Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So the latest problem with my rental/landlord, not counting the fact that our house is probably in *mortgage default*, is that we have some rodent infestation.

At night, some critter crawls out from under the appliances and makes a whole lot of noise. It's gone dumpster-diving in my trash and whatnot. I set mousetraps but they've been set off three times without a kill. Methinks it's a very large rat or a squirrel. Anyways, it's a real pain in the a$$ having to make sure all the cabinets are closed and taking the trash out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Furthermore, there's an animal in the rafters of my bedroom. I can hear it late at night as it scampers across the ceiling and rattles my light fixtures.

Let the record show that I tried to deal at least with the former issue myself before notifying the landlord.

An exterminator came today:

Exterminator - You've got mice in the kitchen....the droppings are right there.

CaptiousNut - Those are old 'droppings', I think.

Exterminator -You've got squirrels in the rafters too?

CaptiousNut - Yeah. Well, aren't they right there in the yard (pointing to two)....Can't you close up the holes (in the eaves) and easily lock them out?

Exterminator - Ah, no, the squirrels you've got in there are 'flying squirrels'....they are nocturnal.

I pressed him on that last *line* a bit. I think he was trying to tell me that the squirrels in my roof were sleeping THERE during the day. I smelled hucksterism but what do I care, as the savvy non-owner of the house, I wasn't going to pay for this.

What I can't stand is the template sales pitch from these guys. All they do is say *you've got droppings here* and *droppings there*. This SCATOLOGIST went on the roof, looked at the eaves, and declared that not only did he find squirrel droppings in the holes, but that he could tell what KIND OF SQUIRREL they were from.

Now we do have a problem here. But if we didn't, that same guy would come out and with great ease magically diagnose the same exact infestation. They take advantage of people like my MIL who's petrified of even cute little baby rats.

He told me that to clean out the house, it would cost $700!!!

I can't imagine my landlord paying that. But still, if he doesn't take care of the problem, my November 1st rent check will be *late*.

But getting back to the rodent hucksters....

This exterminator dude also informed me that he charges $600, SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS(!!!), to remove a hornets' nest. To think that I thought the exterminator I met in the Hamptons was a crook for charging $200 per hive!

AND, he told me that, upon thinking about it, he once got rid of squirrels from this very house about 3 years ago - before I was here.


Why pay all that money if the guy already has an admitted record of failing to permanently fix the exact same problem.

Well, because there's a kernel of truth in all alarmism - that's why it's so dangerous.

Apparently squirrels teeth are always growing. So they need to chew on hard objects to whittle them down. Often(?) they chew through wires, electrocute themselves, cause a short circuit, and burn houses down.

All of that was pointed out to me by the exterminator, a man who said he was also a volunteer firefighter ergo he knew what he was talking about.

I did a quick google confirm of this. Link:

According to the US Fire Administration there are usually about 120,000 residential fires of "unknown cause" each year in the US. Since 25% of house fires of "unknown cause" are attributed to squirrels and other rodents chewing on wiring, that’s possibly up to 30,000 house fires each year in the U.S. as a result of inadequate squirrel control, mice control, or rat control.

And I guess the guy wasn't BS'ing me about the so-called nocturnal flying squirrel:

Flying squirrels are completely nocturnal so they are very rarely seen. These squirrels spend the daylight hours resting comfortably in the insulation of your attic. About an hour after sunset the squirrels will emerge from the attic to go out and feed in the wooded areas that surround your home.

And I also discovered they are very common in my area.

We'll conclude this post with a funny, from one of the pest control companies' websites:

Not for anything, but when we had a rodent problem at my past rental...

Our Chinese landlord handled it completely by himself! I kid you not.

See the savory comment thread on - Second Career Roadkill.

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