Many folks in the Kootenays may not be aware that Nelson is in the midst of a rat epidemic, it started in the Uphill area and its spread fast going from seeing my first wild rat in Nelson ever to seeing a minimum of 5 a night. Its a little scary with which the problem is both growing and spreading but most of all its terrifying just how little the city seems to be handling it. Rats cause serious damage to anything they come into contact with they urinate and crap on everything your vegetables kids toys tools and so on they can carry and spread some terrifying diseases the most famous of which was the black death that annihilated most of Europe back in the day.
In this post I’m going to show you how to make one of the best and most versatile rodent baits that are non harmful to pets and natures other creatures. with the exception of rats and mice. In fact they would have to in just a whole bunch of it to have any adverse side effects and best of all this S___t works!!!
First a little history and background (if not interested you can skip ahead to the DIY portion of this post.)
I experienced something this summer that I was completely unprepared for. RATS!! Big freaking rats! I’ve lived in this area for most of my life, I’ve had some sort of interaction with just about every critter who call this region of southern B.C. home, one notable exception was RATS!
I hate rats, and that’s something new because until this past summer I really did not mind them friends had some as pets in my younger days and my experience with these little servant of Satan were overall positive.
Enter 2020, Pandemic hit and like many others I decided to use the time to shore up the garden, Id been wanting to do it and the pandemic, rising food costs, shortages was just the motivation I needed to move it up my “To-Do” list.
So with the help of family we put together a rather nice vegetable garden if I do say so myself.
Automated fertilizing, smart phone enabled self watering system (DIY no pre manufactured kits for me) things were going amazing I was ready for most pests with a couple notable exceptions one was onion worms and the other F_____g RATS.
I lost a few onions from the worms but the real damage was the little vermin who have seriously laid siege to the Queen City and taken over in short order. I was woefully unprepared for them they never once crossed my mind, I’ve gardened for decades all my life I worked in a garden center for 10 plus years if its plant related I’ve probably heard of it (I was good at my job) By the time I was able to pin down what the problem was, it was by all intents and purposes too late. |
The garden was dialed in drip irrigation, micro sprinklers, misters, sprayers, drippers, ground cloth, and fenced to keep most everything out an electric fence (added while trying to figure out who was trashing the vegetables)
Where were situated there are two Mulberry trees both in neighbors yards but on separate streets, for the most part they go un harvested so there’s always critters around and until now have really not been any kind of issue. unfortunately that was before rats moved into Nelson and made it their own.
I was seeing rats all over in fact the neighbors dog killed one my dad somehow stepped on another one while working in the back yard, I saw them running the fence and house foundations but I was not worried the house is pretty secure Im careful there are cats around, it never crossed my mind that they would hit the garden.
I first noticed the cabbage was torn apart first to go was my prized one of course (Im seriously cursed) but I assumed a skunk was sneaking in (enter electric fence zap phew tee hee )
But it didn’t stop it, a long story short it was the rats they had moved into the neighborhood gorging themselves on the mulberries at night I can go outside in the dark (light sends them running) and you can hear them up in the trees munching and chewing you see them take off running scared along fences, bird feeders gardens and so on I’ve seen them on a security camera I set up so I could see a skunk issue before letting the pooch out.
They avoid traps like the plague I’ve seen them sneak the bait off even when tied in place I’ve seen them come flying out of nowhere run straight at and across the rat trap springing it then returning to eat the bait (I got that on video its actually impressive) I’ve seen them see a trap climb up a trestle over the top of the trap then come back down on the other side.
I’ve even seen one take a full jolt of 120v shoot straight up in the air come back down and walk it off like nothing happened.
Nothing and I mean NOTHING was working they were trashing my garden they ate all the broad beans they totaled the cabbage they ate bites out of nearly every tomato they devastated the pole beans and most maddening was they demolished the corn and all of this in a very short period of time and always right before harvest.
Id not put two and two together with the rats and corn until one day in the back yard in another section I watched a mouse climb up a stalk of wheat bending it over and when the top came to the ground take some seeds off and scurry away.
I put out more traps I sprinkled cayenne and other peppers around the garden I put out Diatomaceous earth (hurt their nose etc) I lowered the electric fence I moved stuff they could call home I set up spot lights and sonic vermin emitters.
I mixed the most insane hot sauce and cayenne pepper into water filtered and added to the garden irrigation every inch of space had been coated in liquid hellfire.
Nothing even slowed them down. in fact the night time encounters increased and they they were clearly multiplying I the neighbors yards sounded like there was a bear munching trash but it was the rats and I have to tell you its unnerving to walk outside at night knowing there are tons of rats not only on the ground but above you in the trees….!
I do not like using rodenticides because poison is non target specific and can have unexpected and undesirable effects on other creatures, though I was seriously seriously tempted.
