We will only use the glue trap if nothing can stop the rat from coming into the yard because of the health hazard. The squirrels would leave right after they eat some fruits, so I actually don’t mind that much. They can’t bring anything out the way the fence works now. The rats would stay all night and I have to clean up the next day. However, there are some lizards in the yard. They would die under the heat if get caught and I don’t release them in time. Yesterday, the bird was lucky that I heard the trap snapped and released it right away. Thank for the very nice method, we will do it that way if we have to.
The rat got in but couldn’t find the easy way out.
It was hot and I was so tired, I hung the whole soap bars along the fence where it used to go in. I also dropped one old solar ultrasonic repeller near the Burgundy, and one near the place where it went to hide when I turned on the lights.
It started showing up on the screen near 10 pm so I turned the lights on and off like the night before. I noticed that it was going the opposite way on the trellis so I knew it was finding the way out. I gave up and went to sleep at 2 am and left some of the lights on, The poor thing might only have a tiny Splash pluot for the whole night. I think I would have gone nut too.
I don’t know where or how it got out so I will hang some more soap and set up the repellers where it may try to get in again. The soap will deter the squirrels too. On the side of the neighbor that have three dogs, I did asked her last year if the smell would bother the dogs, but she said it would be much better than the time the skunk sprayed them, I will use much less on that side. We will see if the rat come back tonight,
Thank you very much for all the suggestions, It was very nice to read them all, made me feel like I have your support, and that means a lot to me.
The last report: we finally got the rat at 3 am.
The rat never left the yard. I found the places where it tried to dig the way out, and where it hid during the day, and put a lot of soap bars around. It showed up on the screen about 10 pm so I started turning the lights on and off to observe. At about 12 am I was doing something for about 40 min, and there were 3 plums on the ground. I was mad, and started the hose fight whenever it came back to the tree and I saw one or a few leaves moved. After three hours of fighting the hose at the Burgundy tree, it finally gave up. It circled the havahart at the old hiding place and got in. We locked both ends with long staples. My husband released it at a far away place so I don’t think it can get back.
Some observations: 1. The unripe Sugar plums didn’t taste good yet, the rat had a few during the day but kept coming back to the Burgundy. 2. Nothing will stop a hungry animal, the repeller and four soap bars were at the Burgundy trunk. 3. The rat was a quick learner, after a few times it avoided the place with the motion-activated light. 4. The night cameras system is the main factor in capturing the rat.
Thank you for all you help and suggestions, I wouldn’t have the stamina to do it without them all.
Update: Rats usually travel in a pack, or at least in pairs. I noticed in the afternoon that there was another one. I was too tired so I just observed on the screen, and used the hose a few times at night. The next morning I knew the glue traps would work, but my husband got too upset just thinking about it. For his sanity, I got another three Havahart traps. We cleaned the hillside and mowed the lawn to minimize the hiding places. I didn’t want to spend time to fight the rat anymore, so we took all the fruits from the Burgundy tree. The rat didn’t like the Flavor Grenade that much, maybe too dry and it needed water. Other trees with fruits have the tulle on so it avoided those. At night on the screen, it was very satisfying to see the rat ran around the Burgundy tree trying to find out what happened to the fruits. I didn’t even stay up late. The rat got in the same Havahart trap the other one was caught, at the same hiding place. There has been no more rats in the yard since then.
Edit: We closed the traps during the day so no birds could get in. The rats totally ignored the Tomcat. Too much cheese and peanut butter attracted ants, and the rats avoided the trap until we cleaned up.
I hope these information would help anyone who can’t use the lead poisoning method.
No more droppings in the back yard. I can still hear some big animals going on the roof near midnight but no fruit damage.
After the rats are no longer there, the figs grow very fast so I think they ate a lot of figs along with the Burgundy plums. The Tiger fig tree is in the front yard, it will look weird with the tulle cover, so I hang the soap bars at the lower branches. So far the birds took only a few figs at the top of the tree, and the squirrel left it alone for now. Yes, he came back after the neighbor across the street caught a rat too. He got in the other part of the front yard so I will hang some soap bars at the other trees tomorrow.
There are so many figs, and they turn bad very quickly after ripen even in the fridge. We have to either dry them, or freeze then combine with other fruit when making jam instead of adding a lot of sugar. That thickens the jam nicely too.
