Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Living with Rodents: Part 3

Getting rid of rodents in a more permanent way.

If you are reading this blog for the first time, first let me say that this is kind of an odd place to start in with Non-Fiction Living. I would like to reassure you that I don't only write about rodents. That said, this is the third blog post I've written about our disgusting and furry friends. I even have a 4th one planned, which I've given the working title Living with Rodents: Part 4, Stories about Rodents. But here I am getting ahead of myself!

In part one of this four part mini-series I wrote about the time that I babysat a rodent. In part two, I shared what it feels like to live with uninvited rodent roommates.

This one is more practical. I'm going to share what I did to get rid of the rodents that moved in with our family without our permission.

First, a bit of history. I live in a very lovely apartment complex. For the purposes of this blog, I will call this group of apartments Park Terrace Gardens. It was easy for me to call them that because that is what they are actually called.

Many people enjoy living in Park Terrace Gardens. As it turns out, many rodents also enjoy living here. They like to live in the apartments. Additionally, they also frequent the common areas such as hallways, lobbies and stairwells. They settle in especially nicely in the compactor rooms and basement areas.

I used to believe that Park Terrace Gardens could eventually get rid of the rodents. For reasons too numerous to go into here, I have developed a cynical outlook. I am no longer filled with a limitless and childlike optimism about professional exterminators and their ability to stage a mass rodent annihilation at Park Terrace Gardens.

I believe that rodents will always live at Park Terrace Gardens. The rodents love it there too much to consider leaving. They love it so much that they settle in and raise their families there. Raise may be too strong a word. They procreate. They do this a lot.

The best I can possibly hope for as a resident of Park Terrace Gardens is that the rodents will vacate my apartment and move in with neighbors. That in addition to the common areas I mentioned previously.

When I first moved to park Terrace Gardens I assumed that common area meant places where I could go along with other shareholders. People. After I lived here a while, I realized that rodents and waterbugs are also very welcome there.

I have some criteria when it comes to evicting rodents from my apartment and forcing them to reside with other shareholders.

When the exterminator comes to spray chemicals around the common areas of Park Terrace Gardens it is a very malodorous process. It smells so toxic that one word comes to mind. That word is cancer.

That is why I don’t make Saturday appointments with the exterminator.

I set out to do everything possible to evict rodents that would not cause cancer. To be clear, I don’t actually care if rodents get cancer. I’m going to admit right now that I like it when researchers study cancerous rodents in the laboratory because presumably this helps them come up with cures for human cancer.

I just don’t want to think that if I get cancer at some point in the future that it was because I let the exterminator in.

You might ask, if the chemicals are so toxic, then why doesn’t the exterminator have cancer? Good question. I have noticed that the exterminator is wearing a special jump suit.  This is protective. The mask he wears is probably of minimal benefit.

I do not want to wear this effective jumpsuit or the useless mask in my apartment.

Solutions for unwanted rodents that do not cause cancer

Eliminate Rodent portals
I am about to give you advice that is both good and lame. You’ve heard it before. It works. But it has caveats.

If you have any gaping, visible holes in your residence, you should either plaster over them (or better yet, get the Super to do it) or stuff them with steel wool. Once you have done this, lay out some glue traps, because the rodents who are used to an open door policy in your residence will no longer be able to exit freely. They will run about in a frantic way looking for the holes. Eventually, they end up in the glue traps. Read about discarding the glue traps while simultaneously denying there is a rodent in it here.

This is obviously good, safe advice. The steel wool and plaster won’t give you cancer. But there are these other holes that develop behind the refrigerator and in places where heavy stuff like couches are  in front of the holes. Who has time to move stuff like that to plug up a suspected hole?

One of my other suggestions involves doing things that rodents hate but people like. The other one involves doing things that rodents hate and people are neutral on. A third one involves something that is a little bit of a pain in the neck, but humans quickly become used to. This third thing is quite disappointing to rodents.

Let me elaborate.

Be a FreshMaker

Before getting to the good part, there is something disgusting that you must do. You must clean out the places that the rodents have been living. These places can include cupboards. Listen to some addicting podcasts while you are working. It will make the time go faster.

Rodents are disgusting. They’ve been using your residence as their nesting, mating, eating, birthing and bathroom facilities. You must vacuum and then scrub with the kind of spray that kills 99.9 % of germs.

You must either wash everything else that was in with the disgusting rodents or throw it all out.

Get peppermint oil from the drugstore or health food store along with cotton balls. If you can pour some peppermint oil directly on an area do so. But most of the time, you should soak cotton balls and scatter them in the areas that the rodents like to go.

Then mark you calendar every couple of weeks to check for signs of rodents and refresh the cotton balls. You can’t just do the cotton balls once. You have to keep refreshing them.

It turns out that refresh is a good word for what is happening. Peppermint smells horrible to rodents. It really seems like they truly can’t stand it. Peppermint might be just as disgusting to rodents as rodents are to most humans.

However, to humans it is aromatherapy. It’s very bracing and clean smelling. It will make you feel wide-awake and clear-headed. Additionally, it will also smell kind of Christmassy like a candy cane. Maybe you’re thinking that you don’t want to smell Christmas in August.  Do you love rodents? Do you want to get cancer? Do you want to wear a jumpsuit?

Make sounds rodents hate.

I used to think that these things were a scam. But then I heard some success stories from a very reliable source. This wasn’t some bozo from the Internet. If you must know, this was my brother in law’s older sister.

Once I heard good things from my BILOS, I got myself one ASAP, and plugged that Home Sentinel unit right into our outlet.

The noise it makes is inaudible to even the human member of our family who has sensory integration issues and is sensitive to stimuli that most other humans are not. But it appears that the noise it makes is extremely unpleasant and rude to rodents. Like it or not, the rodents are both roommates and neighbors. It is the rodent version of really crappy grating heavy metal music played at all hours that the rest of us can’t even hear. We refuse to turn that shit down. They are unable to live with this racket any longer. Win!

Rodents and humans like some of the same things. For instance, we all enjoy eating Great Grains cereal. Jeremy and I do not like sharing this and other favorite foods with rodents. As long as we are willing to share food with rodents, the rodents will not leave our apartment to go live with neighbors or in the common areas.

One thing that rodents like that humans do not is making homes out of cardboard and giving birth right in the cardboard homes. As strange as it sounds to us, this is what rodents like to do.

That is how Jeremy and I came to buy large numbers of plastic containers. Once we cut the rodents off from their food supplies and unreasonable demands for homemade cardboard residences inside of our apartment, they apparently found what they needed from neighbors.

That is why we have two extremely large Rubbermaid boxes filled with crackers, cereals, pasta and Pirates Booty. We call them carb boxes. Maybe it doesn’t sound nice. Better than rodents. Or cancer.

Do all of these things at once.

Don’t be lazy. Don’t try just one of these things and expect it to solve this problem. I can hear it now.  The Home Sentinel doesn’t work. Well, maybe the rodents have decided to stay with the terrible noise you’re making because they still get their favorite food and unlimited cardboard for the ugly nests they inexplicably love. Don’t be ridiculous. Do all of them. Or get a jumpsuit and call the exterminator.

The Home Sentinel.

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