rats!

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I seem to have a family of rats living under my shed, and this is freaking out my dearest wife!
Is it legal to buy and use rat poison, or do you have to call in a pest control expert?
Any advice appreciated, thanks.
Steve J
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On 6/10/2010 5:04 AM, Steve J wrote:

Legal in US. Go to store. If they sell rat poison, buy it.
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Frank wrote:

He's not in the US. Your advice is good otherwise.
The rat poison in the little plastic bags (rats eat through the bag) is not only very cheap, it's highly effective. Rats never seem to learn that trick. Funny, as they seem intelligent otherwise.
Jeff
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wrote:

Killing a few rats won't help, other than giving you a purpose in life. So long as the food supply remains more will come.
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On 6/10/2010 12:40 PM, brooklyn1 wrote:

It's not just food; it's shelter, water and food, any one of those can be the attractant, one more than the others depending upon the season.
Rats love to live under wood piles, brush piles, rock piles, etc.
Tossing poison around without one of those boxes to limit squirrels, dogs, cats, kids from accidentally getting into it is just wrong, as are indiscriminate snap traps out of doors.
Get rid of all sources of water, bird baths, puddles, etc... rats need to drink a lot and a source of water is equally as attractive as food.
Find a way to keep them out of the space they're in and to clear up any other potential shelters for them.
I've got the bait boxes around my property (wooded, near town, had rats near the house, never in it) for 5 years, and we haven't seen a rat since, though they're eating the baits pretty solidly.
We rat proofed our house top to bottom with wire mesh (hardware cloth), dryer vent cage, copper mesh and mortar where all the pipes and wires (gas, electric, water, cable) enter our house, attic vents, chimney cap.
Susan
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Rodents will find water themselves, there are always puddles about (they can survive nicely by lapping dew/condensate all night, even from sweaty water pipes/terlit tanks, there's hardly a house that doesn't have a dripping water pipe/tap somewhere) and they can make their own shelter by burrowing... but they must have a steady and adaquate food supply or they'll move on. By all your machinations to rid yourself of rodents it's obvious that you are feeding them.
NYC rats are much smarter than country rats... they'll burrow into a commuter beemer so they can ride from the burbs into the city to have great chow from the dumpsters behind the planet's best eateries and to meet with their homies... then they ride back to the burbs for peace and quiet. But those rats gotta be wary, NYC cockroaches are tough, why they'll pull a switchblade on a rat and steal its cheese. heheh
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.. but they must have a steady and

A rat should be able to find food in any area where a human lives regardless of cleanliness, water or (visible to humans) food. Rats are great survivors and anyone who thinks they don't have rats is probably just not seeing them.
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and just what proof are you using to make such a statement? I've known many of very intelligent rants; all from the country.
Donna in WA
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Susan wrote:

How does that box work? I've only killed them off indoors or in the basement and I haven't noticed *any* curiosity toward the bagged bait from either dogs or cats, not that you should leave it where it is accessible. Can't speak for squirrels and kids.
The Norway rats we have here are about the size of cats. Scary.
I had them in the walls after the house next door burned down. Bait and traps took them out, but mostly bait. The walls are now stuffed with boric acid treated cellulose insulation which is inhospitable to most vermin (the rats were gone long before). There is always the possibility of a dead rat in the wall but I had no problem and neither do I know of anyone using bait having that issue. I think they prefer to get some fresh air and water when they are dying.
My observations are that bait is scary effective for a quick kill off (traps much less so), but you'll want to address the root cause.
Ultimately you want rats to find someplace else more hospitable. All suggestions toward that end sound good.
Jeff

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On 6/10/2010 10:16 PM, Jeff Thies wrote:

The boxes are anchored into the ground so raccoons can't carry them away, have spindles inside where bait blocks are threaded on to them, and holes big enough for rats to get in, but too small for dogs, squirrels, etc. A man comes and opens them with a special key and replacing the missing bait monthly. I have several on my property. Rats are still around, we just never see them.

