Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Q: I’ve been working with another agent on the Island but she told me I should call you for a second opinion.

I was going to buy a little house here but it had rats. I won’t live in a place with rats. I have a condo in Seattle right now. I really like Vashon but as much as I want to retire out here I just can’t handle rats. The sellers were going to do some kind of extermination but the rats could come back later. My agent says that rats are no big deal here and that everyone has them. I’m shocked by that. So what do you think?

A: Well first, I will agree with your agent that most homes have some rodent activity. Our “furry friends” are very clever, are omnivores and opportunistic. That’s why they’ve been here forever and will likely outlive our species. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t effective ways to control them and keep them out of your house.

A good pest control person can find all of the pathways and entrances that are allowing rodents to enter a home attic or crawlspace. We have mice here too, and they are very different than rats and take different approaches to control. If the seller was willing to complete the extermination and if you had been willing to follow the pest company’s recommendations, you would have been fine.

It might surprise you to learn that Seattle is full of rats and mice. Even condos. In fact, the city has the large, rather ugly (no, I’ll change that to really ugly) Norway or wharf rats. We have the more attractive looking roof rats. We also have several varieties of mice, most of them very cute, except in your pantry.

In my opinion you should learn more about rodents and how to control them. They really are everywhere. Just because you don’t see them living in a condo doesn’t mean they aren’t in the basement, roof and other places. At least if you have your own house you can have some control over them.