So I started experimenting with a bait I’ve used with great success on mice for that you can watch the youtube video here: https://youtu.be/oyMkCm-xf2I
Using that basic recipe as the base I played around with different foods to to deploy the bait and what I came up with is seriously amazing it kills them dead, it does not make them sick so they trust the bait stations all the wile they are stuffing their faces they pack in more and more and in approximately 4 days later they are no longer a problem. it works so well in fact I heard shouts from neighbors several houses away where someone found a dead rat and was calling others in the home to come see.
that’s the kicker with these 4 legged demon spawn is you can have your home and yard dialed and loaded for bear but if others around you are not most likely totally unaware there is a Rat epidemic then you may as well do nothing because they will keep returning.
ok on to the DIY portion.
Do it yourself mouse and RAT bait
The base is made from equal parts flour and plaster of paris, alternativly equal parts flour and baking soda ( NOT baking powder)
This bait works by disrupting the rodents digestive system and it does so in such a way as to not cause harm to cats owls, hawks, dogs, etc that will inevitably happen across a very lethargic rodent that is usually no longer thinking correctly and wander out in the open or cannot flee as fast as they normally do.
The plaster of paris in its dry form is tasteless and mixes well in the flour after ingestion it enters the digestive system and then when they drink its activated and dries quickly in place the rodent dies shortly afterwards but because it does not make them sick if only trying a taste they come back again and again to the bait station. and the amounts ingested are too small to harm most other animals.
Baking soda and flour works a little different the rodent eats it and the baking soda reacts with the stomach acid of the hell spawn (rodent) and because rats etc cannot expel gas like other critters dogs, cats, uncle lester etc, it leads to their demise.
Those are the base ingredients and if you have looked around you might have seen people recommending adding coco, peanut butter and or sugar to entice them in well yes those work but I’ve better things to mix in that is guaranteed to draw more varmints to your bait stations than.
you can add them in varying amounts usually the more the better you want them to smell it a ways off you want it to not spoil you want it to stay dry you want to put out something they will like and tell their friends.
The list is as follows:
Add the following to your base mix be sure to mix thoroughly you want every morsel to be dusted in the mix. the Base mix should make up the majority of the bait say 85% or more the additions are simply to sweeten the deal ensure return customers and enhance word of mouth
Ramen noodles: ya those cheap bachelor/ college student 25cent soup packs. while still sealed crush the noodles up until you have pieces about a centimeter or less long not s small its powder but not so big they would feel unsafe eating in place. and don’t forget the flavor pack that’s the crack right there, Rodents will move heaven and earth for flavor packs
Bird seed: yep those bags or boxes of either wild bird seed or budgie food you can buy at most any grocery or big box store its cheap. Rodents love this stuff they will do crazy stuff to get into bird feeders to get it. The key here is to mix enough to draw them in but not so much they can choose to eat just the seeds. While they do ingest some of the base that’s coated on the seeds you want to make sure they are eating more base than seed.
Kraft dinner: cheese macaroni flavor pack dump a package or two in with your base depending on how much base your making, again you want it to be more flavor than plaster Rodents love this stuff well more than cheese on a trap (not as much as ramen flavor packs though)
Powdered chicken soup stock: this is essentially another version of flavor pack but it is also slightly different more likely you have it already, comes in bigger sizes and is usually stronger than the flavor packs. Vegetable or chicken have the bet results.
Dried cereal, corn flakes, total, harvest crunch etc the flakes cereals have the best results over other types, try to keep the bran levels low though as thats defeating the whole purpose of the bait station.
Nuts n Bolts: the classic snack again the cheese version is the best but only marginally over original (rodents are not as big into cheese as cartoons and pop culture would have you believe and will usually take something else over cheese if given the choice. With the exception of KD powdered cheddar that stuff is crack to a rodent, I’ve seen them choose through serious boxes in order to gat at it.
Crushed up: potato chips, hickory sticks, torta chips (nachos) the crumbs in the bottom of the bag or crush them up to about one cm or 1/4 inch pieces.
Beef Jerky: As long as its the dry style and not overly garlicky (also works on the traps too) Rodents actually love meat I’ve seen them do crazy stuff to get at it. rip it up if its stringy or chop it up if its not. make the pieces with your targets mouth in mind.
Malted Barley: your local brew shop or natural foods section in the grocery store have barley usually in bulk. ad a 1/4 cup to a 1 cup (ea) batch of the base bait mix and watch the trail to this station become a super highway. Rats and Mice love this S___t. Its a common waste product for those brewing beer, so if you have a friend with that hobby your all set just make sure its in its dry form as using wet will activate the plaster of paris long before the rodent ingests it.
Use shallow pans like muffin pie pans, meat pie pans lids off jars the bottoms off pop bottles anything that does not have a high side wall so they don’t just spill it which whey will eventually do anyway but the longer it stays in place the more effective it will be.
KEEP IT DRY: it should go without saying much like do not ingest on tubes of hemorrhoid cream Preparation H, but I will say it anyway. Keep it out of the open the lest moisture the better or it will harden or crust over and not be effective.
Don’t make it overly obvious: remember they live in the shadows they do not like being exposed and are very wary of sudden gifts you also don’t want to hide it too much either indoors on shelves in crawl spaces under cupboards behind boxes in attics somewhere sheltered dark quiet etc.
An updated version of the original pet safe Rat bait, seriously the best way to kill rats Ive seen.