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Old 08-05-2011, 10:20 AM   #1
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Rat issue


Before I purchased my house, the previous owner had Comcast run their cable under the house. When Comcast ran it they cut the wire mesh through the lower vents (vents are set into a concrete foundation). Having issues with rats chewing theough the cable outside house I had them reroute the cable along the roof line to keep it out of the teeth of my rodent friends.

About 3 months ago I had evidence in the garage that rats were in there. Setting traps I caught 2 rats and after this no more indication they are there. We keep our dog food in the garage and no holes were chewed in the bag so pretty confident this issue is solved.

Last month when I was sitting at my computer, I noticed 2 rats crawling along the bottom of the fence heading towards the forested lot next to us. Not thinking anything about it at this time, I soon noticed a pattern at the same time of the day. Insecting the side of house I found out when Comcast removed their cable from the vent they neglected to put anything across the wire mesh so a 2 1/2 inch hole was left. Soon after I started hearing them in that area when I was at my computer.

Yesterday I was watching at the usual time and I saw one rat use the fence so went outside and installed a new wire mesh across the opening. Last night I could hear gnawing noises and again this morning. Fearing that maybe I had trapped him inside the crawlspace, I soon realized he was trapped outside the house and was trying to get back in. He was moving to each vent along the foundation and trying to chew through.

On the opposite side of the house is my crawlspace cover. I have set traps inside the opening. Found out the RAT trap had the peanut butter eaten out and now have set a rat and a mouse trap. Also placed one of the enclosed rat poison traps inside the crawlspace also.

So with all this in mind (sorry for the long story) do you think the Rat trapped outside is going to give up and move on and I suspect there may be one trapped inside as well. Maybe a family of them? On a limited budget so trying to hire a professional exterminator is ot of the question at the moment.

Thank you for any advice.

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Old 08-05-2011, 11:52 AM   #2
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Rat issue


Rats are destructive roommates that like really good crawl-spaces. They will make quite a bit of effort to get back inside. Forget about a 'family' trapped inside - check your poison trap on a regular basis to see if anyone is snacking. Now is not the time for rat sympathy. Keep checking your vents outside to make sure that they are not doing new damage. You may want to reinforce with hardware cloth. If you are seeing evidence of damage you may want to up your poison control.

I put my rat traps and baits on thin strings when I put them in my crawl-space so it is easy to pull them out to check.

And just for giggles, be glad you don't have to worry about this guy: Giant Poisonous Rat

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Old 08-05-2011, 12:28 PM   #3
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Rat issue


Welcome montoyaclan, to the best darn DIY'r site on the web.

I reallly don't have much to add to assist you in your endevours to erdicate your friends, other than it gives me the creeps to read your story.......yuck.

Keep checking the poison, traps and seal up all opennings.

Mark
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:36 PM   #4
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Rat issue


What is odd is I have had the poison trap outside by the hole for the last 2 weeks and I see no evidence they were interested in it. And seeing they were heading to the forest sort fo told me they have plenty of food opportunities out there. The trap is the pet safe one where they can crawl in eat the food and leave. Are there better alternatives to this type? I can use the Dcon pellets and place them well under the overhangs so the pets cannot get at them. Do the pellets (the yellow box ones) work better than the green block style?
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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Rat issue


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Originally Posted by montoyaclan View Post
What is odd is I have had the poison trap outside by the hole for the last 2 weeks and I see no evidence they were interested in it. And seeing they were heading to the forest sort fo told me they have plenty of food opportunities out there. The trap is the pet safe one where they can crawl in eat the food and leave. Are there better alternatives to this type? I can use the Dcon pellets and place them well under the overhangs so the pets cannot get at them. Do the pellets (the yellow box ones) work better than the green block style?
If you aren't having 'invaders' anymore, I'd just stick with what you have. Keep checking your outside vents and occasionally set an indicator bait in the crawl-space (put something yummy in the crawl-space overnight - do not leave more than overnight - see if something eats it).

Stay vigilant, but you don't have to poison every rat in the neighborhood.

