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Mothballs for rats

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Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:01 am


So now I'm fighting a major rat problem. Between the snap traps and pellet gun I'm picking them off pretty regularly but I think I have to up the ante a lot. I'm keeping the feed in plastic totes which seemed to reduce the activity in the feed shed and I'm making regular inspections to keep the rabbit colony, chicken coops and turkey shed patched up and as inaccessible as possible. Glue traps are useless and I"m going to get more snap traps and lay them around everywhere.

I don't know much about mothballs but it has been suggested by a couple of people. I won't put them around my other animals but I was thinking of putting them down the rat holes. How long to they last and do they have any long lasting adverse affects on the soil and surrounding area?

The next step is to get an outdoor cat or two.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:47 am


You too, eh? We've been fighting the rats here for months. From what I've heard, they are particularly numerous this year. These things seem to go in cycles.

I've heard mothballs help, but I don't know about the long term effects of using them. If you're looking for a reliable repellent, there is a product called Critter Ridder that does seem to help. It smells ghastly.

Snap traps seem to catch mainly young rats. The older one are sometimes too wily to go near them. Changing the baits from time to time seems to help. I've used a mix of peanut butter and brown sugar with good results, also dates. They're good because they can be pushed well into the little bait-cup and rats do seem to have a sweet tooth. They also love fresh meat, but of course it doesn't stay fresh long.

I'm almost desperate enough to try glue traps, at least in the kitchen where I can dispatch any caught that way quickly. I can't imagine letting even rats stay there stuck until they die or chew off legs to get free. Why did you find them useless, Truckinguy?

Dropping poison - the one-feeding kind - down the rat holes will probably help, but you'll have to keep an eye open for dead and dying rats if you have any pets or livestock that might eat them.

We have used a 50/50 mix of plaster of Paris and icing sugar. The rats love the stuff and their numbers do decrease when we are diligent about it. The plaster does something to their chemical balance that kills them. It's probably not very humane, but you can get desperate enough to try darned near anything.

The very best solution is a resident mink or weasel. I think this is our fourth rat invasion in the sixteen years we have been here. They were here when we bought the place. A mink or weasel taking up residence cleans them out in a hurry. I know they are a threat to chickens or baby rabbits, but I've never had a problem with them as long as there were rats to eat.

The problem with rats is that they are smart and wary. Mice, by comparison, are stupid and curious. Much easier to trap.
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Homer » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:56 am


I had them bad in the shop (were I keep the rabbits) this fall. You would see and gear them everywhere. Floor, walls, ceiling etc. I tried Tomcat bait blocks and it was worthless. They wouldn't even try a bite...more research...

Picked up a few packets of what I grew up calling "Magic Milo" (poisoned grain) and cleared them out in two days. CyKill is the brand name and got a few here to give it a try. https://www.ebay.com/itm/CyKill-Bromethalin-Pellet-Packs-8-Packs-FREE-SHIP-75-oz-EA-Rat-Mouse-Poison/192129344359?hash=item2cbbcd2367:g:ti8AAOSw4A5YxvkI Put out 3 packets in hidden (kind of) places and the second day walked around with a bucket and picked up 19 of them!

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take_that_small.gif (33.35 KiB) Viewed 423 times


My rabbits don't get on the floor (they go outside to the rabbit tractors) so wasn't worried about that and the cat that sleeps with them is so old he doesn't care if a mouse, or a rat cruises by or not. lol The bunny barn is quite again. :yes:
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#4  Unread postby shazza » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:23 pm


we had a bad rat issue this summer, found they were living in the hay bales in the shed and once we threw that out they seemed to have left. a couple were living under the house too, but i guess they left as i haven't heard anything under there in months. we tried poison, and found a few of 'em dead, but i learned that poison takes long enough to kill them that owls, hawks, and other animals are eating the rats that have been poisoned which in turn poisons the predator. and less predators means more rats. i wouldn't go for the poison option if i didn't have to. cats are their own environmental hazard but they're a little bit less destructive, at least to large endangered predators. if you can have cats, that is - my landlord won't let us, so i'm glad the rats left of their own accord.
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#5  Unread postby a7736100 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:35 pm


I keep feed in a steel garbage can. Few years ago when I had so many outdoor rats that raided the rabbit cages in broad daylight, Tomcat worked well enough to get rid of most of them. My indoor/outdoor cat sure didn't scare them. This year the house got infested by mice. They didn't even touch the Tomcat once. Snap traps got a few but they multiplied faster than they got killed. It got so bad I was seeing them run around daily. Finally I let a feral cat in the house and within a couple days I stopped seeing mice. There are still signs of mice but at least they risk being cat food. The feral cat is now a pet cat. I hope she stays a good mouser. Having a cat sleeping on my bed is sure much better than having a mouse running on top of me at night.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:01 pm


Maggie, I found that the glue traps cought a couple of mice bu,t no rats in spite of leaving them where I knew the rats ran from hole to hole in the feed shed. They were pushed aside but no rats. The mice i dispatched with a pellet gun but I knew they were probably there for a while...eg, part of the night. It broke my heart to see the little critters all stuck to the traps in weird positions with their heads caught in the glue. I abhor glue traps but I was desperate enough to give them a try. They also seemed to collect a lot of dust bunnies, flies and other flotsam that seemed to be kicking around. They are now in the garbage.