It is very hot nowadays so running the dehydrator is a very bad choice. Since during the day there are only birds in the back yard and they somehow avoid anything covered with tulle, I dry the fruit under the sun. I sliced the fruit to about 3/8" and put them on a stainless steel rack. The rack is then put over an aluminum foil pan, to reflect and heat the bottom side too, and covered with tulle. The whole set up is on a water bath to prevent ants from getting in. The figs and sugar plums take the whole day to dry, and taste good. I put them in the Ball jar with the food grade desiccant, and seal with cling wrap under the lid. I shake the jar everyday to make sure the pieces don’t stick together. If they do I will get them out and dry them a little further in the dehydrator. Hopefully when my sister take them back to Missouri next month they will still be fine. She likes them chewy and not too dry.
Tiger (above) vs Garnsey figs
Tiger figs with soap bar
Garnsey fig slices
Sugar Plum slices
I was finally fed up with cleaning up all the broken branches and half eaten unripe fruits in the front yard. I put the 1/4" hardware cloth over the top of the fence and around the persimmon tree. They got in under the bushes and over big tree, which is on the neighbor yard, to avoid the open space I guess. They could climb on any thing with a bigger opening size. The original fence I made was only 3’ high to deter people from checking out the part of the front yard leading to the windows. My son can get over it with no trouble, but I figured out if they want to break in I can’t stop them anyway. I only fixed part of the fence, and made sure that even the human thieves wouldn’t easily get injured from the hardware cloth. I needed gloves, long sleeved shirt, long pants, and shoes while doing it. It was miserable on a summer day, even in the morning and late afternoon.
The result is a relative clean yard, the birds still mess up a little while eating the figs, but we have figs ripen now. The Tiger and Black Mission figs are from the front yard, and the Garnsey are from the back since the rats are gone.
Edit: my neighbor just told me that she hung the Irish soap bars over her compost and nothing disturb it since then.
I think we never can win the war with the hungry animals. After I put the hardware cloth on so the squirrels couldn’t climb over the fence, it chewed through the HDPE mesh fencing to made a hole at the ground level. This morning I saw a rabbit in the front yard eating figs on the ground. It ran to a corner and I couldn’t find it. I had to leave the gate open for a while so it could get out after I blocked the hole. Now I understand why the neighbor across the street kept asking me if the rabbits ate anything in my yard. They, including the birds, all like the Black Mission better than the Tiger figs because the skin is softer, even when unripe.
I picked some of the fruits in the front and back yard. We will take a break and go away tomorrow and let the animals enjoy the fruits. I hope you all have a nice weekend. Summer will be over soon.
I put in some new fencing to protect the other part of the front yard. It was so hot the last ten days not much could be done each day. The simplest way to keep the hardware cloth in place is with rebars. I painted them with Rust-Oleum. It was simple to stand a few rebars in an empty 5 gallon pot, wrap a very small piece of paper towel to the end of a stick and use it to paint the rebars. After they dried, flip them upside down and paint the other ends. Very little paint was wasted and no cleaning required when the stick was thrown away.
The difficult part happened when the fence was nearly finished. I walked out one day and saw a squirrel got out, ran across the street, and dropped a fig. Looking at the fig rolling down the street, I guess the mother part in me felt pity for it. I asked my husband if I could leave a few figs for it everyday outside, after finishing up the fence. He said I was asking for troubles. So I left one part of the fence low enough for the squirrel to get in and out to eat some figs, not easy though, but can’t bring any fruits out with it. It is still very hot and I can’t finish drying all the fruits anyway. In the fall I will finish the fence and plant some more roses to deter the squirrels.
Yesterday we picked nearly all the fruits from the backyard. I don’t want to make jam, unless they are overripe and can’t be dried, because of the added sugar. The Zinfandel takes a lot of time for removing the seeds but they turned out very good dried, thin skinned, sour and sweet. The small and not so juicy freestone plum/pluerry are easy to quartered. After they are somewhat dried, I use pointed scissors to snip in the middle to make them dry faster.
Seemed like no creatures could climb the 3 feet high, 1/4" opening hardware cloth. We didn’t lose any persimmons since then. When the fruits changed color, I put the tulle on for the birds. This is what we got. We bought the tree from HD as unknown non astringent, and as usual it turned out to be not really true. The fruits are very small compared to the Hachiya in the container, but much sweeter so we are very happy. They are both seedless.
Dropping the raw eggs down in gopher tunnels early this year stopped them. We have a lot of citrus trees on the route recovered and are fruiting. However, recently the rats are using the same tunnels. I didn’t put any eggs in since that may attract more rats to come. Last week before the rain, I put pavers on part of the sloped hillside that I can smell the rodents sometimes. Each piece weighs about 5 lbs and that is all I can handle safely. My husband can help me on the ground but not up there. There is no more rats. I will try to extend the cover for the whole slope, but will have to wait for a sunny period. The pavers are much heavier with water from the rain.