
  • We place traps in appropriate places.

Have questions about rat abatement before demolitions? Get in touch!  Call 800-ECO-1698 or email