When to Run Screaming to the Phone and Call an Exterminator
By : Rita Stadler
You wake in the middle of the night. Something is moving in the house. It sounds like it may be coming from the kitchen. You roll out of bed and pick up the baseball bat that you keep in your closet for just this occasion.
Moving stealthily down the hallway, you approach the kitchen, your heart pounding and palms sweating. Bat poised, you reach for the light switch ready to swing away at the intruder. The bright lights come on and instead of a burglar you find another kind of intruder. Mice!
Sitting there, staring right back at you, are three mice, evidently enjoying a late night repast of chocolate chip cookies left over from dinner. You approach menacingly and the mice, knowing that they have overstayed their welcome, drop their uneaten cookie meals and scamper out of sight.
You clean up the mess and do a cursory search, but find no further evidence of the mousey interlopers. You head back to bed, but murder is on your mind for the rest of the night. Your last thought before falling back to sleep is, “Tomorrow will be their final day in this house”.
With the dawn of the new day you return to the kitchen to plan your battle. “Let’s see. Find the holes and seal them up. Put out mouse bait and snap traps. Maybe buy a cat.” You head to the hardware store and purchase all your weapons with the exception of the cat.
Returning home you look under the sink and apply some expanding foam to fill in the hole where the plumbing comes through the wall. You apply foam until it looks like an ugly tumorous growth coming out of the wall. You lay out several trays of mouse bait and set two or three snap traps with globs of peanut butter on the triggers. Satisfied that you will quickly resolve the issue, you settle in for the night.
And, aren’t you surprised when the attack on your food pantry reoccurs that very evening? Not one trap has been set off and the mouse bait is still untouched. You redouble your efforts the following day. You think you’ve loading up your kitchen with enough traps and rodent bait to take down a battalion of mice, but much to your chagrin, the problem does not get any better.
After spending nearly a hundred dollars on your efforts, this is about the time where you pull your hair and yell, “I can’t take it anymore.” Now you’re faced with some serious expenditures because you have decided to call in the pest control professionals.
Note to homeowners: Before attempting to control a pest, learn about it. You just think you know about mice, but did you know that mice stay within 25 feet of their nests their entire lives? Did you know when baiting a trap you should use the exact same food the mice have been eating? Most people immediately bait with peanut butter. Did you know that mice have bad eyesight, so you need to position traps perpendicular and touching the wall? Did you know that mice will eat right through foam filler? Did you know that you should begin your mouse extermination by closing up holes found along the outside foundations of the house before you do any other closure work? And, did you know that mice can get through holes the size of a dime?
Lastly, I never recommend using rodent bait inside a home. The mice can chew on the bait and move it to other areas. They can easily drop the baits directly on dishes on in pots or pans. You could inadvertently cook the poison into your next meal.
You don’t need to run to the phone to solve your pest problem, but you do need to run to your computer to learn about the pest you are attempting to control. Understanding the habits of your target pest will result in victory every time.
Blog written by Rick Steinau a professional pest control expert. Check out his site for more information on pests of all kinds. www.asktheexterminator.com