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Lesson of the Rat

The National Pest Control Company once mentioned herein has asked me to take down this page. I won't. I detest bad customer service. I did remove their name and I will say that it is not Terminex.

dead rat in my living room

Know that I am not a bitch. I only complain about companies when I have a legitimate gripe--I don't make up fake things to get free stuff in return.

I have carpenter ants--huge, nasty, scary, not something you can get rid of on your own.. A few years ago when we first had them, we called a local place called xxxxx Pest Control. They were excellent. They came out right away and went over the house extensively, figuring out where the ants were tunneling and where they had come from. They came out every month for a year and sprayed. We ended up having to take down the front porch (and then we found the bear, that's another story!) but that wasn't xxxxx Pest Control's fault--they probably kept someone from getting injured since they realized that the porch was totally rotted underneath from the ants' tunneling.

So when we found carpenter ants again, I immediately called the same place. It turns out XXXXX, a national exterminator company, had bought them. XXXXX advertises extensively as being great at killing bugs, so I went with it. They gave me an appointment time of anywhere between 12 and 5. That seemed like a very long range. I stayed home and waited. And waited. The guy finally showed up at 4:50 and stayed over an hour. I was supposed to meet someone at six for a movie, and have dinner BEFORE that, but I was late and got no dinner (not that I'll waste away from missing a meal, it's the POINT--if they say 12-5, you figure the guy will be done and out of there by 5, not arrive at 5!). But that's not enough to make me put up an angry web page.

The pest-control guy did not do any kind of inspection to figure out where the ants came from or what part of my home they are currently destroying. He put some kind of sticky ant bait in some of the windows, but not every window (in the bird room, he did some of the front windows but not the side, I don't think he did the kitchen windows at all, nor did he do the bathroom window). I am of course concerned about bait and poison because I have cats and parrots so I was watching him. I also told him we have an occasional mouse problem (although it's been a year or more since the cats got a mouse, maybe the mice have learned not to come in.)

Of course the man's answer was that the ants are eating the cat food and bird food and I have to get rid of my pets. That's bullshit. I've had my birds for SIXTEEN YEARS and this is only the SECOND time we've gotten carpenter ants--and carpenter ants eat WOOD, my birds eat PELLETS which contain zero wood, and the cats eat MEAT which also, last time I checked, was not wood.

The guy then suggested that I must have dug up something in the yard that disturbed the ants. I said I hadn't. He said that was the only reason they'd come in (except, apparently, to eat the wooden food of my parrots and my cats). And then he confessed that he's a "termite guy" who doesn't really know anything about ants. Great. And how could I have forgotten? He gave me some ANT TRAPS. For $371 I got ANT TRAPS and goop on SOME of my windows. And I still have carpenter ants tunneling somewhere in my home.

He also tried to get me to pay him directly to do the treatment for less on the side. Very unprofessional.

I am unemployed. $371 is a lot of money for me to spend on something, especially when he didn't tell me what the ants are destroying (and since they are still here a month later, the destruction is continuing). And the company wants to come every other month for another chunk of change I haven't got.

However, this is not enough to piss me off to put up this page either.

Early this morning, the day after the "pay me on the side directly" jerk's visit, I was fast asleep. My husband was leaving for work. I have a friend from Florida coming in this afternoon and I have to pick her up at the airport, and I was sleeping in since we are staying up late to do a blue moon ritual tonight. Suddenly my husband yelled. And no, he's not a wimpy girly-man who yells a lot. I thought one of our pets had died--the last time he woke me up yelling, my red lory Scarlett had died. I went running down the stairs and he said "watch your step in the living room."

AND THERE WAS A GIANT DEAD RAT ON MY LIVING ROOM FLOOR. On my ugly area rug that I adore.

A fucking rat. And yes, I just swore.

We saw a rat in the yard last year, and I'd found a small one dead in the driveway, also last year. (We live near the Quinnipiac River, and if you stand on the bridge on Quinnipiac Street long enough you'll see a brown rat, so I guess they came from there.) But I have never ever ever in my whole life had a rat in my dwelling. And the XXXXX guy knew we occasionally get mice (which don't gross me out, I try to catch them and set them free) and SAID he set traps. Right.

Rats in their natural habitat don't gross me out. Rats in the pet store don't gross me out.

Rats in my living room not only gross me out, they PISS ME OFF.

So at 6:45 a.m. I was on the phone to XXXXX complaining to a very nice lady about my giant dead rat which was STILL WARM. Oh god, it was SO GROSS! I think I lost a year off my life with heart palpitations. I am terrified to go into my basement. Every time I step on something I think it's a dead rat. My poor husband DID step on it, and I don't think he's recovered yet. And the lady was indeed very kind, but she did NOTHING.

And I just realized I can't step on that section of rug. I keep stepping over it. I am going to have to throw out my beloved rug, and it was $200 and I like it (it looks kind of ugly but works in my living room). I've left the computer several times while writing this and I cannot put my bare foot where the rat was, even though I sprayed lots of Lysol (I hate Lysol, but it's the only thing I could think of).

I don't know if my cats could have caught some disease since the rat was bloody from a bite. Usually my cats don't bite the mice, they run them to death (I saw them do it once). So one of my brave kitties fought this thing, which weighed about 2 pounds. The white cat, Nutter, was guarding it, my husband said, but after I'd thrown it away my black cat, Zen, was looking around for it, so he was probably involved too. We were upstairs sleeping with the A/C on and the door shut so we heard nothing during the kill-time (and even if we had, we probably would have thought they were just play-fighting with each other, which they do often).

