It all started last week when Husband and I were settling down with a glass of wine and Silent Witness and I heard a scratching above my head. This was not the pitter patter of tiny feet I wanted to hear and it continued spasmodically throughout the evening. The next few nights were the same. Scurrying paws and claws and a good bit of manic chewing to boot.
I don’t mind rats. I mean, I don’t want them in my house but had it been a giant spider scratching around I would have moved into the motel down the road. However, with an hour of Googling I had soon convinced myself that we would all catch Weil’s disease, should we survive the fire that chewing through the electrical wires was certain to cause.
I spent a lot of time on a lot of sites and the advice seems to be DON’T poison them because they will a) die in the wall and smell and b) go outside to die where the dog/child would eat/pick up rat and then poison themselves. Traps have a similar consequence to the poisoning on the rotting rat smell front and ALL the sites pushed the fact that to get rid you need to find where they are coming in and block up the hole with wire wool or something equally un-gnawable. Apparently the back of the cooker is a prime spot for access routes. Eugh.
Anyway, I went on our local council site today who have a whole page dedicated to pest control (I half expected to see Fergus’ name on there somewhere) and they are a LOT cheaper than getting in rentokil or the like. I assume this is part of what I pay my council tax for, de-rodenting my house. So I have registered to get them out and I am consoling myself with the fact that they are not IN the house itself, just the wall/ceiling cavity. We also have mice in the garage which is separate from our house, but this weekend we discovered they have made a nest out of the entire contents of my husband’s cricket bag. I don’t know if you are well-informed about this most English of sports, but I could easily fit into a cricket bag with room for a glass of Pinot Grigio and some snacks – these things are mighty. He has lost hundreds of pounds worth of equipment. Two crickets bats, his old club jumper, trousers, pads, helmet – the whole lot is chewed and ruined. I noted that his cricket box was untouched. These mice are choosier than you think! So, we are going to have to claim on insurance I think and the silver lining is Husband can spend many hours perusing crickety stuff on the internet. Makes a change from watching it 24/7 on Sky I suppose….
This afternoon the rain abated for a while and we went in search of the rat hole. We found it! (I hope). The grid had come off of a vent halfway up the outside wall. On closer inspection I could see it was where the kitchen extractor hood comes out and there are some lovely wall spaces for vermin to explore. So I have put some chicken wire over it to see if that solves the problem. Hopefully I have blocked them out rather than in.
I wondered if it was the fact that we live in the countryside that reasoned the arrival of the verminous beasts, but then I thought that there are probably more rats in urban areas. Isn’t it in London where you are never more than two foot away from a rat?
With that thought and the fact that now you are all probably a bit itchy and hearing scrabbling in the skirting boards, I will conclude. For another glass of wine, more Silent Witness and hopefully a rat-free evening.
ONE WEEK LATER…
Well, blocking up the hole seems to have worked a treat! Not a scrabble of toenail since….
I must say, I contacted the local council about it and they were immensely helpful and had the ratman call me next day! And their rates are VERY reasonable. So far I just took them up on a phone call for advice, but for £26 I might get him around anyway to check it all out.