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 08-01-2005, 16:32 Post: 114197
AC5ZO

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I have been fighting a colony of pack rats on my property. There is no joke or implication here, this is a real problem. More precisely the rodents are known as White Throated Woodrats. These are incredibly destructive animals. They have nested in my truck which is parked outside. I also have a nest of them in an old race car. I have also found them in my tractor. These are probably also the same rodents that have chewed through landscape lighting wires and other electrical wiring.

I have set a couple of mechanical traps and they have not caught any so far. I built up a contraption out of PVC pipe with internal electrodes that has killed a couple of them. The PVC pipe works by turning on the power to an electric fence power supply when they are in there. That seems to be quite effective at killing them. I have been baiting these traps with dry dog food strung onto fine stainless steel wire. They trigger the trap when they tug on the kibble.

An additional problem is that these varmits can be a vector for Bubonic Plague and Hantavirus in my area. There are no reported cases coming out of my locality, but this is a serious problem with serious consequences. I am going to have to wear a respirator and disposable coveralls when I take the nest out of the race car. I have to spray for fleas and other biting bugs that can carry the Plague.

Has anyone else on the board dealt with these animals before? What brought this to mind is the other thread about the hornets. I have been trying to kill fleas and rodents at the same time in two or more places.






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 08-01-2005, 21:29 Post: 114218
brokenarrow



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AC5ZO
I had mice problems in the past. An invasion (actually) one year! I am a 100% believer (now) in the pelletized form of a rodent control. I buy it buy the pail full. I make small makeshift containers out of tubs of margerine with a small hole in the side. This keeps the material pretty dry. I put out 5 stations around the yard and 2 more in the garage. You may be amazed at what happens to the population of mice/rats if you keep them filled for a year or so!
Good luck






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 08-01-2005, 22:04 Post: 114221
Chief



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 Pack Rats

I put out LOTS and LOTS of rat poison packets. They were nesting in my well house. I also put out mouse and rat traps baited with swiss cheese. It is irrisistable to them. A couple of Manx cats would be a good idea as well. Since I have two Manx cats and they are hunting machines. So far I have not had anymore damage or evidence of mouse or rats.






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 08-02-2005, 08:57 Post: 114229
AC5ZO

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What brand/kind of rat poison do you use?

I have no idea how many of these critters I have. There are rat droppings everywhere and it started building up very rapidly. Coyotes get into the barn too, but they don't generally cause me any problems. If anything, they probably catch some of the rats. I have never seen one of the live rats in the daytime.

I think that I want to continue to use my electrical contraption for a while until I stop getting hits on the bait. If I poison them now, when there are a large number of them, I am afraid that I am going to have dead rotting rats inside stuff in the barn.

The problem in the Southwest is that the fleas leave the dead rats, and they are the pests that can transfer the Bubonic Plague to humans. The rats are the carriers. As I said, plague has not been reported in my area, but there were several cases in NM last year. Hantavirus is even worse. Most people don't die from plague anymore, but hantavirus kills about a quarter of the people infected. So, I have to spray for fleas as well as control the rats. Otherwise, the fleas can get on rabbits and other mammals and survive. I am thinking about using one of those indoor insect bombs in the car with the rat nest in it.

This is not as bleak as it might seem on the surface. The plague and hantavirus tend to hit in defined areas. (Not where I live) Every now and then, someone will get infected when cleaning out a barn in random areas, but the infection rate for hantavirus in deer mice is about 50% and for Woodrats, the infection rate is below 10% for virus and plague. I don't have many deer mice, so the chances of having the infection in my area is low, but the consequences are high. The virus and plague don't kill the rats or mice.

Randy, I did not suspect that you were a cat person. Wink yeah right
Cats don't live long in my neighborhood because of the coyotes. House cats have also been linked to plague infections when they have brought in fleas carrying the plague. At this point, I don't have any cats or dogs.

Randy, send my your new email address when you get a chance. I guess that it has changed after you moved.






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 08-02-2005, 09:13 Post: 114230
Murf

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While pack rats aren't a problem up here, it's too cold for them in the winter, we do have an equal menace, the Red (or Pine) Squirrel. They consider nearly anything a suitable nesting site, and will shred anything their teeth will mulch for nesting material.

We have had the best success with live traps, in fact we have built modified box traps which don't require any resetting between 'victims'. Basically a tin bax with a door which slopes down on a 45 door towards the inside. The rodent pushes their way in through the spring-loaded door trying to get to the bait inside, but can't because it's in a serate sealed 'room' within the trap. The sound and smell of other rodents inside actually seems to encourage them in. Once inside they can't get back out since they try to push their way into the corners, in the case of the door, the corner is the hinge side, even if they got the right edge they can't push, they would have to lift it up.

