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The peppermint oil seemed like a good idea at the time. Stock photo
Columns Small Talk

Smelling much more than a rat

Life is filled with small but memorable lessons. I find it really annoying.

I feel certain I have reached the age of wisdom and consequently should really know everything necessary by now.

I don’t mean astrophysics. I just mean the odd bits of knowledge that somebody knows, but I don’t until I learn it the hard way.

This tiresome point was driven home when the dog pointed out that something was really interesting behind the corner wall of our living room.

It is the wall into which all our electrical wires run, from a palm-sized hole in the outside wall. Why haven’t I covered or blocked it somehow? No excuse, sir.

So recalling now that we dug one rats’ nest out of this hole a few years ago, I went hunting for harmless substances that rats find unbearable.

Peppermint oil seemed a good choice, although I added some pepper for good measure.

How to get it into the hole effectively? The turkey baster seemed the obvious choice. So I filled that plastic contraption multiple times with peppermint oil and squirted it gleefully into the opening.

Yes, this is a very small thing. But I now know that peppermint oil is not easily removed — especially from the turkey baster. Soap and water hold no sway in removing the smell.

Along with the baster, the rags I used to wipe up overflow and spills may eternally smell like Christmas. It’s not a terrible smell, but can quickly become overwhelming.

So now I have the beginning of my very own rat repellent kit, along with a dozen traps my husband has baited with peanut butter (another smell that sticks around).

Peppermint oil and a turkey baster might be perfect for shooting that rat-annoying smell anywhere in the yard I think the rats are too comfortable.

I will be judicious, though. I had to throw the rags away because the entire house smelled of mint. I intend to replace the turkey baster with a glass one.

And I will never underestimate the power of an essential oil again.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who hates rats but sports a sensitive nose. Contact her at [email protected].

1 comment

JohnEldon May 27, 2022 at 3:48 pm

A tip I got from an exterminator: Copper wool works well for blocking small rodent entry points, because their teeth get stuck in it, and they perform their own dental extractions while trying to wiggle free. Peanut butter and the larger size traps work well when properly deployed. Sticky traps work for mice and small rats, including babies. Pet cats are a mixed bag — we have had a few superb mousers in years past, but our current feline is pretty clueless on hunting.

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