PS. If you have pets, why aren't they doing their job and killing those rats.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
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Rat issue


The bait station is fine, but possibly the location is too exposed for them. Hide it, camouflage it, or place it contiguous with stored material so it blends in. Keep fresh bait in it. Also try to find a meal rodenticide-maybe they will take that better. Don't worry about your human scent on it, but gasoline, oil, smells will repel them.

If bait is licked off snap traps, then tie cotton to the trigger with thread/floss and smear peanut butter into the cotton. They will lick and get frustrated. They will bite and pull and they then belong to you. Have fun.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:03 PM   #7
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Rat issue


Cake icing works great. It hardens to the trap and takes some effort to eat it and they love that stuff. Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:02 PM   #8
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Rat issue


Hi again.

Thank you for all the great advice.

I heard the outside rat trying on a couple nights to get back in. I have inspected the vents to make sure thay are closed however there may be more under the rear deck that I cannot see. I am going to get under the house the next 2 weeks and see if I can see their condition.

I was still worried about one rat being trapped inside and also the possibility of the family it was raising too. I check the traps again this weekend and there was a dead rat. Reset the trap and also noticed the posion had been chewed into (self enclosed with green block). So now I am worried about the other rats or family eating th epoison and dying under the house. A coworker told me the rat poison causes the rat to die by blobking moisture. And that the newer poisons will cause the rat to not smell when they decompose which I am finding hard to believe. True? False?

2 nights ago I heard some noises by the back door floor vent so I am assuming there are a few more.

A quick written picture of my crawlspace - (I have yet to check the attic area - eeeek - which could be how the garage ones enetered) is I can access appox 1/2 of it as the rest is blocked by metal furnace tubes and ducting made of flexible plastic? I need to get under there to make sure the furnace vent tubes were nto comprmosied or that will be blowing into the house this winter - ewww.

So any additional advice?
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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1) The closed vents-will air still flow thru or are they closed solidly. With air flow the dead rodent odor should vent out.

2) The chewed on block-look closely around the block for rodent droppings. Are they mouse or rat droppings?

3) Modern day rodenticides are mostly anti-coagulant, meaning they thin the blood out and cause internal hemorrhage. Never heard of the moisture blocking and none of them will reduce dead rodent odor.

Keep traps and fresh rodenticide in place. You are in the position where you will either have live rats or dead rats. You must choose dead ones. Once this is over then it wonít happen again; at least not to this extent. The more you catch in traps, the less odor there will be.

As a sidenote to the above paragraph, it seems to me that if rats were trapped below, they would be going nuts trying to get out and you would be well-aware of them. I suspect and hope that they are now dead. Hopefully they have not found another way in that you arenít aware of yet.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:26 PM   #10
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Okay another update:

In answering the questions.

The vents are open with a wire mesh cover. These sit on the south and east and west part of the foundation. The north side has no vents other than the wooden cover covering the crawlspace entrance.. The cover sits pretty tight so no access for rodents is available.

The droppings are definately Rat from previous experiences in the garage.

So here is what is happening so far. I could occasionally hear noises under neath the house near the area I put the screen in. I was doing some yard work and decided I should recheck the replacement wire cover. I realized the vent was a lot wider than it shows from above and I totally missed part of the opening. So now I have the complete opening properly covered and help down.

I did not hear any noises last night however they have been off and on before. What I am noticing at this time is an odor. I would describe it as heavy musty/animal type and I can smell it strongly in the floor vents especially near the one opening. I am suspecting the rats have died and now are decomposing. Any idea how long this takes to be done? I am really needing to go down under and inspect the heater ducts hoses to make sure they were not compromised in any way. I am sure the smell is just from the nasty air creeping through joints. I told my better half that we cannot run the furnace until the smell dissapates and until I inspect the hose ducts. I have not seen any heavy fly activity even when I inspected the crawlspace opening. Inside the opening is the poison block and a rat trap. I can see rat droppings around it so I know they are crawling through the bottom. Am I right in assuming they travel along the edges and not directly across the floor?