The nice part about it is they are sealed in, I can check it periodically and just give it a quick rinse in the pond, guests and all, after a few minutes 'rinsing' they are disposed of suitably.

The dog has what he thinks is a better way of dealing with them, but even he can only get so many. He has definitely had an influence on the level of immigration though. ;->

Best of luck.






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 08-02-2005, 09:30 Post: 114233
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If you have pets, be careful about the stuff you're baiting with.

Most farm stores will carry bait "rodenticide". I've had my best luck with block baits. I generally get my stuff from Tractor Supply although there are none in your area unless you shop online at www.myTSCstore.com You should be able to view the 8 different varieties they carry in their catalog. Haven't had any problems in years.

Your species is different than our local variety. I have used mechanical "bear type" traps. You need to find out the types of food they like. They may not like dog food. Rats usually hang around when you have food laying around like corn, grains or feed.

From my experience, farm cats only kill the baby rats.






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 08-02-2005, 11:09 Post: 114237
AC5ZO

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I have been using kibble dog food and they hit it every time I bait a trap. I have non-trapping tubes that I bait also that are fakes. They have gotten used to walking into tubes to get baits and when they walk into my electrical contraption (3" PVC pipe with electrodes and switch) they start tugging on the dog food kibble and they get fried. Rock (grey) squirels would also probably get in these traps and they will go after dog food also.

I have been taking the dog food kibble and drilling a hole in my baits and running a piece of SS welding wire through it. Then the bait is wired to the trap trigger. When I have baited the traps without the electrical supply connected, they have actually chewed through the welding wire to take the bait home. Now that I seem to have them trained to really tug and pull on the baits, they hit my electrical trap pretty regularly. I have been wiring kibble to my mechanical rat traps also. It is more work to drill/wire kibble, but I have had cheese stolen from a few traps without it being triggered. (or a triggered trap with no rat) When my electrical apparatus gets hit, I definitely have a dead woodrat inside.

I like Murf's idea of the box trap. I think that these woodrats live in small colonies, so they might follow one another into a box trap. Now that I have the rats used to crawling into tubes to get baits, perhaps I should attach a shop vacuum to the closed end of the pipe. I would bet that a 16 gallon shop vac would hold quite a few woodrats.

I wish that we did have TSC out here. When I lived in the midwest, I used to go there all the time. There is nothing like that here. I will have a look online.






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 08-02-2005, 11:56 Post: 114238
Murf

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"I would bet that a 16 gallon shop vac would hold quite a few woodrats."

I'll bet it would too.

I had one chewed to smithereenies (an old word from the Looney Tunes cartoons) because I vacuumed up some spilled bird seed with it and the squirrels chewed their way in to get it, then made it a home after the had their fill.

My tin box trap has so far proven to be the four-legged version of Alcatraz.

Best of luck.






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 08-02-2005, 12:18 Post: 114240
Iowafun

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I used Decon in my shop to knock down the mouse population. But I put in locations where the mutts couldn't get to it.

My brother has a problem with stripies (chipmunks). His neighbor taught him a trick that has been working very good and has proven to be entertaining as well.

He takes a large old-style wash basin and fills it with water, but not to the top. He then rigs up a plank as a ramp. He covers the top of the water with sunflower seeds and makes a trail up the ramp. They go up the ramp, see the massive food in the tub and go for it. If they can swim, they survive until they get too tired to swim. Then they are gone. Fish it out using something and start all over again.

Something like that may work for your rats too. But you gott make sure the sides are steep enough that they can't climb out and deep enough they can't keep their heads above water.






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 08-03-2005, 10:04 Post: 114288
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I've got pack rats and mice. The pack rats are very smart. If you set out poison bait they will bury it or cover it in junk.

I put a rat zapper in the shed and after it bagged a couple of whoppers they covered it with rat poop and avoided it.

For the moment I am content to control the numbers with DeCon spring traps. It will catch the juveniles and the young adult rats and all the deer mice, of course.

I bait the traps with peanut butter administered with a syringe.

Mike... if you can keep the adults coming to the same trap you are doing better than I can do. And it sounds like you made the proverbial better mouse trap. My rat zappers are nowhere near that effective. I might get one carcass for every three times the things fire off.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Just For Fun Off Topic Forum

Thread 114197 Filter by Poster:
AC5ZO 9 | brokenarrow 2 | Chief 1 | DRankin 3 | funchy 1 | Iowafun 3 | JD855inWI 1 | kwschumm 3 | Murf 4 | yooperpete 2 |




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