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Sunday, November 8, 2015

the rat menace .... and the ways to get rid of them ! Mouse trap ??

The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then.  It reportedly was at  Ambassadors theatre for 22 years after its premiere in 1952, before moving next door to the atmospheric St Martin's.  The play began life as a short radio play broadcast on 30 May 1947 called Three Blind Mice in honour of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V.  It  is based on a short story, itself based on the radio play, but Christie asked that the story not be published as long as it ran as a play in the West End of London.

The love for Jerry the mouse – the fictional animated character created by William Hanna does not need any elaboration.  But their real life cousins rats are never popular… the medium-sized, long-tailed rodents are considered a menace not only for the crops but also for humans.  They destroy crops thereby denying quality food and are feared to carry diseases.

The white ones might be adorable and raised as pets in some places ~ not the common black – which is considered bad, as it destroys food and troubles humans. We find them everywhere in filthy waters, rotten food accumulation, in apartments, old houses, trains and more.  A couple of years back, there was the tragic incident of a 11 day old girl who was  born prematurely, died,  left unsupervised in a city hospital, and the corpse had been partially eaten by rodents.  Sadly it had left in a corner of the hospital’s intensive care unit overnight as the morgue reportedly was for adults only.  

The Chennai Corporation launched a drive to tackle the rat menace in the city. The drive was held by Corporation staff with a special focus on government hospitals  in the Corporation limits.  The local body  claimed it  killed a total of 2,248 rats in the week-long drive. Around 1,200 of the Corporation’s malaria workers, who also take care of rat control responsibilities placed over 26,000 traps with rat poison.

One report stated that the training revealed the intelligence of rats – at Marina, where there are many pits dug by rats – the rats inside did not get enticed by tomato but got lured by ‘dried fish’ [karuvadu].  Somehow the workers at Marina on the rat drive presented ‘an ungainly’ sight as they were not wearing gloves and had no tools – but were using sticks of trees and other things readily available to get the rats out of their holes.

Each fall, rodents, seeking shelter from the cold, take up residence in apartments across the place — gnawing on electrical wires and leaving droppings in kitchen cupboards. Spotting one of these uninvited guests scurrying under the refrigerator is unnerving enough, but the predicament takes on new urgency if you’re planning to put your apartment on the market. If you though that this description is of some unkempt place in rural India, you are sadly mistaken – it is New York.  The following is excerpted from NYTimes.com.
this photo credit : telegraph.coluk

Rodent complaints are on the rise, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with reports to the city’s 311 complaint hotline and app on pace to exceed more than 24,000 this year. Rat sightings have become so frequent that the city is spending nearly $3 million to help control the population by targeting “rat reservoirs” found in and around parks, sewers and other rodent hideouts. Take that, “Pizza Rat!”

Still, that doesn’t help if a rodent has already found its way into your apartment or house. There are myriad weapons to choose from when you are embarking on a mouse eviction — from pouches filled with essential oils designed to ward off rodents to battery-operated traps that zap mice and rats dead with a high-voltage shock. But nothing will work if you don’t begin with the basics, including rolling up the welcome mat by sealing any gaps or holes that rodents can use to get inside. Here is a guide to help keep these creatures at bay, whether you are taking up arms against them yourself, or outsourcing much of the work to a pest-control professional.

Seal Off the perimeter :  Rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, and mice can fit through cracks much smaller than that. To block rodent entryways, use steel wool and caulk to seal up small cracks and crevices around doors, windows, pipes, vents, fireplaces and holes for electrical cables. Check inside kitchen cabinets and behind appliances for gaps that may be hidden, as these areas are often left unfinished. Pay particular attention to openings where pipes meet the wall, such as under kitchen and bathroom sinks. To prevent rodents from traveling along pipes that lead from one floor to another, close up such gaps with escutcheon plates or flanges, which can be found at your local hardware store.

Starve them Out:   Eliminate access to food by placing dry goods in airtight containers, rather than the original packaging, keeping your kitchen sparkling clean and putting a lid on trash cans. One often-overlooked food source: the dog bowl. Pest control professionals point out that leaving pet food and water bowls out overnight, or during the day when no one is home, is an open invitation to rats and other vermin to help themselves to leftovers. Bird feeders are also akin to a buffet for vermin. Experts recommend keeping feeders away from the house and sealing up leaky pipes to eliminate potential water sources.

Flush them out :  Rats and mice have a heightened sense of smell, and there are a number of products designed to overwhelm their tiny nostrils with scents they can’t stand. For example, Shake-Away mouse repellent (about $8 at many hardware stores) uses granules infused with a blend of mint, cedar and rosemary oils to ward off uninvited guests without poison or traps. Similarly, earthkind’s Stay Away Rodent pouches (about $25 for a four-pack) use plant fiber and essential oils, including balsam fir, as a repellent.

Trap them :  Traditional spring-loaded mousetraps, also known as snap traps, are commonly recommended for do-it-yourself exterminators, with peanut butter as bait. Ron Harrison, an entomologist and the technical services director for Orkin, the pest control and exterminator company based in Atlanta, has found a cotton ball with a drop of water on it will also do the trick. “The mouse is looking for nesting material,” he said “and they love a little water.” Rodents tend to hug walls when traveling, so pest control experts suggest placing the trap with the bait end against the wall.

Some pest professionals recommend more aggressive measures when it comes to rats — like putting fruit or bacon out for a few days to get the rat used to eating in that location before setting the actual trap. The city even has a Rodent Academy offering free half-day courses for tenants, homeowners and building staff interested in learning about rat management. Glue or live traps should also be avoided, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as they can scare mice and cause them to urinate. “Since their urine may contain germs, this may increase your risk of being exposed to diseases,” according to the C.D.C. Rodents trapped by glue also die a slow death, usually from hypothermia, since they aren’t able to move around, which is how they maintain their body temperature, said Mr. Harrison of Orkin. Poisons or rodenticides are also problematic, and not just because of the risks they pose to children and pets. If a rat eats the bait and dies behind a wall in your home, it may rot there for days before you find its decomposing body — that is, if you ever locate it.

Why not get a cat, you might ask? Not every feline is a mouser, as dozens of videos of mouse-loving cats attest to online. And even if your cat ends up being good at catching mice, you may still be the one to clean them up, if Fifi decides to leave them on your doormat as a surprise gift.

Call in the Professionals : If all of this sounds daunting, or your efforts prove futile, it’s time to call a pest control company. You can search for licensed professionals by typing in your ZIP code at pestworld.org. Before signing a contract, however, be sure you understand the work necessary to solve the problem and what products the company plans to use. Find out if the fee covers a one-time job or subsequent visits if your problem isn’t solved on the first visit. And even if your landlord or building management firm offers routine pest management, knowing the basics will help you determine whether they are doing everything they can to eliminate the problem or just setting traps and leaving the rest to you.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th Nov. 2015.

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