Friday, March 20, 2009

The Great Potato Mystery

About 7 months ago, we completed a remodel of the room above the garage so that Baby Bop could have his own room (to comply with the state's foster care regulations). Unfortunately, during the remodel, the contractor left the garage literally wide open and left an opening in a screen to the crawl space under our house. As a result, rats took up residence in our garage, under our house and in our house.

I won't go into the long, and sad, sad story. It got so bad that the little critters were even eating through plastic containers to get to food. While were were working on this problem, I moved all food storage in plastic contains to our bedroom.

Over the last few months, we tried various things to correct the problem. We cleaned out the garage and repaired potential entry points and hired an exterminator who put out bait stations.

Just as we were about to finishing up our efforts last week, I noticed nibble bits on a potato in a bag on our kitchen floor. This was particularly disturbing since we haven't had an indication that rats could get into the house for months. We thought our rat problems were only in the garage.

A few days later, our contractor closed up a problem area under our kitchen sink and sealed up opening around the garage door. We hoped that took care of the problem once and for all.

To test this, I left a potato on the kitchen floor and a potato on the garage floor. The next day I was happy to see that the potato on the kitchen floor was untouched. However, I had another problem in the garage.

I couldn't check for nibble marks on the potato in the garage because the potato in the garage was missing!! There were no leftover piece or rat droppings. It was just gone. We searched the garage was a flash light to see if the potato had been moved. No such luck. We couldn't find a potential opening or hiding spot big enough for a potato.

I spent the next day questioning anyone who had been in our garage the previous day in case some one and picked it up. The investigation went something like this: "Did you by any chance touch a potato in our garage?" This is a great conversation starter and a wonderful way to build relationships with one's neighbors.

We do have two year old in the house. If Baby Bop had picked up the potato, unless he dropped it into the garbage, we would have expected to find a potato laying around the house.

To complicate the matter, I found that the garage door was not completely shut. The opening was very small, but I think a rat could have gotten in. However, I have a hard time picturing a rat pushing a potato out that small opening or rats eating the whole potato without leaving any remnants or droppings.

The next night we put potato pieced all over the garage. It has been 4 days and not one potato piece has been touched. The more time that goes by without any indication of rodent activity, the more I start to relax. Yet, I wonder if they get hungry, will they come back?

Tags : rodents , rats , mystery , potato


Miss Janet said...

I love this post! Good job!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious spin to a frustrating problem! Perhaps the rat who took the potato is still feasting on it somewhere and hasn't been hungry enough to come back?

Great blog by the way!