I think we probably mostly have eastern wood rats, but wouldn't be shocked if there were some Norway rats. They can squeeze into a very small space, though.

You'd smell a dead rat a looooong time, I'd bet.

Yes, the first thing we did was to rat proof our home, there's no space anywhere large enough for them to enter.

Remove access to food, shelter and water to make yours the least hospitable place. I spent a lot of time researching rat control, and that's what I came up with.
Susan
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I would recommend professionals. I fought mice in the house for years, finally hired somebody and the mice where gone in a week. our house is 130 years old, cant find all the leaks. they now come back every 3 months to rebait and havent seen any scurrying around. Ingrid ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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On Fri, 11 Jun 2010 11:07:32 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.com wrote:

That's expensive and and really doesn't do the job.
This is a professional:
http://i50.tinypic.com/1o6tjd.jpg
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brooklyn1 wrote:

Works for mice, but not rats. A cat cannot take a rat that is of an appreciable size. BTW, cats do not usually eat mice, they just kill them.
Had to capture a young possum last night. Cats are completely indifferent to possums. I've seen them lay against a possum that was eating their food.
Jeff
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the mice cats drag in are the ones they want you to put in the frig for them for their late night snack. Ingrid
BTW, cats do not usually eat mice, they just kill them. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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Susan wrote:

...
that could also be the resident mouse population...
we have three bait stations here, and recently after re-reading and thinking about them, i moved two of them away from where they have been (near the foundation line in front and back).
what i do not like about them is that the poison they are feeding to the mice (and chipmunks -- i've never seen a rat here yet) is getting spread via feces and dead critters around the property and perhaps being ingested by the crows and snakes.
we like our resident population of snakes (we have a lot of rock piles around and they love it) so i don't want to poison them. but i'm also in a quandary about the bait stations because without them we'd be overrun with mice. and we cannot have cats, dogs or other critters besides what is already outside.
we have a prime owl and hawk hunting perimeter (white crushed limestone for 20-30ft around the house), but there are few owls around. hmm, perhaps i should look into owl home creation. :)
i think the hawks don't hunt here because it's too congested for them to swoop in (decorations, fences, arbors, trellises and trees) even if the limestone is fairly open.
the owls i've heard hunt here a few times. in the winter they would probably run into a deer.
songbird
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On 6/11/2010 1:00 PM, songbird wrote:

Possibly, though I doubt they're hanging out with the rats.

I never put them near the house.

I have never seen a dead rat lying around here, so perhaps they're dying in tunnels and not being eaten? There may well be taste and smell cues for the other animals that let them know to avoid the dead rats.

I'm on a wooded property in a small, city like suburb. I hear an occasional owl and saw a red tailed hawk once, but nothing I can count on for varmint control.
The boxes just turned out to be our best bet.
And I switched to a songbird selective feeder with only sunflower hearts in it; zero waste nothing on the ground, hence no rats there for 6 years now.

A field probably suits them better.

Bait boxes.
BTW, I used to feed birds in my old house with all sorts of waste on the ground, and never saw a single rat. This town has plenty, though.
Susan
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Steve J wrote:

The rats took up residense there because there is a source of food nearby. Are you storing animal food in that shed, feeding birds nearby, your trash in uncovered cans... critters do not hang around unless there is a source of food available... check your neighbor's yards for pig pen habits.
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Steve J wrote:

snap traps work well too, with peanut butter smeared under and on top of the trip pan (so they have to work to get it all).
songbird
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I use peanut butter in mouse traps. On a "dirty jobs" show featuring exterminators, they were placing unbaited rat traps in the rats runways along walls as they said rats have poor eyesite and feel along the walls stumbling into the traps. Poison is fine outdoors but indoors you may have to deal with a decaying body and its odor. Glue boards, I don't like, as the animal dies slowly and may chew at it's leg to free itself.
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songbird wrote:

It depends on the situation. Given a head start in good conditions rodents can breed faster than you can trap.
David
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