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This Is What Happens When You Use Rat Poison: Flymageddon

I killed the rats in my basement ceiling. At the time, they were my biggest problem.

Then I found myself in my car one night with the headlights aimed at my back door, hoping to lure a swarm of carrion flies out of the house. Carrion flies, if you’re not familiar, are the kind that lay their eggs on dead things. So then that was my biggest problem.

It all started with a gnawing sound in my basement, in the ceiling above the family room. The steady crunch-crunch of rat teeth on rafters didn’t bother me much at first; I just turned up the volume on the TV. But then the entire basement began to smell of rat urine, which turns out to smell a lot like people urine. Eventually, it didn’t matter how much Febreze I sprayed; we had hit, as I called it, RATCON 5.

My next step was to push little green blocks of rat poison into the ceiling space behind the recessed lights. This turned out to be a mistake. Not only is rat poison bad for the environment and wildlife, but this tactic also left the sated rats free to scurry into some far corner of the ceiling space to die. An exterminator poked around up there, and shrugged. “Can’t find ’em.” Soon, my basement took on a new odor: eau de dead rat.

For the next week, I slept with my windows wide open for fresh air, and the flimsy lock on my bedroom door set against possible intruders.

But the gnawing stopped. And I celebrated my hard-won victory. I had toughed out the stink, and the worst was past. I thought.

Two weeks later,  I came home from a trip and opened the door to Flymageddon.

The house was filled with giant flies.  I realized instantly that the dead rats had become a breeding ground for blowflies. Blowflies are described by Wikipedia as medium to large flies, but I would describe them more as flying bookends.

Dozens buzzed around the kitchen, thunking into me as I made my way in. I needed a weapon, and I needed one fast. Years ago, Uncle Rocky and Aunt Martha, who live in Abilene, gave me a gag gift in the form of a giant three-foot, turquoise Texas-Size Fly Swatter. Turns out, it was the best gift ever.

So there I was. I gripped the Texas Fly Swatter like a baseball bat and slowly opened the basement door.  I could hear the hum. My pulse was pounding.

Bluebottle fly. Ripanvc
Kinda pretty, actually. The bluebottle fly.

I flipped on the light and saw thousands of big dark flies, each the size of a dime, peppering the walls and window shades. Flies filled the air, and bumped against the ceiling with little buzzing thuds. Suddenly a squadron broke ranks and rushed straight up the basement stairs at me.

Or at least it seemed like they were flying toward me. I was watching a black wave of flies boil out of a light fixture in the ceiling, so I was a little distracted. But I’m pretty sure I made a noise like a creaky hinge, and slammed the door shut.

Now what? No way was I opening that door again without chemical weapons.

So armed with a can of Raid, I cracked open the basement door, stuck my arm in and sprayed a long satisfying ssssssssssssss. Yessssssssssss, I thought as I sprayed.

Now normally, I’m the live-and-let-live, shoo-em-out the door kind of person. So I also tried opening the kitchen door and stirred up a cluster of flies to usher them out. In return, they promptly flew straight for my head. All bets were off.

I needed a plan—and a partner. I was home alone, but that didn’t stop me from dragging my husband Jay into the scene from 500 miles away. I called him on speakerphone blubbering about flies.

The great thing about being married is that you can take turns being brave, and when one of you is freaking out and ready to burn your house down, the other one can spring into action. And even from 500 miles away, Jay sprung. “Go downstairs and open all the windows to let them out,” he instructed. I politely declined. As in, “What?! NO NO NO NO! Not until some of them are dead. Or most of them.”

Jay thought.

“OK,” he said, “Turn off all the lights in the house, and go turn on the car’s headlights. In fact, put the brights on. Then, open the basement door.” Flies, of course, are drawn to light. It’s not entirely clear why some insects fly toward light, but it’s probably why you’ll find flies clustered on windows. (At least at my house you will.)

Erika Engelhaupt
One of the fallen in my battle with the flies. Erika Engelhaupt
One of the fallen in my battle with the flies.

It sounded like a plan that might work. So I carefully unlocked the basement door from outside; a couple dozen flies hovered between the glass and the window shade. I pushed the door open and ran for the safety of the car.

“Don’t fall and hurt yourself running from flies!” Jay yelled, still on speakerphone. “They can’t hurt you.” At this point, he’s picturing me laid up with a broken leg, a victim of my own horror of animals that don’t even have mouths that can bite.

