I named it Lucifer because it couldn’t help being evil. I’m talking about the rat I could hear scrabbling around beneath the heater vent in my kitchen every morning. It didn’t mean any harm, but the rustles and occasional squeaks were too much for me—it had to go.
As it turned out, my first move didn’t involve a pest control company. Before I could set traps, I had to deal with the brand-new front door dug directly beneath my front door.
Before the rains came, these holes were caked with tufts of fur, eliminating any doubt that they were at least one major point of entry. When I first noticed the holes, I tried to plug them by putting heavy pots filled with soil on top. Then, I lodged bricks and other odds and ends into any smaller openings I could find. But as any pest expert can tell you, rats are too smart, determined and nimble to be deterred by half measures. Lucifer just burrowed around my roadblocks. It was time to call the pros.
As with any remodeling project, I sought out three estimates. The clear winner was Bay Area Deck, a company that, in addition to decks, does general carpentry and remodeling projects. While owner John Grivas’ estimate wasn’t the lowest, it was the most comprehensive. In addition, he was always friendly, knowledgeable and available to answer the phone.
For this project, Bay Area Deck would have to extend the foundation of my front stairs by sinking concrete down into the ground. On the first dry day of the new year, John and his carpenter, Matt Genna, arrived promptly at 8am. They spent the next few hours pouring two concrete rodent blocks around the open areas of the stairway foundation. They also blocked areas that were only accessible from underneath the house. Finally, they saturated all of the wood framing (and soil) beneath the house with Copper-Green, a water-repellant wood preservative.
The entire project took about four hours and I hardly noticed the guys were there (except to take their photos and chat). John came back a few days later to clean up and check that the concrete had set properly. Now that the entry points were sealed, I set the rat traps.
I know Lucifer isn’t actually evil. Still, I’m grateful that I haven’t heard a squeak or scrabble since the holes were filled.