So, here is my next update folks!
I have just had my third routine visit from my local exterminator. It has been eight days since his last visit, when he laid down more bait, and we have not heard any noises in our attic for the past six days – so we were quietly optimistic.
Upon inspecting his bait boxes he could clearly see visible teeth marks in the bait – so there is one rat at least probably not feeling too healthy! He said there is still no obvious smell of rodents. A dead rat stinks apparently. He said if we notice lots of flies, which would be attracted to a dead rodent, we should call him, so he can dispose of the rat for us.
Also, another interesting fact: rats will eat dead rats! This is why you can continue to have a problem with rats, and no obvious smell, if the dead ones are being consumed by the live ones – pretty gross!
If a rat smells the presence of another rat, he assumes that environment is safe for him to enter also – another reason why it’s important to get rid of rats, so as not to encourage any more.
Also, did I not say it is very easy to blame the neighbours for your pest problem in my first post? Well, this has in fact turned out to be the case. We are all convinced the rats are coming into our roof space from next door. All the bait being eaten is located next to the shared roof wall with our neighbours.
Our exterminator suspects that the place where our roof joists enter into the brick wall with our neighbours could be a possible entry point, but even he admitted it is very difficult to tell how they are getting in exactly – rats can be very cunning!
He did give us one tip: if we notice any potential holes up there we should use a combination of wire wool and builders foam to block the access. Rats can chew through builders foam, but they don’t like the wire wool as it breaks their teeth, so a combination of both could be a better deterrent.
We have also found out that our neighbours have had a rat problem for a while, but they were dealing with it using DIY pest control products. I told our exterminator this, who said that this could be counter-productive to his efforts.
Apparently DIY baits available from hardware stores are often tastier to rats then the more toxic baits professional exterminators are licensed to use. The risk is that the rats will fill their bellies with the tastier DIY bait and not eat any of the more toxic bait, which is far more likely to dispose of the rodent. I am pleased to say though that this has not happened in our case.
For the moment, we are all happy that we may have dealt with the current rat problem successfully. It is important to continue to be very vigilant, because as long as our neighbours continue to have their fish ponds, a rat problem is likely to re-occur. And, as long as we don’t discover the entry point from the neighbour’s property into ours, our attic remains vulnerable.
We are just hoping for a rat-free Christmas!