“I know that, logically,” I said. But when it comes to a swarm, it’s not about logic. Since I write a blog called Gory Details, you might think it should be hard to turn my stomach, but it’s not. There’s a psychology test for how easily disgusted a person is, and I turn out to be entirely average.

So this is how I found myself in my car at 10:30 p.m., watching flies meander out the door and trying to decide how long I could run the brights before the battery died.

On cue, my mother called. Hoping to help, she looked up flies in the encyclopedia and reported that the pupal stage lasts two weeks. (My mother does not use the Internet much.) Her book didn’t say how long the adults live. “Hm, well, anyway, they’ll die eventually,” she said, “if you wait long enough.”

And I waited. The flies have kept coming. Every morning now, I vacuum up the night’s casualties, and every evening I come home to more. The other day, I arrived at work and dropped my purse on my desk, and a fly flew out. To cope, the Texas Fly Swatter and I have created a no-fly zone in my bedroom.

In the meantime, I have learned a few things about my opponents. I have three kinds; one is big with a shiny blue backside and another small and the prettiest green up close. The big blue ones might be the bluebottle fly Calliphora vomitoriaappropriately named—or  Calliphora vicina, the urban bluebottle fly. The little green guys are probably a species of Lucilia, the nice entomologists at bugguide.net told me after I posted photos.

As those petered out, the biggest flies emerged—flesh flies of the genus Sarcophaga. Like sarcophagus. They’re enormous, and they buzz when they fly, and they are still in my house.

My little Lucilia.  Erika Engelhaupt
My little Lucilia.
Erika Engelhaupt

All three have their charms. Lucilia maggots have an amazing ability to eat dead flesh and ignore the living, so they’re used in maggot therapy to eat away dead, infected tissue. This works fantastically, but of course assumes that you can talk someone with, say, an oozing foot ulcer into letting a mass of maggots eat away at their foot—I suppose you say to the person that they’re only going to eat your dead foot.

I thought talking to a forensic entomologist might help me appreciate my new housemates. Sibyl Bucheli studies insects at Sam Houston State University (home to a great criminal justice program) in Huntsville, Texas (home to the busiest execution chamber in the United States). I knew I’d like her when her email arrived with a photo of her wearing a Wonder Woman tiara. (You should also check out her entomology lab’s Harlem Shake video.)

Bucheli told me about the first recorded case of forensic entomology in the 1300s. It involved carrion flies—maybe one of the species zipping around my head as I talked to her. The Chinese lawyer Sung Tzu was investigating a stabbing in a rice field and had all the workers lay out their sickles. Blowflies immediately landed on just one, even though it had been wiped clean, and Sung Tzu knew that the sickle bore traces of blood.

One of Bucheli’s students tested this method, she tells me—and found that blowflies can indeed find a bloodied and wiped-clean surface within minutes, or even seconds.

As for my flies, Bucheli says I’m probably on the second generation by now, at least. The flies have been multiplying, babies growing up and having babies of their own. I suppose it would be sweet, if the family home being handed down wasn’t a dead rat.

What’s more, she gives me bad news about the yellow-orange spots all over my windows. “That’s fly poop,” she says. “Sorry. They’re pooping on your curtains.”

Still, she made me feel a little better about them. For one thing, she’s totally brave about flies, and it made me want to be just like her. Bucheli has been at actual crime scenes, with dead bodies covered in flies. Even then, they don’t bother her. “I feel calm if I’m in a place with a million flies,” she said. “But if I’m in a city with a million people around me, that freaks me out… I understand the flies.”

They’re just being flies—eating, mating, pooping, laying eggs. They aren’t out to get me, or anyone else. “The whole six-legs, four-wings thing is beauty to me,” Bucheli said.

I’m trying to get there. In fact, I only used the Texas Fly Swatter once this morning.

But last night, after I cleared the sofa of dead flies and settled in for an episode of Bones, I heard it. The crunch-crunch of rat teeth on rafters.

This time, it’s war.

[to be continued]


(Note: I have updated the link to a test for how easily disgusted a person is. It now takes you to the appendix of Valerie Curtis‘ excellent book “Don’t Look, Don’t Touch: The Science Behind Revulsion.”)

