Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The "Grate" Squirrel Caper

I've always thought squirrels were very "cute" creatures, but they can be a real problem at times. We had the small grey squirrel in Mississippi. My two story English Tudor home had vents in the eaves of the roof. With deterioration and probably with the help of the squirrels, some of these had broken and this allowed entry to the space between the two floors of the house. I started to hear a scratching sound overhead in the ceiling of my bedroom, most often at night, an annoying scurrying back and forth. I finally decided it had to be squirrels. I was afraid they would build nests and have families in my ceiling space. They can chew through wiring and this had been associated with home fires in several areas. But how do I get them out?

I thought about calling the pest control people and see if they could do something. A friend who is also a contractor suggested moth balls. He said to put moth balls in the space above my room. OhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhKaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy! How do I do this?

I purchased two boxes of moth balls. First, I tried to use a sling shot to "shoot" them up through the vent but this was a total bust. I thought a while and remembered the ShopVac in the garage. The exhaust was pretty powerful and I knew it could be used for a leaf blower, so I hooked the hose to the exhaust vent. The plan was to put a few moth balls in the hose and stick the other end up into the eave vent and the air would blow the moth balls up over the 2 x 4 lip into the space. I was less than positive about the outcome of this plan but having no alternative and not much time, it had to do.

I got the ShopVac set up, moth balls in place and the end of the hose in the vent. OK, now turn it on. Nothing happened at first, then I heard the moth balls start to rattle around in the hose, "whortle, whortle, whortle" and then a sudden shake and "whomp" as they shot up through the vent. It worked!!! You know, this is kind of fun, let's do a few more. Moth balls in, hose in place, turn on, "whortle, whortle, whortle....whomp". Again success. This is really fun. Let's do the whole box. That's a lot of moth balls. "Whortle, whortle, whortle, whortle, whortle........WHOMP!!!!!!" Wow! I could do this all evening! I made short work of the second box of moth balls as well.

I had been laughing excitedly and yelling "Yes"! Suddenly, I looked around, half expecting to see neighbors hanging over the fence watching this surreal performance. Thankfully, there were none. As I, now quietly, put away my ShopVac and got ready to pick up my daughter from ballet class, I thought "Man, I'm glad this was in the back yard and I have a six foot privacy fence. What a show". Then it dawned on me how pitiful and comical it was to have the main event of your day be shooting moth balls into a ceiling space with a ShopVac. No one should be this boring. worked. In about an hour they were gone. I replaced the grates in the vent a couple of days later and never had another problem with squirrels. The odor of moth balls, however, persisted for six months. I didn't mind, really. It was just too much fun.

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