At Home: Rats! One pest problem spawns another

Marni Jameson addresses how to handle rats in your house.
BY MARNI JAMESON Published: November 12, 2012
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“YEEP!” I text my oldest daughter at college.

“What? I'm in class.”

“The rat exterminator — the one who thought all rats were girls — just called to ask me out! AACH!!”

A few weeks earlier, I'd noticed the peaches in the fruit bowl had been inhumanly gnawed. I saw droppings on the counter.

I clean, sanitize, feel violated and toss the fruit bowl. Next day, the nut bowl is empty, but not by us. I call our pest control service.

That afternoon, Marissa sees the rat run under the door into the garage.

Next morning, the Rat Man arrives. I show him where I'd found evidence. “She might be getting in here,” he says looking at the holes around the sink pipes.

“How do you know it's a she?” I ask.“All rats are shes,” he says.

He sets out three sticky traps the size of shoe box lids. As he's leaving, I ask what I'm supposed to do when the rat gets caught.

“We just set the traps,” he says. “Have your husband take it out.”

I say something about my husband only being here weekends. He says he'll check back in a couple days.

That evening, Marissa and I come home to the trapped rat. We scream. I call my best friend. She says I need to show my daughter how to handle this. I look out onto my street, and see a young couple on an evening stroll. I dash out, extend my hand, and say, “Maybe you can help me.”

Valiantly, the tall, strong man armed with nothing more than two paper towels, picks up the trap, and swiftly disposes of it all.

Next day Rat Man calls. I share the good news. He says he should come over and do a thorough inspection to see if he can find where the rat had been getting in.

“No need. I'm pretty sure it was under the door to the garage. I'll get that weatherstripped.”

A few days later, he calls again. “I'm not having any more critter problems, thank you,” I say, and hang up.

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