87 thoughts on “This Is What Happens When You Use Rat Poison: Flymageddon

  1. Great story! Can’t wait to share with my friends who just got over dealing with their own plague of rats.

  2. You made me chuckle a few times. It was so fun to read about your adventures with flies. I can’t wait to read the second part.

    Only one thing: Technically, flies have got only one pair of wings, that’s why they belong to the order Diptera (literally, two wings)

  3. Thank you, Richardus, that’s right. Dr. Bucheli was speaking more generally about insects at that point, not just flies, so I would not want her to be misconstrued.

  4. Just don’t use rat poison again. As you’ve found, this only makes your problems worse. I hope you can find a more humane solution! There is starting to be growth in the industry of non-rodenticide pest removal companies. I am sure there has to be one in your area. In the meantime, try snap traps and make sure any entrances/exits are closed.

    1. Thanks, Bridget! I have definitely learned my lesson on the rat poison. The poisoned rats can either die someplace where you can’t get to them (as happened to me), or they go back outside and can poison other animals that eat them. We are trying hard to figure out how they are getting into the basement ceiling, but there are no obvious entry points outside the house. Very frustrating!

      1. The thing about rats is that they are clever little buggers. They can climb the unclimbable and also squeeze into very small spaces by dislocating their ribs. The rat traps are the best if you can get the rat to the trap. Note: a very good sense of smell. They are also good learners so once the trap has been sprung they are unlikely to return. Good luck with your problem.

  5. I think you should encourage the flies, at least until the odor of dead rat disappears. Maggots are excellent at cleaning up putrid rats and do it quickly. As long as new flies are showing up, your dead rat isn’t quite skeletonized. Once the stink goes away, finish off the flies.

    I’ve suffered through the problem, myself, sans flies. It took two miserable months for the sweet smell of dead rat to go away. I’m guessing, that with the assistance of your flies, the stink will go away within a week.

    Now your problem is serious but probably not quite as bad as what happened to a friend. He called me, asking for help, hearing the pitter-patter of rats above him in his attic. “Use rat traps and bait them with peanut butter and bacon.” I naively recommended. He called me several days later, with desperation in his voice. He was in bed, almost asleep, when he heard the loud “snap” of a rat trap. Seconds later his entire house was filled with the not-so-sweet odor of concentrated SKUNK. Rough.

  6. I found your experience with flies very interesting. It was very funny as well! I had a lot of jumps too!

  7. And now you know exactly why the good old mechanical rat trap will never die. The hard bit is finding the right bait – bacon rind can be good, but some rats DO prefer cheese. In one neighbourhood I lived in, they only came for the $70 per kg French cheese! In another, passionfruit, and another, peanut butter on crust. A dead rat can take 2 months to fully decompose – better to pick up the trap, and drop the rat in the rubbish bin.

    1. I have a dead moose on my bathroom floor. I had the house baited yesterday. I was originally looking to find info about what happens after a mouse eats.the poisoning. Do they shrink? Instead, I found your article. Very amusing. I have to go pick up a mouse carcass. Ugh! I have to wait till tomorrow to have someone dispose of it. I’m disabled, what irony. God has a great sense of humor.

  8. The blue stuff is supposed to dry up the dead animal so that it doesn’t smell. That works ok for dead mice. I’ve never had a problem with rats, just mice. But never a fly problem. They just dry up and I find the mummified corpses months later.

  9. I had a problem with rats in my garage until I let the cat out there to do his thing. No rats and happy cats 🙂

  10. Absolutely loved the story!! I could relate to your horror of flies as I’ve been through that myself once. Only difference was that they were not on a dead rat but on the open wound of my foot. They kept company to my wounded foot for two weeks straight while I mastered my fear of them an ended up swatting 54 of em on the last day of their companionship with my foot.

    That’s a sad way to say farewell 😛

    But anyways…the last line “This time, it’s war.” has grabbed my attention for sure and I am absolutely looking forward to the adventures that follow.

    All the best ma’am 🙂

  11. One way of getting rid of flies is sray them with clorox they hate the smell but you’re house will smell like a laundry room but you’ll get used to it rather than smelling a dead rat

  12. Rats are smart, and colonial. To get rid of a colony of rats from the farm, my grandfather would live trap one rat. He used a plywood box trap with a sliding door for that. Hold the rat up by the scruff of the neck with a big pair of vice grips pliers, and use a propane torch, (ok, he used the blacksmiths forge in the old days) and burn all the fur, and a little skin from the live rat, then let it go. The whole colony will move out, down the road to some neighbours farm, because hey don’t want that to happen to them. Problem solved, till next time.