Again thank you for the advice and I am hoping to get under there this weekend.

Gary



1) The closed vents-will air still flow thru or are they closed solidly. With air flow the dead rodent odor should vent out.

2) The chewed on block-look closely around the block for rodent droppings. Are they mouse or rat droppings?

3) Modern day rodenticides are mostly anti-coagulant, meaning they thin the blood out and cause internal hemorrhage. Never heard of the moisture blocking and none of them will reduce dead rodent odor.

Keep traps and fresh rodenticide in place. You are in the position where you will either have live rats or dead rats. You must choose dead ones. Once this is over then it wonít happen again; at least not to this extent. The more you catch in traps, the less odor there will be.

As a sidenote to the above paragraph, it seems to me that if rats were trapped below, they would be going nuts trying to get out and you would be well-aware of them. I suspect and hope that they are now dead. Hopefully they have not found another way in that you arenít aware of yet.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:38 PM   #11
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A dead rat odorís longevity will depend on how many dead rats, unfortunately.
When you say that you smell it through the floor vents, do you mean the supply vents inside the house? Or the exterior vents? In either case, is there any way that you could jerry rig a fan to an outside vent? Even a little air flow will pull out that odor to a large extent.

When you do get underneath be ready for dead rats/removal. Also, you should run your fan that supplies the ducts and inspect the ducts for leakage. This could be how the odor is backing up into the house. In a small crawl space my strategy is to avoid going in if possible (ha,ha) otherwise I wear a headlamp so both hands are free. I always have a back up light, maybe in my pocket just in case Murphyís Law kicks in at the far end of crawl space.

Another odor possibility is that the odor you smell is rodent urine and musk odor from nesting sites. Differences in humidity, barometric air pressure, etc will move odors around from day to day.

Rats do travel along walls, feeling with their whiskers for the most part. They donít always obey the rules though.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #12
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Thank you PAbugman for all the advice as well as the others.

New update.

The smell I am smelling is sort of like a decaying/musty smell. Never had a dead animal decompose before so if this smells (bad pun sorry) familiar? Also I would assume nesting smell would be like what a pet rat/ferret would smell like when you do not clean the cage? This smell is really worse than that.

I went into my crawlspace and I have learned a couple things.

1: Rats are very destructive - a good portion of the floor insulation was pulled down and I can see in some places where it appears to be nests.

2: My crawlspace is not crawlable due to the previous owner having a furnace installed and the ducts (thankfully metal) prevent me from getting anywhere.

So at this tage I am going to have get under there and start digging a lot of dirt to get to the different areas of the house.

Meaning I will have to wait the smell out.

Other questions as I heard another rat outside the house this morning (I sure hope not under). What do I use outside the house that is safe for the pets and does nto attract the whole rat population? Do rat infestations result in one rat getting somewhere and then he goes and tells his friends and they come? I am pretty sure I have all access holes plugged up now. How do the live capture traps (cages) perform in regards to traps? And what is th ebest way to find out if there are more rats in the crawlspace?

Thanks again for the great info!

Gary
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:28 PM   #13
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We had a rat die from rat poison in underneath our house. The smell was INTOLERABLE, until we removed the carcass, retching oh-my-god-what-is-that-smell bad.

Honestly, if I were you I would bring in a pro at this point (well, I have a contract with an exterminator, so I would just call them). The PITA of your crawl space combined with the rat townhall that is massing in your yard will probably make it worth the cost. (your hours spent crawling around under your house, buying traps, the certainty of knowing that it will get taken care of etc......)
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:27 AM   #14
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Sadly a professional is simply not in the budget. With the kids heading out to college , economy and job income lower we are forced to do this ourselves.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:10 AM   #15
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So back to my post above:

What traps can I place outside or will this just attract more rats to the traps?

The best way to determine if there are more in the crawlspace? I have heard noises but they sounded outside not inside.

The smell is pretty bad (hopefully it has peaked) well it is way stronger than last weekend. What is surprising is I do not see any out break of flies. Perhaps they are flying out the vents?


Ideas?

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