I have a rat problem. There may be more than one but the one I've seen
(twice) is about ten inches long, head to butt, with a tail as big as
my index finger. I affectionately call him "Basil".
The whole problem started a couple of months ago when, being sick of
the air resistance when I put the liner in my plastic (Rubbermaid)
garbage can, I cut 1.5" diameter holes around the base. It solved the
resistance problem but then we noted that the liner had been torn in
places and food spread around. The garbage bin(s) is kept in an
enclosed garbage room but the door's not too good and I noticed that
the bottom near the hinge had been chewed away making a nice little
(big?) hole. Then we noticed droppings leading out to the street. Oh,
So being the frugal type I headed off to the exterminator supply house
where the very busy owner (it seems lots of people have similar
problems) sold me a packet of green "cake" with instructions to break
it into inch or so chunks and leave them around the garbage bins. He
warned that it might take a couple of applications. O...K...I'll go
along with this for a while.
I did what he suggested four times and each time the chunks
disappeared totally. The rat loves them! Tonight I encountered him
just finishing off his last meal of green "poison". Seemed very spry
to me and quite fat. He might have to enlarge his entry passage.
My wife, ever the pacifist, demanded why I didn't take a baseball bat
to him. "Any real man would have done so," was her argument. I
contemplated a visit to the emergency room with rat bites and even if
successful the nauseating blood-and-guts-everywhere clean up problem
and decided that she should find a "real man" because I clearly wasn't
The dog, a terrier supposedly adept at fighting rodents, has
difficulty even noticing a cat standing beside the back door so
passing the problem to him is likely to be futile. Further the vet
charges more than the human emergency room if (likely) he gets bitten.
Since there's no "real man" available she threatens to call in our
suburban-living gun-nut son and his NRA-approved shotgun. I'm sure
he'd welcome the opportunity to display his skills but the local
police have this thing about "shots fired".
My less violent approach would be to upgrade the poison but it has
occurred to me that perhaps "nanny" has severely restricted the use of
such and the green "cake" is a might-give-him-a-slight-headache
remedy. Where's the arsenic?
Does anyone have any input on the poison situation or other
(reasonable and non-destructive) suggestions on how I might get rid of
Basil and his (probably) friends permanently?
First, that's a good name -- Basil. Is that Basil, as in Basil RATbone??
How long ago did you put the poison out? I think the rats have to eat multiple
doses of it before they die. Also, some of the rodent poisons available at the
store are not as effective as the ones put out by professional exterminators.
Is the one you bought an anticoagulant? Is it possible that the rodents develop
a "resistance" to the effects of the poison? Is it possible the rat you just
saw isn't the same one that you saw initially?
Do you, by any chance, live in the midwest or northeast? I hear that rat
problems have been very bad this year because sewers (their usual habitat) are
flooded due to all the rain, so rats are now entering houses. If you do not
live in a part of the country that has been inundated with rain, do you live in
an area where there has been a lot of construction recently? Relatives of mine
live near a mall that has been newly constructed over the past year, and
everyone on their street has a rodent problem. The rats used to live in the
woods where the mall now stands. When they cut down the forest to build the
mall, the rats simply moved a few blocks over.
From what I understand, the most important thing is to find out where the
rats/mice are entering the house. You can put out all the poison and traps you
want, but if there are holes and other points of entry for the rats to get
into, they will continue to get in. Also, if they can still get in, but eat the
poison, they might die in the walls and make a terrible smell. You must find
out how they are entering and try to permanently block off those entrances.
Be very careful with those poisons, whether they are bought "over the counter"
or through a professional exterminator. If your dog (or other pets or children)
have access to the poison, they can get sick or die. If your dog or cat eats
the rat, they can get sick from the poison that way too.
You need to find out how the rats are getting in. Block off those entrances. If
you insist on using poison, try to have a professional exterminator do it
(preferably one approved by the Better Business Bureau or one that comes highly
recommended), and be sure that neither humans nor pets get near the poison.
I didn't think of that--good one. My "Basil" is Basil Fawlty from
Fawlty Towers, a British sitcom about 15 years ago. It's a hotel where
the owner, Basil Fawlty, discovers that the Spanish busboy has a pet
rat he has named "Basil" and the health inspector's coming....
Four times over a period of about 3 weeks.
This was my question. Why not?
There's possibly a family of them.
I've heard that too.
Not if they're all dead. I can seal up the hole and was planning to do
so but the door is in such bad shape that I really have to replace it
...plus the jambs, and then there's the crumbling brickwork and the
buckled concrete floor...
Further, the rat(s) probably lives in the apartment building next door
and sealing up my garbage room isn't going to stop them tearing apart
the bags on the street on garbage nights (I used to think it was the
stray cats). I could call the health department and they'd likely
issue some summonses but I get on well with the super (he even cleans
my sidewalk) and I'd prefer not to anger him. At least I'd like to
have clean hands and say I've done my bit beforehand.
Dogs and cats can't get through the hole.
Didn't I tell you I was frugal? Apart from a new roof I haven't
employed anyone to do anything around the house in 25 years. I'm not
about to let a rat change that.
Well, if the rat you just saw is the original one, then it should have been
dead by now. I think they are supposed to die in a week or 10 days, after
multiple dosings. As another poster here mentioned, if you saw one rat, there
are probably 20 others -- at least.
ones put out by professional>exterminators.
I think that it has to do with the particular chemical used and also the
concentration of the chemical. Perhaps the store-bought ones don't have as
concentrated a form of the poison. I know that many professional exterminators
use warfarin, which is an anticoagulant, so the rats literally bleed to death
(a horrible death). By the way, warfarin is the same chemical that's in
Coumadin, an anticoagulant used by humans to prevent dangerous blood clots that
can lead to strokes, deep vein thrombosis, etc. There are other chemicals used
in rat poisons besides warfarin, but I don't know much about them, other than
that nearly all require multiple dosing over a period of days or a few weeks.