  13. First off, you need to do exclusion work meaning you have to find any and all opening that go into the roof or basement or crawlspace. After its all sealed up from the outside, you place traps with bait. Not glueboards because rats can still move around while stuck on a glueboard. They can crawl to an overhang and get stuck in a hidden place and die. More flies will follow. Look for signs of rubmarks. All rodents have an oily fur and the oil rubs off as they walk along a wall. Over time these rub marks become black and smelly.

    When laying out snap traps, lay them out closer together as they will jump over them. Rats are familiar, meaning they don’t like new things introduced into their environment. Once they become familiar with their surroundings, it gets hard wired to their brains. Anything new to them they will avoid for up to a week. After they get familiar, engage the traps and you will eventually get them all.

    1. Thanks, Uriah, I had not heard about the rub marks. We have been trying to figure out how they are getting into the basement ceiling, and it’s been very difficult. We sealed up some spots we thought might be entries, but are still getting rats up there.
      One point not mentioned in the story: We live in an attached row house in DC, and it’s common for rats to get in through the wall that attaches to a neighboring house. That means we also have to coordinate with the neighbors on both sides, in case the hole is on their property.

  14. What about buying one of those electric bug lamps and turning it on, turning the basement lights off, and leaving it down there?

  15. You should hang up some fly strips. We have had the exact same problem (hence why I am reading this article) and the strips have works a treat- it attracts them and then they die a sticky death.

  16. I have a neighbor who runs a rat sanctuary; however, he hasn’t provided them with adequate winter accommodations.

    My house is 300 years old and impossible to rat proof, consequently, come the first frost, my house becomes the rodent winter quarters for the sanctuary rats. Upon the first scratching and thumping, out comes the rat poison.

    Everything is cool until Spring comes around, then hoards of flies come out of the woodwork.

    My novel solution to my fly infestation is to place a lamp by the window at night, get out the vacuum cleaner and start sucking them up.

    It’s very cathartic hearing the thumps every time one of the pesky buggers get sucked into oblivion – it’s like playing Pac-Man – just gobble theem up.

  17. The rat trap cage is a safe and clean option. The rats captured can be released far away or killed by hot boiling water gallon. The cage needs to be enclosed in some carton or box to prevent you from scalding yourself. Or use rat glue on plastic sheets to trap them.
    Flies control is not hard to find. Uv electric lamp based gadgets are there.
    Worst thing is the fleas the rats have. Cannot narrate in this space what happened with the fleas.
    Best is get rid of rat carcasses ASAP.

  18. bad mistake Get yourself a couple of pet ferrets Nuetered the smell of ferret musk the rats would have run for the hills in a couple of days
    Same as peregrine falcon and ferral pigeons as used in Middle East

  19. hhhh…. You are so funny.
    when we had rat problems we used rat poison, and we picked up the dead bodies… leaving them laying around is a bad decision…

  20. It must be very hard for you to cope up with the flies..and also with their poops..But leave them for a few days as they are cleaning your house and the dead rat odour.Just take care that they dont interfere with your daily stuffs and your activities.Let us know what is going to happen next and Thanks for posting this.Hope you will be successful in your Fly-Fight Mission

  21. The best way to get rid off rats is not to kill but trap them & show them open air spaces near to your residence. My experience, killing not only invites trouble faced by her but if we forget to dispose of dead hygenically,we can invite plague,also they multiply. Trap as u see the first. I don’t kill even flies i trap the fly or flies in transparent clean glass tumbler as fly can easily be trapped in these – show them outside boundry of my dwelling so house is free from flies. Keeping wire meshed doors – windows closed also help. Don’t kill force them to allow these creatures find their habitat in open -away from our areas.we can draw conclusion violence begets violence. Chemical war fare is not only unethical but we inhale chemical infected air affecting our body.

  22. traps is the way to go. I also used poison once and didn’t get the flies but got the bad smell and it took me a while to find them. The old school victor traps are cheap but not always effective, once a rather large rat got hit but got out of the trap and made his way under the dishwasher, I thought he got away live until the smell filled the air, I pulled the board at the bottom of the dishwasher out and grabbed a flashlight, there it was, the biggest stingiest rat I’ve ever seen. The plastic traps with pointy teeth work great and don’t cost that much more. Country living….

