Hickory, Dickory Dock The mouse ran up the clock The clock struck one The mouse ran down Hickory Dickory Dock
As children, we may remember our folks reading this nursery rhyme to us as we made our way to bed. Our little minds visualizing a cute, tiny and unassuming little mouse scampering up and down the clock only to, upon the sound of its one o’clock chime, quickly scurry out of the home into a wooded fairy la….well, you get the idea. Now hearing this Mother Goose tale and living through a real mouse or rat running around your house is another thing. An experience that I had just a few short weeks ago, in my own living room!
I had just returned home from one of my many business trips, speaking and teaching our service personnel how to, in fact, deal with rodents and other uninvited guests. Being drained after a long drive I decided to hit the sack early. I said good night to my family and remember thinking that there was nothing better than sleeping in your own bed after a long road trip. I settled into my California King and drifted off to a much-deserved night’s sleep.
It’s one thing to be awoken from a deep sleep but, it’s another to be awoken with screams of “Get out, get out…Jaaaack”! Now, before you read this and panic, understand that ‘Jack’ is my Lab/Shepherd mixed breed and the chaos that I was so rudely awoken to was coming from a rat that was running around my living room. Jack was trying to make short work of this little guy, snarling and snapping while my wife was climbing onto the couch and my child screaming, “Get it, get it! Get it Dad!” I sprang from my bed and sprinted into the living room to join the chaos, tossing dining room chairs as I attempted to corner the little villain. Finally, I trapped it into a plastic bag and gave him a new home outside.
Hoping to spare you from a similar fate, I would like to offer some suggestions to keep any potential uninvited guests from visiting you during the cold nights of winter. This time of year rats, mice and larger critters such as raccoons and possums like to find warm places to settle down, raise new families, find much needed food and simply get out of the cold. To them your home fits the bill as they look for ways to gain entry.
Potential entry points can be crawlspace or basement doors, attic gable vents, dryer vents and poorly maintained doorway thresholds. Cutting back overhanging tree limbs and sealing utility wires or pipes leading into wall voids will deter any unfriendly critter from using these overlooked entry points. Smaller rodents like rats and mice need only ¼ - ½ inch to squeeze through and gain entry. Regularly checking these spots can give you enough time to make repairs or close off openings long before they become a ‘doorway’ for rodents. Additionally, pet food left outside can provide a much needed food source for hungry rodents looking for a quick meal. Remembering to collect the pet’s dish after they eat can diminish your home’s chances of being invaded by a thankful rat or mouse.
By taking a few minutes to identify these conditions or entry points, you can avoid encountering uninvited guests of your own interrupting a much deserved ‘Good Night’s Sleep’.
By Joan Casanova, Bonnie Plants,
Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Plants, Inc.
Shorter days and cooler temperatures mean gardeners everywhere can flex their green thumb to squeeze every last moment out of the growing season. The experts at Bonnie Plants offer some fall gardening tips.
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