Since tomorrow night is the blue moon, perhaps the XXXXX people will use that as an excuse? "Oh, rats rarely come into the house, only once every blue moon." (A blue moon is the 2nd full moon in a calendar month or the fourth full moon in a calendar quarter.)

Since I really didn't want to save Mr Rat (actually I think it was Mrs Rat, and she better not have any ratlings in my house), I decided to take a photo of it. I wanted to put something next to it for scale and what better than the XXXXX folder?

Find another pest control service to use. Don't waste your money on XXXXX. Unless of course you have termites and want to pay the guy on the side.

Later:

Only after I called the local office and CRIED could I get someone to come out and view the rat. (Four hours after I talked to the nice lady, the local office STILL had not called back!) They ended up sending the district manager. He checked everywhere in the house and could not figure out where the rat came from. No droppings, no nest, no hole to the outside, no sign of a rat's presence--other than a big dead rat with a cat bite on its back, in a bag, now cold and very nasty. He promised me a free visit...but I was owed a free follow-up visit anyway.

My friend from Florida did not want to sleep on the floor on the air mattress in a Rat-House so she's off to stay with someone else, depriving me of her presence. I only see her every couple of years, so that's very upsetting.

Literally (and I mean literally) dead and dying carpenter ants were raining from the wall. Thousands of ants. Probably tens of thousands of ants. I never saw anything like it. It made a noise like dried beans pouring from a bag, those ants all falling at once. The ground was black with ants under that wall. Five years of ants, no doubt.

I told the manager about the unprofessional conduct and lax procedures of the first man they sent as well. The manager saw the carpenter ants still swarming all over my house, and when he called the office to get someone to come out and re-do the house, he said I have "a real problem." But that could have been BS because he knew how pissed off I am. He was not able to tell me where the ants have settled either.

It turns out the traps Mr Unprofessional set were not good enough to catch a rat anyway--they were MOUSE traps.. Now I have real rat traps. I looked up rats in an animal book and it said these brown rats are smarter than white lab rats. So if this rat was so smart why'd it come into a house where TWO cats live?

One of my online friends said if I don't find where the rat came in and paint that area, more rats will follow that rat's scent trail (they dribble urine!). She lives in Hawaii and had a rat come up her toilet in the middle of the night and she was on the news and everything. I don't want to go THAT far (calling in the media), but I am very upset and pissed off. And I have a right to my opinion. If I purchase expensive pest control services, that should mean NO GODDAMN RATS IN MY HOUSE the VERY NEXT DAY after the anti-rodent treatment.

I am still totally jumpy. Every time of these damn ants crawls up my leg (and they do whenever I sit still--I must smell like wood) I freak, thinking it's a rat. The cats brush their tails against me as they walk past, and I think they are rats. I had nightmares about rats last night. My husband reminded me of the time Nutter brought his "kill" (mouse) into the bed in the middle of the night and it wasn't dead yet, and was running around on the bed under the covers. And later the cat did kill it and brought it back to the bed and put it on my husband's foot. That was bad enough but what if the cat had dragged the RAT into the bed? I think I would have had a heart attack.

My wise friend from Florida and I talked extensively about the rat, trying to find the metaphysical lesson in having a giant rat dead in the living room. Haven't found it yet.

I am not afraid of rats. When I worked in the pet business I handled rats often, as pets and as snake food. But I do not want their bubonic plague fleas and ticks in my home.

Days later:

Some muckety muck from XXXXX called and said if I take this page down they will give me my money back and I'll have to find another pest control service, but I will get the "free" follow up promised by the manager last week. This in no way solves the problem of #1 WHERE are the carpenter ants living in my house and #2 HOW did that rat get in? But it's the best I am going to get, I suppose.

A Month Later:

Got my Amex bill, the money was taken off but they charged me $96 for the "free" follow up. This company sucks.

5 Years Later (Summer 2009)

I was down to a single parrot, 21-year-old Lance, who was dying of kidney failure. I was keeping him in a small cage so I could be with him, as he was lonely with no other birds (the next-to-last bird, Hogan, died in May.) My husband and I were in the bird room, empty of birds at the moment as Lance was at the vet getting his hydration treatment for his kidneys...and yet we heard a bird noise, the grinding of beaks. Ghost birds? Other people heard the noise too. But what could be grinding and eating in the bird-free bird room....?

We called Terminex this time, and they said the carpenter ants, probably the same ones from the story above, had settled into the front wall of the birdroom. They came and sprayed the heck out of that wall and then pulled off a piece of the siding. I wish I had taken a picture. Literally (and I mean literally) dead and dying carpenter ants were raining from the wall. Thousands of ants. Probably tens of thousands of ants. I never saw anything like it. It made a noise like dried beans pouring from a bag, those ants all falling at once. The ground was black with ants under that wall. Five years of ants, no doubt.

We ended up having to have that wall rebuilt and all the wooden-framed windows in that room (10-foot window, 6-foot window and 3-foot window) replaced with vinyl ones because the ants had eaten the wood frames. During this time, Lance crossed the rainbow bridge after 21 years and 9 days as my loving bird, having a tiny final seizure in my hands one sad night. No more birds.

And no more carpenter ants.


All material on this site is copyright (c) by Gevera Bert Piedmont except where noted. All rights reserved. Contact me for permission to republish. Information on this site is for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy! })i({

Page created: 13.0.0.7.7 5-Zip 8-Manik (17 May 2013)
Page modified: 13.0.0.15.11 9-Zac 3-Chuen (28 October 2013)