Keeping Rats Out Of Your Yard
The first series of rodent control will be about rats.
Rats are far more destructive than any other rodent species. This is because of the amount of human deaths that have occurred do to their presence. Bubonic plague or “Black Death,” a bacteria is vectored to human from fleas which had bitten infected rats. This pathogen has decimated Europeans in a number of plagues, causing millions of deaths. Today the rat’s chewing of power wires cause hundreds of structure fires which kill people and cause millions of dollars worth in property damage around the globe.
The eradication of an established population of rats within a neighborhood is a daunting task. far better and easier to prevent them than to get rid of them. Eradication involves trapping as many rats as possible, plugging up their entrance holes in buildings and altering their habitat to deny them food, water and cover and to expose them when foraging so barn owls can pounce on them.
Installing owl boxes is the best way to kill rats, the numbers never lie. Of course one would expect me to say this as I install barn owl nesting boxes for a living. But no other method kills more rodents than barn owls do. One would have to employ a dozen barn cats to effect a rat population as much as one pair of barn owls do. Government studies have proved one pair of breeding barn owls can consume as many as 3,000 gophers, rats, mice and voles per year, plus insects.
Installing Owl Boxes
So the first order of business is to install two owl boxes, his and hers, within a hundred yards of each other. People often ask me “What is the best time of year to install owl boxes?” What time of year the box is put up matters not, as this is a long term solution. The answer I give them is “at least one year before you see the first evidence of rodents”. If you don’t have them up already, then have it done asap.
Once the nest boxes are professionally installed, there needs to be a trapping regimen. Ordinary “Victor” rat traps work but need to be enhanced. How to enhance Victor traps will be discussed in a future blog.The County of San Diego used to give out black boxes that look like bait stations but had a rat trap inside, no poison. This is an excellent design as rats are uneasy about being exposed when foraging and will scurry away before they have a chance to settle down and be trapped. When using the traps inside the black plastic boxes, they seek cover inside the box, relax and linger longer, getting trapped more effectively. One must do more than just set a trap however. The trapper must envision the behavior of the rats actions after the person goes to sleep. This is called “getting inside their head,”or “thinking like a rat.” I have known quite a few people that I would expect this type of thinking would be a natural—
I had tame rats as pets when I was adolescent. Decades later, I had wild rats living in my crawl space. I set an ordinary “Victor” rat trap. I caught four 3/4 grown juveniles. I knew from my experience at raising tame rats that I had at least one female, the mother (already on a new litter by now) and a dominant male I called a “bull” lurking somewhere on the property. Time and again I would set the trap, only to find it sprung in the morning, no rats trapped and no bait left. So I must have caught all the young in that litter, so it must one or both the adults parents that are now spooked as the trap snapping shut scares them, making them wary.
This was bad news as now the mother rat had an education. One they know they are being set up, it becomes orders of magnitude harder to catch them.If they are not caught, they will breed and educate their young in behavior. The trapper has to get a head of their learning curve, so the next attempt to trap them is critical or, they will learn a second lesson and will never be trapped.
To learn what I did to catch the mother and ultimately the male “bull” rat, please visit my website and blog to be posted soon.
Before investing in a quality barn owl nesting box from Barn Owl Boxes, it is important for you to consider all possibilities. What if your job takes you to another part of the country in the next few years? Can you move your barn owl box to another location?
The great thing about barn owls is that they are present almost everywhere, so a move to another location does not mean you will lose the ability to enjoy barn owl nesting wherever you go. While barn owls live primarily in temperate climates, they live in both colder and warmer areas as well. In fact, barn owls are found on every continent including on islands. Barn owls tend to avoid deserts, mountainous areas and tropical rain forests. Read More
Setting up a barn owl nesting box from Barn Owl Boxes is a great way to enjoy nature, but how do you know if the owls have taken over your box and are actually using it? If you choose a barn owl box that has an infrared camera, you can see for yourself the miracle of a barn owl life cycle. However, if you simply have a wooden barn owl box with no camera, you may not know if the family has taken up residence. You may also want to know if there are other barn owls in the vicinity of your property. Read More
What makes owls such wonderful predators? Most people think it is their eyesight, but their wing design has a great deal to do with it as well.
Owls are able to fly in a hushed and almost eerie silence, swooping down on their prey noiselessly. They are able to do this from relatively great heights, thanks to their aerodynamically designed wings and feathers. Barn Owl Boxes, a company that makes custom, quality barn own nesting boxes, shares some information about the owl’s wing design so that you can better understand how these fascinating creatures have become such successful hunters. Read More
Most people choose to install a barn owl box for three reasons. First, they want to help protect this noble and beautiful species. Second, they want free and environmentally sound rodent control around their homes. Third, they want to witness for themselves the miracle of the barn owl life cycle from birth to adulthood.
In order to see barn owls roosting or nesting, it is important that you choose the right barn owl box. Barn Owl Boxes offers several models, some of which include infrared cameras so that you can feed the images directly to your computer and your whole family can enjoy watching the barn owls in action! Read More
We all know that man’s erosion of wildlife habitat has had a direct impact on some species. However, did you know that barn owls can also be endangered by climate change? Recent articles published in Great Britain’s wildlife journals indicate a fear that the unseasonably cold winters and wet springs the nation has experienced for the past several years may decimate native barn owl populations in that area of the world. It is not a stretch to believe it could happen here as well. Read More
Many people are amazed when they learn how easy natural rodent control can be with a pair of barn owls on their property. They may be even more amazed when they learn just how simple it is to install Barn Owl Boxes for free, permanent rodent control without pesticides or chemicals! Read More
barn owlsIf you have a barn owl box on your property, you may be asking some questions for the winter such as: do barn owls migrate? If they leave, will they return? If they stay, how do they survive the winter? Is there anything I need to do to help them? Read More
Do you have owls cruising around your neighborhood but you are never really sure what species they are? Are you considering a barn owl box and want to know more about the inhabitants you hope to attract? Here are some fun facts about barn owls to whet your appetite for studying them through the lens of the barn owl box. When you install Barn Owl Boxes on your property, you attract these fascinating creatures and can view their entire life cycle from hatching to adulthood. Read More
One way that humans can help endangered bird species is by providing protected shelter. Most bird species are very hardy when they have a safe place to live and raise their young, so providing shelter for them can be a great way to help protect these animals. Read More