Quite frankly, I have heard and read about so many rodent problems this year,
both in the northeast and midwest, and I am starting to think that this is a
huge public health problem and that the eradication should NOT be left up to
individual citizens. The health departments should be tackling the problem. It
is so widespread and will probably get worse because forecasters anticipate
another wet year (lots more snow and rain).
I understand that dogs and cats can't get through that hole, but if the rats
eat the poison and then go out, a cat or dog could eat or bite into the rat,
and ingest the poison that way. And I gather that you are frugal, but rats are
not only disgusting creatures; they carry diseases. Mice also carry diseases,
including Hanta virus, Lyme ticks, etc. I haven't heard of any cases of the
plague in New York, but a few summers ago, there were quite a few cases in the
southwest. One human victim was visiting New York at the time he fell ill, but
I believe he contracted the disease in Arizona. There was at least one Hanta
virus death on Long Island a few years ago. In any event, this is a public
health problem. If you don't want to call an exterminator, then I think the
Health Department should deal with it.
Heh. Basil the Rat. Yes, second best episode, right after "The Germans" ...
I'm with Mark, call the health department. This may even be a
*requirement* in some jurisdictions.
Note that your modified trash cans may not now meet code, you might get
a citation, so replace them now and act dumb about why the rats showed up.
The Chicago Reader had a great article a few years back about the city's
very aggressive, very successful war on the rat. It isn't about killing
the rats, it's about eliminating two things:
* sources of food
* places to live
Restaurants and apartment buildings are under draconian waste-bin rules;
all city homes have city-issued plastic (lidded) garbage cans; and the
rat patrol seals up holes in garage concrete pads, etc., where rats like
to live, with wire-embedded concrete (because they can chew through
concrete without wire).
You may want to figure out where they're living, in case it's a neighbor
you need to warn (about the rat patrol, not so much the rats).
yes, Chicago uses poison (nasty pirate-symbol flyers are found in many
alleys), but not nearly as much as they used to have to. It's easier to
prevent than to kill.
I would worry about scattering 'chunks' of things around that your dog
might get into trouble with. I used a pkg of D-con rat pellets (comes
in a box) available in the supermarket when a rat burrowed into my
(nice, warm) greenhouse. Getting rid of the body was the nasty bit.
This reference has quite a bit of material:
Warafin (sp?) is still availible here in Ontario. The problem though is
the damned things end up dying in your walls, and stinking forever. We now
have 3 cats, and don't see any more rodents in the house! :)
Try putting poison bait in trap and put cought rats and cage in bucket
Also try high power pump up pellet gun and be sure to wear safty
I am using pellet gun in my yard to cut down on squirll population
after getting them out of my roof.
p email@example.com says...
:) Does anyone have any input on the poison situation or other
:) (reasonable and non-destructive) suggestions on how I might get rid of
:) Basil and his (probably) friends permanently?
The baits can take 3-5 days before the rodent may be
effected by the baits. If you are dealing with a large
number weeks of baiting can be involved. If it is
warfarin based, rodents have become resistant to it, go
for one of the newer generation of anti-coagulants. If
are able to hide "Tamper resistant" bait stations around
the house you may be able to reduce the numbers before
they get in. Rats can get into a quarter sized hole, so
any repairs to openings is needed.
Put down piepans of automobile antifreeze. It is sweet. Rats lap it up. It
digests improperly in the liver, and creates toxins. Rats stagger drunkenly,
fall down, and die.
Please be careful to keep that away from dogs, cats, small children. They
drink it up. Stagger drunkenly. Fall down, and die.
Plan B: Log onto www.gardensalive.com and see what they have. They are big
on "environmentally friendly" but by some twist of fate their stuff seems to
work. I've seldom seen "env" and actually works on the same products.
I've used Gardens Alive liquid ant bait, and also their pantry pest traps.
And pleased with both of them.
On Mon, 20 Oct 2003 20:22:29 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"
I'm happy to have a personal recommendation (and like Gardens Alive),
but the traps are kind of pricey. Does anyone have home-brew
recommendations? The product description says, "Folded cardboard traps
attract Indian meal moths with powerful pheromones and catch them on
sticky inner surfaces." AFAIK, there aren't powerful pheromones in my
pantry closet (other than from the moths themselves), so perhaps it's
possible to manufacture a sticky-interiored box that would be
:) The product description says, "Folded cardboard traps
:) attract Indian meal moths with powerful pheromones and catch them on
:) sticky inner surfaces." AFAIK, there aren't powerful pheromones in my
:) pantry closet (other than from the moths themselves), so perhaps it's
:) possible to manufacture a sticky-interiored box that would be
You might try locating a Pest Control Supply house in
your area. Rather than buy the complete traps try to
just buy the pheromone replacement (maybe $2.00). And
then buy the glue board separately. Around 27 cents a
piece, or a couple of bucks at Home Depot. The
pheromones are potent...more than once I have stopped by
grocery stores, forgetting that I had an old pheromone
tab in a shirt pocket, only to have a trail of
fluttering moths following me to the check out.
I also found pantry pest traps at a local farm and garden. Six bucks for two
Considerably cheeper than throwing out food. Last year I threw out 30 boxes
of breakfast cereal which were in my pantry. Makes six bucks look cheep.
.22 bird shot or a .410 shot gun solves these problems quickly. The
only good rat is a dead one.
Put some screen over the hole in your trash can. Once rats take up
residence you may as well move out.
Patrick Riley wrote:
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