Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rodent Incursion

We used to have pet rats.We haven't had them for over two years though.

Now we have vermin rats. First I noticed black things in the garage that I could immediately identify as rat poop. (Pet rats live in cages, not the garage.) Not a good sign.

At night, usually close to midnight, I would hear gnawing sounds from the direction of the garage.

By day I could see no obvious signs of nests in the garage.

Then we started hearing them in the ceiling above the master bedroom (which is on the first floor in our house). They were BETWEEN THE FLOORS. Ugh. Rodents chew on things and if they get into the walls they could start chewing up electrical things causing even more problems.

Our pest service guy was due to stop by in a couple of days --- we have regular service to keep the ants out --- and I called in advance to make sure he brought some traps to set.

He set two in the garage and one in the crawl space, baiting them with peanut butter. (Pops, who has a rodent problem of his own, shook his head and said salami is the best bait. He has caught at least 18 rats in his house in the last six or seven months so he should know.)

Nothing happened for the first few days. Then CPA Boy and Thor went to Oakland for a baseball game one night. I was reading in bed when I heard a trap snap. I guess days-old peanut butter was good enough for our vermin rodents.

Of COURSE it happened when I was home alone at night!

I texted the guys to let them know and CPA Boy texted back, "Wait for the other one". And yep, about 40 minutes later the other one snapped.

The guys checked when they got home and we had two dead rats in traps. (We decided, wisely, not to take pictures of any of this. You're welcome.)

CPA Boy reset the traps in the garage after removing the bodies. He mentioned putting the bodies in the freezer so we could show Pest Control Guy. I'm all, "You put those dead rats in my freezer and you're buying me a new freezer!" Pest Control Guy KNOWS what rats look like!

One of the garage traps snapped the next day and CPA Boy went to remove the rat from it.


CPA Boy is still traumatized!

The rat was small enough to get in all the way before the trap snapped so it was stuck without having been injured. It ran off into a hole under the heater/water heater location.

We haven't heard any more gnawing or crawling noises since --- it's summer and they are happy to stay outside for now --- but they are still obviously able to get into the garage and the house walls.

We had an inspection to figure out where they were gaining entry and the guys are here today doing the work necessary to close it all up. They will also clean up all the rat poop.

We have a large jetted tub in the master bathroom. No one uses it because you can't use bubble bath in it (will gunk up the jets, apparently) and its size does not match the volume of our water heater so you really can't fill it up that much.

Anyway, on the side of the tub is a small door to get access to the jet works. During the inspection the guy opened it up and the volume of rodent poop was HUGE. The rodents were basically getting in the underside of the tub from the crawl space. GROSS. This is where the gnawing sounds that I thought were coming from the garage were actually coming from!

Meanwhile, because we had some electrical work done a couple of months ago, we had the non-functioning intercom system removed from the house. This has left holes in the walls of almost every room in the house. Since we knew the rodents were getting in between floors we thought they could access the walls too and might get into the main house area that way.

So we have attractively covered up each hole with copy paper and packing tape. If the paper is broken we will know if something came through. So far, nothing. Thank goodness.

Attractive wall coverup. (Waverly Wombat says "Hello!")

[These holes will be repaired once the rest of the electrical work is finished.]

We live next to a golf course that has closed. The owner has basically decided to let it go to seed rather than sell it to someone else. (It's a big local issue and our neighborhood is up in arms about it.) We also had a record rainy season this past winter and spring. The wild conditions of the golf course have meant the rodent population is booming. The rain meant they needed to find shelter indoors. Most homes in the neighborhood have been experiencing the same thing.

The rodent exclusion guy just said they got another big rat in the trap set under the house. I will be so glad when the invasion is over, both rodents and people crawling under the house. But mostly rodents.

Pet rats good.

Vermin rats bad!