Wednesday, February 11, 2015


This summer every vegetable eating creature on gods' earth has descended upon my garden, with the rats taking the prize as biggest pest from the 28 parrots, whose little ringed necks I would happily strangle if I could catch them.
The rats have always been around, each year when the thumping and squeaking in the ceiling get too much, we trap and bait until life quietens down again.  Not this year.

The cost and the damage

Through the jarrah
In the last two months we have had to run new phone cables and rewired the whole meter box. two weeks ago a nest of baby rats died in the air conditioning ducts in my car during a heat wave, costing me many hundreds of dollars to remove them and the stench. Every day, another precious cucumber is chewed to nothing. I did have one win thanks to the cucumbers when I found one dragged up to the hot water system. When I removed the cover I found a lovely nest ready for babies. The cover remains off for now and the dog keeps a close nose on that spot.

I entertain dinner guests with the sight of rats chasing each other along the dining room window sill -it can be a bit off putting for our city friends! Never mind the crowds in the fig tree at sunset throwing figs and the race track around the verandah which operates day and night.

The strategy

Two sorts of traps and three different baits later and we have more rats than ever.
Making sure the chickens were fed only in the morning feeders were kept empty overnight.
Making sure the dog bowls were not left out.
Block all possible entry points with either scrunched up bird wire or timber.
Check wood and compost heaps and hay for nest sites.
Feed baby rats to your protein!
Throw things at them. (I use this with the parrots too, I am not allowed to shoot a gun in town, doesn't work for them either but I feel better)
I am strongly considering posting a  Jack Russell up into the ceiling for a nights hunting while I sleep elsewhere!

And the smell...

The past few nights have been quiet although the dead smells that ooze from the ceiling have chased me from room to room.
If you can get a volunteer to go into the roof and pick up bodies, this is the best remedy but they seem to die under the insulation or in hard to get areas so this is not always a solution.
A small ceramic or glass bowl with a square of folded kitchen paper topped up regularly with eucalyptus oil is cheap and effective. I am also burning incense while home.
Open all doors and windows and run all extractor fans as long as possible during the day.
The hotter the weather, the sooner the smell will fade, go to the beach is my best advice,

If you have any ideas to share, I would love to hear them but right now, I'm off to the beach.

Blocking the superhighway-they just ran in the gutters instead

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