Monday, November 29, 2010

Keep Running, Rats!

While my aunty was here, we started sealing up my garage so that the rats couldn't get in. We found a nest and got rid of it, empty, thank heavens, and reattached the warped siding to the frame, with fine wire mesh inbetween in case the rats chew through the siding, and expanding spray foam over the mesh to really hold it in place.

We only got so far, so today I did another big section. It was the second-largest hole and after I was finished and putting things away, I actually saw a live rat, in daylight, mind you, running away and going under the fence into the neighbor's yard! It must have been hiding in the garage and finally saw its chance to escape before being found.

I also took down a small section of fence so that I could access my property that is on the far side of my garage and becomes my neighbor's back yard. This enabled me to access the area without having to go all the way around my neighbor's house and I was also able to run an extension cord out there and use my weed wacker to chop down some foliage that was too near the garage and trapping water against the siding, causing damage and warping. I disturbed an ant colony that was eating my framework and siding so I had to spray and next I'll need to wire and foam that spot.

When I'm finished with this project, I will make a skinny gate or removable section where I took down the fence so I can maintain that part of my property. I'm big into prevention and maintainance to I don't end up spending more in the long run.


Karen said...

You need to put poison in your rafters, or traps. Getting rid of nests and tall weeds is great, but it will only make them scurry to your neighbors' rafters where the infestation will continue, and they will breed rats. :-) without truly "getting rid of them", they will most likely come back to your place next year.
Our neighbor had a rat infestation, and she was able to call the county pest control out to her place to get rid of them. I know you don't like to kill things, but in nature, it happens all the time, that's why they have so many babies, because most of them are destined to be eaten in the wild....but unfortunately, this is not the wild, and there isn't too many creatures that eat them in your area, and so their numbers are out of control.

K said...

I had county come out. They said that killing them won't make a dent because there are so many, but that making the area uninhabitable to them would. My neighbor does use poison but I don't dare because of my daycare kids. Rats eat the poison, which dehydrates them, so they go in search of water and the more sick they get, the more likely they are to come out into the yard where the kids are and I'm not going to risk that. I did see some electronic devices that emit a signal to keep them away, but I need to do further research. For now, eliminating the hiding places and entry/exits is the best defense.

I also got rid of some stuff outside that held standing water, which was like providing them with a huge water bowl.

karen said...

I certainly understand your concern with poisons. We don't use poison for the spiders, and we have a lot around our house. But I have a hard time believing the county that killing them would not make a difference because of the masses. I'd set a lot of traps in the attic and garage then, myself, and check on them regularly. You might not rid them completely, but you would slow down the population just as a cat or other natural predator can and would in nature. Might want to actually set several traps around the property line, where other animals will not venture. Wild rats can carry so many diseases that I would be just as concerned about one of them biting a child outside as I would be about one coming in for water. Also, if you have as much an infestation as you say, it might be considered a health hazard by licensing for daycare, or simply for consideration by the newer potential parents.

K said...

Karen, I don't have THAT many rats! I wouldn't have kids here if I didn't think it was safe. Since the parents live in the same town, they are dealing with rats on their properties, too.

Poison is just too much of a risk to me. The rats, or other animals, can move it into areas where the kids play.

Judging by the waste, I have far fewer this year than last, but even one is too many for me. My entire town wrestles with rat, mouse, racoon and oppossum problems. In fact, a racoon attacked a small dog and then its owner a few weeks ago.

I feel good about the things I'm doing to get rid of them and the information from Country Vector Control (who came out to inspect) was far better than from the commercial pest control man who also came and inspected.