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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dealing with Rats

I have been able to catch rats and kill them. However, another one just comes in. Today, I took a step that seems to be working. There is a set of French doors in a room where moisture has made it impossible to close the doors all the way. So, not only does a draft enter, but rats found their way in through there. Well, that was my thought.

Today, exbf used Gorilla Tape (brand of heavy black duct tape) to tape mothballs to the tiny and large cracks all the way around the door and down the middle. Then, he made sure that there was no space where the moth balls could emit odor. He stuffed moth balls into the room on the other side of that, a room I do not enter at all and will not cause the odor to come into where I live. I had to put up with mothball smell for a bit. It was so warm out that I could leave the back door open. Now, it has dissipated to a faint odor. I am going to staple plastic over that door, maybe tomorrow.

Hopefully, this faint odor is not toxic to me. Hopefully, plastic will shut out the rest of the odor.  I remember when I was in my early thirties and very cheerful elderly ladies hugged me in church, smelling of moth balls and brandy. Sometimes, they hugged me twice! In the summer these ladies were never quite so happy or odorous.

The good news, no rat noise. This is the first night with no noise since the first rat came in about three weeks ago. The sticky traps are great but expensive. I cannot force open the snap traps to set them.
Next week, he will work on the room at the front of the house, my sewing room that still has things rats can destroy. It is immediately in front of the room...never mind.

This is a better explanation. Along one side of the house are four rooms in a row. Front room--sewing room, abandoned. Second room--living room abandoned and where he stuffed moth balls into the room. Third room-- where the French doors are between third and second room. Fourth room--kitchen.

The room where I am sitting is next to third room.

Ooops, heard a rat in third room just now, right next to me. So, I will break out the sticky traps. Irish Spring in the doorways will hopefully keep any other rats at bay so that they do not consider my den a good home.

When exbf left at 6:15 pm, I was exhausted. I went to bed at 6:30 pm and  slept until 1:30 am.  This messes up my sleeping, but I could not stay awake.

Tomorrow, I make a five-gallon rat trap!

Your turn
Have you ever used moth balls and were able to contain the odor? Has it been your experience that moth balls repelled rats?


  1. I had never heard of moth balls repelling rats. And, since they are in our roof cavity, practising for the Olympics, I am very, very interested.

    1. EC,
      I am hoping this will work well. Hopefully, the odor and toxicity will not seep into your living space! Practicing for the Olympics is absolutely correct. I am very much unnerved by how huge they sound! Oh, there is another comment here now with other ideas. Read it, too.

  2. So far we have D-con down, steel wool, dryer sheets, and cotton balls or material soaked with peppermint oil. I have not seen one in the last day or so but I am still keeping everything down until I am sure. My Uncle did go through and filled a bunch of wholes with steel wool and that expanding foam stuff. I am at war right now since I want them dead and gone before all the babies come down after Christmas. I can't afford to keep doing this so hopefully we are done with them.

    Let me know how the duct tape and mothball work out.

    1. Judy,
      Okay, this is what I hear but do not know how much is true:

      I heard--DCon will bring all rats to you. They can eat through steel wool. It is best to use the copper stuff like used for scrubbing dishes. I can vouch for nothing in this paragraph.

      I never heard about peppermint oil, but tiny pieces of Irish Spring seems effective at limiting where they travel.

      You do NOT want babies exposed to moth ball fumes. So, wherever you put it, you might want to try to seal it off with something like duct tape or even the expanding foam.

      Remember pictures you see of owl scat and rodent skulls? The skulls are not solid so can be squeezed together to allow rodents to squeeze through 1/4 inch cracks. Keep that in mind when you are sealing cracks.

      A guy here in town says that the copper scrubby type stuff is sold in bulk, probably costing more than we can afford. Maybe your uncle knows where to get this stuff.

      Before this, I have seen only one rat since 1974. This is gross!

  3. Severe weather,especially cold, leads them to looking for shelter.

    After hurricane Rita, the damage led rats, and mice, to seek new homes. Just about everyone locally had problems, when they never had them before.

    The only sure method I found of exterminating the critters was poison. Where I could place it without pets, or wildlife, from the bait, I tried to make sure it was in the traveled paths.

    I built pvc pipe bait stations where I was worried about unintended exposure. I used 3 inch pipe, with fittings. I placed a foot of pipe on each side of a tee and capped the ends. I placed the same amount of pipe on the lateral and left it open.

    I used a bait that looks like a bar of candy, which I bought at a feed store.

    As far as moth balls, I doubt it would keep rodents away. I've heard it works for snakes, but I've never tried it.

  4. Jess,
    Thanks for the input. My chickens would eat a dead rat and die, too. So, I hesitate to use bait. I saw the candy bar bait in TSC. If the moth balls don't actually run them out, then maybe it would keep them from coming in. Fingers crossed here.

  5. I haven't heard about moth balls repelling rats. Supposedly, Bounce fabric softener sheets repel rodents. Since we plugged the holes in my linen closet and I put Bounce in there, I haven't had any visitors–as far as I know.


    1. Janie,
      Thanks. I suppose with so many endorsements of Bounce, I will have to buy some today.

  6. I have never heard of moth balls to get rid of rats/mice, if it works would love to hear! Since I live in the middle of 100 acres mice love to find ways in the barn and house! I pretty much leave them alone with the barn but the house I have tried so many things...traps, steel wool, sticky paper, a few work but they come back. The only way I have found that got rid of them (over a year ago) was poisen I made small containers and placed them in the two places I thought they came in at and "no more mice" I hate to use the poisen though. When the containers are empty I will try the bouce fingers crossed I like this option much better :)

  7. country life,
    My only objection to poison is that my free range chickens will eat a dead rat, poisoned or not. However, something has got to give.

    Maybe if you got rid of barn critters with the use of a good mouser, not so many would come to the house.

  8. I would put out poison and confine the chickens for a while, at least until I got rid of the rats.


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