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Animal-Loving Homeowners Debate Rodent Control Methods

For the past few months, we’ve been hearing anecdotal evidence of a rodent resurgence in Arlington.

At least one well-known local civic leader has privately identified the burgeoning rat population in the Clarendon area as a significant problem facing the county. And then we get emails like the following:

I’m interested in whether or not there’s been an uptick recently in Arlington residents reporting rodents in their homes? Recently, I found a pair of rats that had made a home in the wall of my 6th Street S. ground floor apartment. I’d heard from coworkers and neighbors that they’ve been finding mice recently too. Apparently we’re experiencing a perfect storm of conditions that can cause rodents to enter homes: cold weather, construction nearby (we have alot), [and] heavy acorn/nut production.

Cold weather does drive mice to take shelter in buildings and construction has been known to send rats scurrying. The bumper crop of acorns is indeed credited with fattening up local squirrels — we’re not sure if mice and rats are benefiting as well.

The rodent problem has the email listserve of at least one South Arlington neighborhood buzzing.

In Alcova Heights, neighbors are sharing rodent control tips with one another. Among those weighing in are a few conflicted animal lovers, who are searching for a more humane way to get rid of the pests.

One resident expressed frustration with the options.

Well, these mice are turning out to be extremely smart…or the humane trap is not extremely well designed. I put peanut butter in there, thinking they’d spend a little more time while the doors closed and then I actually thought about driving them out to the woods where there might be an abandoned structure or something they could live in. But they keep slipping away. I will probably need to take harsher measures, but you should have seen them staring up at us last year after we poisoned them. Like they were asking us for help, and to stop. So sad… I may be a soft heart when it comes to animals.

Another mentioned an alternative method of mouse execution.

I told you my story of how it broke my heart to kill them. I was crying, so; I understand exactly how you felt last year. I “kills” me to see any animal suffer. I do not know any good ways to get rid of them – I just know that it is best “to” get rid of them because they are very hard once they get a foothold.

I guess you could do like the one person suggested and put them in your freezer to have a peaceful freezer death…. However, then you might need to replace your freezer….I know I would!

Finally, one resident elaborated on the method. We’re still not sure how you’re supposed to get the mouse in the bag, though.

Put them in air tight zip lock freezer bag, before freezing. Leave them there overnight, the next day put them in the regular trash (outside).

Where are you finding rodents, and what, if anything ,are you doing to “thin the herd,” so to speak?

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