  23. to comment on the skunk problem. There must be a pretty big hole it got in, find that and close it up. Also, putting the traps in the kitchen or other places where you see sign or scat is your best bet.

  24. had the same thing happen with rat poison, had maggots falling from the recessed lights in the kitchen and bathroom/ I bought those fumagtion canisters and set them off all over the house- problem solved.

  25. At first I was just curious to see where that was going.. then I couldn’t stop reading! You are a very talented storyteller! 🙂

  26. I had mice in my basement ceiling, I understand not being able to dispose of the corpse. I too threw blue poison cubes! Fortunatel, I didn’t get flies. I love your story, !!

  27. interesting tidbit and thanks for the advice. i don’t have a handy husband who can take over for me, so i’ll probably end up burning the house in my attempt to kill my non-paying boarders. looking forward to the next chapter.. =)

  28. Two different years, we have had either a dead or dying mouse enter our house to die, apparently! Several years ago, we had placed rodent poison around, and in crawl-space…with resulys. Oh, YEAH! Some went Eaat, some went West–and, some landed under the nest (such as in furnace vents–hence, unreachable!) The eau-de-dead mice really got serious! So, abandoning pesticide, we have waited until the sign of mice arrived; and set our little sypply of traps! Works FINE, here! But, we DO have another problem–with the dead or dying mice. Due to having a refrigerator which has an old-fashioned evaporator-tray, we have theior (required) water supply. Their mouse baaits make the mice travel (probably at a gallop) to our refrigerator-pan! Haven’t located at least TWO bodies; but, did have the stomach-turning odors!
    ~Now, how do we notify those neighbors that they should also buy mouse traps? BTW, one neighbor has lots of cats! Many r outdoor kitties! Hmmmm?

    My question is, “HOW can we get the three varieties of ants to go visit the neighbors? Many have small kids & they (ants)
    could feed much better down there!

  29. i had a house full of mice after our cat died. Luckily only one died in the wall, but the smell is awful!

  30. I don’t know how to solve your rat and fly problem, but I need to tell you that we had a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls and three young nearby. I loved hearing them, early in the mornings. Then they were gone. Our local granary had D-Con out for their rodent problem. The adult owls ate the mice and died. Use traps or cats. I am still very angry.

  31. Ugh! That’s a pretty horrific experience!!! Last summer we had a possum die under our front porch after being hit by a car. The only way we knew it was under there was the god-awful reek that consumed the entire city block. We eventually had to suck it up, put bandanas over our faces, trash bags protecting our arms, and scoop the rotting thing up with a shovel and bury it. Woof.

    As for rat poison being horrible for the ecosystem, you’re absolutely correct. In fact, there are serious issues with predators like owls, hawks, cougars, foxes, cats, and dogs becoming severely ill and dying after eating just one poisoned rat. That poison is incredibly effective, and often rats will engorge on much more poison than is needed for one rat-sized dose. If predators don’t die directly from secondary poisoning, their immune systems become so weakened as to make them fall victim to terrible mange. Secondary poisoning is serious sh*t. http://earthfriendlymanagement.com/info-on-rodenticide-issue/

    One effective, humane, and environmentally friendly way to continuously repel rats and other pests is with ultrasonic repellents. You just plug ’em into your wall sockets like Glade plugins. They produce a sound which is inaudible to humans, but drives rodents insane and out of your house. They even come with handy little night lights! I’ve heard excellent reviews both on the internet and in real life.

    You can also get pets which will eat/frighten away rats and mice. My cat is a mousing pro. Without him, I have not doubt we’d had mice problems. Number one suggestion is getting a professional to come out and help you rat-proof your home and habits! Good luck!!!!! I’m interested to see where your story goes!!

  32. I leave a high-pitched sound machine ON in my attic at all times. To keep away squirrels. Maybe try that. They make all kinds. Some plug in some run on battery. Some you can hear so ck them out first. Also. Peppermint oil. Will keep rodents away. They say.

  33. I used to write up reports on rodent exclusions for their estimates. I would highly recommend figuring out where they are getting in your house and patch it up. Where a rat gets in, many bugs follow, including bees. Also, giving poison to rats inside,.. makes them have bloody diarrhea and bloody vomit. It is a mess, and rats tend to carry life threatening diseases with them. Many we have yet to understand fully and worse than lyme disease. You will need some professional help.. and ratmageddon can turn into chewing swiss cheese in your walls and wiring.