I do remember a conversation we had a while ago (last year?) talking about the minks I had and you said you would put up with a mink and sacrifice a couple of chickens if it would keep the rats away...lol

I put out the grains for the chickens in the morning then go fill up the feeder with pellets. When I come back the rats and already into the grains and scatter when they see me. They are out during the day now and even run right by me as if they don't care.

I forgot about the plaster of paris and icing sugar, might try that next.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Marinea » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:31 am


By any chance is the feed shed at all elevated off the ground? We had success in the past with a bucket of water under one of their holes for going in and out.
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:16 am


Marinea wrote:By any chance is the feed shed at all elevated off the ground? We had success in the past with a bucket of water under one of their holes for going in and out.


No, it's on 24'x30' patio slabs. I don't build anything here that is elevated because it gives critters a place to hide under although the rats dig under the patio slabs anyway. In the last nine months I have takes about 12 five gallon pails of dirt out of the feed shed. I think by now they should be halfway to China.

I did put a garden hose into one of the holes under the turkey shed and let it run for about 20 minutes. After a few minutes three rats came bolting out of another hole on the other side of the shed. hope I flooded it out good and maybe soaked a couple of nests in there.

I also might build a bucket trap with water in it and bait on the top. Apparently they work real good although with winter upon us here the water will probably freeze. Might try it anyway.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:21 pm


I also might build a bucket trap with water in it and bait on the top. Apparently they work real good although with winter upon us here the water will probably freeze. Might try it anyway.


Salt in the water might help keep it from freezing. I've never had much luck with bucket traps -- I might be doing something wrong -- so please post details if you have success with it. I have heard that sinking the bucket in the ground so they can jump in from ground level helps, but I haven't tried that.
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Shea » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:58 pm


If you have a Co2 extinguisher or access to dry ice you could try to suffocate them. Block off all the holes you know of and empty the extinguisher down one or fill with the dry ice. Co2 tends to be heavier then air so it should fill the tunnels and deprive them of o2.
This way you dont risk poisoning anything/one.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:18 pm


Shea wrote:If you have a Co2 extinguisher or access to dry ice you could try to suffocate them. Block off all the holes you know of and empty the extinguisher down one or fill with the dry ice. Co2 tends to be heavier then air so it should fill the tunnels and deprive them of o2.
This way you dont risk poisoning anything/one.


That's a good idea, I never thought of that. Might scare the crap out of the rabbits, though...lol

__________ Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:18 pm __________

About a week ago I put out a bowl of icing sugar and plaster of paris mixed 50/50 and set up my game camera in the garage. That night it took pictures of many rats going about their business in the garage and sampling the yummy mixture. Last night I put the game camera out there in the same spot and it took no pictures after the initial one of my face looking into the camera as I set it up...lol. Not sure if that means that there are no rats out there now but I'll set the camera up out there again tonight just to see. If it works I'll set out bowls in the feed shed and turkey shed and see what happens.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#12  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:44 pm


That sounds very promising, Truckinguy. :goodjob:

As a more complete test, you should mix up some more and put it in the garage as you did before. You want to be sure the reason there were no pictures of rats last night wasn't just because there was no bait.

Check out this site for more DIY rat baits. Baking soda can be bought in bulk at some feed stores. Baking soda and sugar is good to kill ants too.
https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rat-Poison
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Truckinguy » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:53 am


Maggie, I left the dish out there all week and the level went down a bit and there was mixture on the floor around it so I know they were constantly feeding on it. I caught one rat on camera last night actually perched on the edge of the dish. Just one rat, though, so that was encouraging. Now I just have to put dishes out in the turkey shed and feed shed and hopefully that will cut down the numbers. Non of the other animals can access the dish from those two buildings.

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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#14  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:01 am


That's great, Truckinguy, knowing the mix is working. We don't have a game cam so I was never sure how effective it really was. It certainly reduced our rat population, but by how much?

The new commercial poisons are so powerful that I am reluctant to use them if other methods can work. The danger of secondary poisoning of wildlife and domestic animals worries me. Of course, if the rats eat their dead comrades--and they do, every chance they get--I suppose they would die of secondary poisoning too.

Note to myself to mix up another batch of plaster and sugar very soon.
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Re: Mothballs for rats

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Rainey » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:07 pm


We resorted to commercial poison late this fall when we had a rat infestation that escalated very quickly. We'd been careless about keeping up with the plaster of Paris/powdered sugar mix. Have gone back to that and will try to keep a constant supply out. So easy to forget when you're not seeing any rats and then suddenly there are hordes of them. We also found it worked for chipmunks. I know they're cute (unlike rats) but a couple years ago they had a population explosion and were messing in my flower gardens and eating the chicken feed--and hosting the ticks that carry Lyme. Anyway that is one of my favorite things I've learned here on RT--the plaster & sugar rodent solution.

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