Over the past couple of months, my coworkers and I have had sporadic problems with rodents in our office. Occasionally we’d come into work in the morning and our computers or phones wouldn’t be working because rodents had chewed through the cables.
About three weeks ago, the rodent problem escalated significantly and several coworkers came into work one morning only to discover they had all fallen victim to the rodents’ dental hijinks. “Game on,” responded the Embassy maintenance staff who set multiple spring-loaded rat traps, spring-loaded mouse traps and several sticky traps. Unsure of whether the culprits might be rats or mice and where they might be hiding, the maintenance crew set a variety of traps in numerous locations around the office.
The maintenance guys told me that rodents love “queso Paraguayo” (a white, Paraguayan cheese) and beef. The spring-loaded traps were all set with bait, and thus began the fervent rodent watch.
Unfortunately after 48 hours, absolutely no rodents had been apprehended in the traps. So on Friday before the long Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, we spoke to the maintenance crew and on their advice we spread some American peanut butter all over the Paraguayan cheese.
We were worried about what we’d find (and especially, smell) on Tuesday morning when we got to the office. Turns out, we found nothing. Maybe the days’ old cheese covered in reduced fat peanut butter wasn’t appetizing to the rodents.
The next morning, we found a little tuft of hair in one of the spring-loaded traps and we resolved to do better. We cleaned off the spring-loaded traps and then added just a small pea-sized portion of full-fat peanut butter and a tiny piece of salmon jerky to each trap.
The following morning when we got into work, one of the traps had been triggered and a little bit of the peanut butter had been smeared, however no animals had been caught. The maintenance guys brought three more spring-loaded traps (set with queso Paraguayo), eight poison bait stations (which we decided not to use because the rodents would take the bait and die elsewhere, causing a stinky situation) and one very large cage trap (easily big enough to hold a cat) set with peanut butter.
Last week, the maintenance guys did a thorough inspection of every office searching for any place where the rats might be gaining access, sleeping or finding food. They found a rat’s nest (sorry, no pictures) behind my coworker’s bookshelf. A rat had shredded about 30 small napkins to make a comfortable little bed. The wall surrounding the nest had black greasy stains from the rat rubbing its skin against it. It was gross. After cleaning up the nest, washing the wall, plugging any holes with foam and replacing all furntiure, the maintenance crew was confident that they were closing in on the rodent(s). My coworker made this “Wanted” poster after the nest was removed from her office.
This week, the maintenance staff added beef to some of the traps and refreshed the peanut butter on other traps. Each morning, the first person to enter the offices usually does a quick look around to see if the traps had caught anything. After so many mornings of finding nothing, this morning we all forgot to check. Around 9:30 this morning, one coworker happened to look in the corner of her office and said, “What’s that gray thing on the floor?” Well, it was a rat. A dead rat. Caught in a trap after dining on a piece of beef. Rigormortis had set in and the tail stuck straight out when the rat was lifted up.
The maintenance guys, who said that the body was still warm, disposed of the corpse. I think they may have buried him next to Spike.
They also set a few more traps, set with beef. On Monday, we won’t forget to check the traps.