  34. Your flies and rats definitely could have used a minty pick-me-up or some hairspray.

    I agree completely with the poster who suggested the essence of mint. Once a year, usually between fall-winter, my home has gotten visits from mice and roaches. I spray essence of mint in corners, along baseboards, behind appliances. If I see a roach, I spray it with the mint essence, and the menthol burns/suffocates the roach on contact. Mice do not like the smell either. I have lived in this house for 3 years. My plan of attack has been basically the same, and each year I see fewer and fewer pests. In a pinch, mouthwash can work. Even though the menthol is diluted, there may also be essence of hamamelis and/or cardamon (which contribute to the yummy aftertaste of Listerine), which they don’t like, either.

    Another unorthodox remedy – this time for the winged. One day in the summer many years ago, my sister and I were listening to music and sunbathing. A wasp came buzzing along, and would not leave us alone. Of all things, my sister pulled out a small can of Aqua- – – hair-spray and sprayed it at the attacking wasp. You know what? That wasp dropped straight to the ground,
    its wings stilled by the spray. We dispatched the thwarted attacker straightaway. Ever since, I keep a can of hair-spray under my kitchen sink. If I have a fly or two buzzing around, I spray it with the hairspray, and watch it just drop like a lead pellet to the ground.

    Never a fan of rat/mouse poison b/c you have absolutely no control over where they will expire, especially if they’re wont to crawl in between walls, ceilings, cubby-spaces, etc.

  35. How odd. Here (New Zealand) I just get greenbottles. They set in about a week after a poisoning and are gone after a day or two. Guess our rats aren’t fat enough for multiple generations. Now it’s winter and mice, they don’t seem to get flies, possibly because of the temperature.

  36. Reminds me of an encounter I had with flies, the big black ones that like to hang around cattle. We were renting an old farmhouse; one cold winter night I went up into the loft for something and was astonished to see the wooden boards under the tiles, absolutely covered with what must have been several thousand large black flies, almost exclusively on the south facing side, I assume this side was slightly warmer. I had always thought that flies died off in the winter but it would appear these were hibernating. I got a can of fly-spray and gave the loft a liberal dose. After about an hour, the frantic buzzing stopped. It was fairly late on so we decided to go to bed and check in the morning. Early next day, up into the loft with torch to check for corpses, NOTHING! Just thousands of wings, the mice had eaten the lot.

  37. Damn. I’m sitting here in my back yard having a beer in 25degree Vancouver weather, outraged to have just seen a rat berastd, and reading your post turned my outraged mood into a more comedic one.

    Great post.

    I’m doing the NSA a huge disservice by recommending this as they most likely flock to read your suspenseful writing but you need to get to where the dead rat is, remove it, and then get a cat.

    This will solve your problem and render you incapable of seeking out new ‘ratcon’, and in effect flyXNXWXSXE, material.

    Good luck and get a cat.

    1. Thanks for the best wishes! Unfortunately a cat is going to have a very hard time catching rats in my ceiling, though!

  38. I’m amazed someone would think you’d leave dead rats about wiillingly perhaps they didn’t bother reading the story.Yep they go off to die and try to find water side effect of the poison.We have been invaded this cold Winter and I trapped 13 babies .They come up the wall cavity nut trees keep them near but the cats catch them bring them in to play and lose them inside.Humane is best but sometimes impossible.

  39. Here in south Texas we had screw worms, that eat live flesh on living animals. Saw cow, standing up, with hole in her side big enough to put a fist into. I thought the screw worms came from blow flies..?

    1. Screw worms are the larvae of one group (or genus) of blowflies; the Cochliomyia. These are associated with dead bodies, and also cause lesions in living tissue as you describe. There are also other kinds of blowflies, and mine happened to belong to a different genus.

  40. Great. 🙁 Now what do I do???? In desperation I threw some rat poison under the house AFTER I eliminated their entry. Now they can’t get put and probably are already dying. What do I do now? Crawling under my house without rats (dead OR alive) has always been difficult for me as I am claustrophobic, but now with the thoughts of them greeting me when I go under is more than I can handle.

    1. If the space is accessible, an exterminator should be able to get in there for you. In my case, they were up in a closed ceiling where rafters made it impossible to locate the rats, but in a crawlspace they should be easier to find. Best of luck.

    2. This story and your comment are why people need to call a professional to eliminate a rodent problem…

  41. I use Adirondack home made mouse and rat traps. One time I caught 8 rats in the same trap. You get a large bucket and put a wire across the top. On the wire you place a soda can. Make a hole in one end and there is already a hole at other after drinking soda. Pour water in bottom.Place peanutbutter on can. Put a ramp up to top of bucket. Rats fall into water and drown. You can use over and over. It works wonderful!

  42. It remindes me Pied piper of Hemlin era. Killing will invite more unhygienic surroundings,little forgetfulness will invite even plage breeding. Bulk mouse traps will solve problems, you kill they bounce back it is law of nature.

  43. This is an excellent article that caused me to laugh a great deal, and is certainly not what I thought would happen when reading your story!

    We put rat poison into our ceiling void yesterday and I heard the first rat racing around our bedroom ceiling like a hare at around 4a.m. this morning.

    I began to ponder on how poisoned rats died and decided to Google the information, and that is how I found your horror story on your fly invasion after dealing with your rat plague.

    I would think that I would hate to have generations of flies evolving in my ceiling void and infesting my entire house and property, even if they only eat dead creatures and pet poo!

    Perhaps a better alternative to exterminating the rat populations in our neighbourhoods would be to catch them and ship them to rat eating countries or to feed them to birds of prey and snakes instead of torturing them to death with rat poison and then having to deal with the consequences of the rotting flesh – like putrid aromas permeating our houses and having to deal with Flymegeddons.

  44. I laughed so hard at your yes yes yes spray attack moment and many more who knew, and I’m not kidding I’m looking forward to part 2 , where is it . hahahaha where is the next chapter of Ratwars. erika vs rats.

  45. I sympathise.
    Using snap traps I caught nine, yes 9 rats under the floorboards. One or possibly more died & bave been impossible to locate. I moved out due to the stench. Now I’m back but the house is infested with flies & bluebottles. How long will this stage las can anyone tell me?

  46. Rat poison is easy, and it works. Try any other way, and you will likely go back to poisoning them, or live with rats.
    As for the flies the trick is keep the house as dark as possible, and open only a few door/windows to sunlight or artificial light outside, but here’s the thing nobody mentions, build a small fire in the lowest room with PAPER in a safe container. Just a few pieces of paper, and let it smolder. No flies will stick around like before, they will all do their best to leave. Repeat as necessary.

  47. I currently have this problem with mice. Didn’t realize where the flies were coming from until our sweet kitten got stuck underneath the house. My husband went through the crawl space to get her out and said the ground had many dead mice. I plan on sending him back today to get rid of the dead mice. Should solve the fly problem. How come you didn’t remove the dead rats?

  48. Recently a baby mouse saw unlucky trapped in week old closed tightly fitted doored bathroom with out food and expired.
    I scooped it on dust picker & hurried it with full honor .

  49. You need to get some working Jack Russell dogs in, they are used a lot by Farmer’s over here in UK, as they quite often steal animal feed etc. so chemicals can’t be used. You need someone who is used to using them for Ratting.

  50. Lol..This reminds me of the rats we had here in our attic that spoiled the wires and pipes. I tried so many different ways to get rid of them and finally ‘ Remove the wild’, animal and bird specialist. helped us to remove them.

  51. A nice article, I was researching how mouse died after eating mouse poison/ bait because I can hear the mouse in my room eating away the baits I placed in different locations and me happily saying finally, something that works! my flat mate got the mouse trap days ago, all it got its two mouse then nothing, they found their way upstairs as the trap was only placed downstairs in the kitchen, I think I can deal with the flies after the stench if that happens, is the mouse I’m deadly scared of, I’m having sleepless night

  52. I have a remote cabin which is left empty for months of the year. Naturally, I have issues with mice. I have used the green mouse poison blocks and later noticed mouse droppings that appeared green-I’m assuming from the poison. It made me wonder if the dust from the droppings is toxic to breathe. Any thoughts?

  53. I am so glad that I found the story. I was actually just about to do exactly that same thing. When I lay in bed at night, I hear the road and highway above my head were little feet and big feet race from one side of the room to the other. I figured the best solution was to make a little hole and put rat poison in it. I figured I will just make it through the stink of rotting carcass us and then be done with it. Now I think I will just call a service thanks to you. I am so curious to read how you tackled it the second time.

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