Nobody Asked Me But: Bait choices among pest control advice

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We are entering the season when it becomes particularly difficult to rid ourselves of unwanted household pests. No matter what form they may take, they tend to hide in dark places, linger in the shadows, and generally make life miserable for those of us who rightfully lay claim to our abodes. And just when we think that we have finally exorcised ourselves of their annoying existence, they come crawling out again from behind the woodwork.

Sometimes these pests take the shape of scurrying rodents such as rats and mice. They can also flutter their way down into our air space like moths and other flying insects. As if that wasn’t harrowing enough, pests such as spiders and bed-bugs will gross us out by creepy-crawling over, under and through our furniture and bedding.

In this, the year 2021, heading the list of pests we can’t seem to get rid of are ex-presidents. You can censure them, impeach them, vote them out of office, protest their policies and demonstrate against them out in the streets, and still they find a way to stick around and lurk in the murky darkness as they wait for an opportunity to inflict themselves on our consciousness again.

At the front of this unwanted vermin line stands one Donald John Trump. It may seem, after his disputed election loss and subsequent claim that a second term was stolen from him, that he has retreated back to his usual habitat of exclusive golf courses, luxury hotels and ostentatious condo towers. It would be a mistake to assume that this is the case. Trump has about as much interest in blending into the background haze as a peacock on steroids.

As any reliable pest control professional will tell you, the best way to eliminate bothersome pests is to observe their behaviour. No matter how random their movements may seem to you, they are laying down a pattern that, if you can decode their routines, will help you to eliminate them once and for all.

In the case of rodents, these movements take the form of traffic patterns across your floors. Rats generally prefer to scamper along the baseboards of a room and they show a genuine disdain for crossing any open area where escape is much more difficult. For this reason, traps laid out alongside room walls are much more likely to get in the way of and eliminate the intruding rodent. And speaking of walls, this might be the motivation indeed for Trump’s obsession with walls of any kind, especially when dealing with his immigration policy.

Of course, when employing traps to catch intruding pests, careful consideration must be given to what kind of bait you should use. Poisons are out of the question (unless you are representing Putin and his Russian cronies) because the offending nuisance will likely drag itself back to its lair inside the wall where it will breathe its last breath. The resulting stench of an animal decomposing behind your drywall should be reason enough to rule out poison bait.

Small chunks of cheese have been the go-to standard for baiting rat and mouse traps for centuries, but have fallen out of favour because of their propensity to become dislodged from their position before the kill can be completed. The other problem is that they tend to go stale if left in the trap and consequently lose the odour that attracts the rodents to explore the trapping device. The current number 1 replacement for cheese is a smear of peanut butter, which is sticky enough to remain in place while the offending rodent reconnoitres around the doomsday device. For those whose critters display a more gourmet palate, pest control experts recommend a medium helping of Nutella.

One of the main reasons we are so disgusted by these invasive pests is that they continually attempt to help themselves to our stuff. Perhaps it is food stored on the shelves of the pantry. Maybe it’s that big sack of black oil sunflower seeds that we have designated for filling our bird feeders. Then again, it just might be that expensive bag of dry cat food meant for our household pets.

In the case of Trump, we find that he has also tried to infiltrate and damage much of what we hold near and dear. During the course of his presidency, he has attempted to rout out many of our values such as democracy, human rights and personal dignity. He has used fake news to cover up his tracks, and has relied on populism, cheap personal charisma and flamboyant flag waving to confuse the public regarding his true intentions.

It may be too early to close the book on our dear Donald. It may look to us like we have finally rid ourselves of his annoyingly turbulent presence and that he has ridden his horse of many colours off into the sunset, but we might be fooling ourselves here. We must prudently ask ourselves who is laying the trap for whom. As long as the cheese, or Nutella, is still up for grabs, we can’t expect Trump to remain satisfied blasting his golf balls into fairway traps in the southern Florida sunshine. It is not too much of a stretch to anticipate, just when we think that the war is over, that the battle-cry of “Make America Great Again” will come crashing down on our ears once more.

Nobody asked me, but there is a good possibility that we might find the next little while a bit on the tame side. Without Donald Trump and his daily Twitter feeds, his snarky attacks on legitimate media journalists and his misdirection of blame onto anyone who disagrees with him, modern life will surely be lacking in excitement.

Just as likely, Trump is capable of sniffing out the return path to Washington and the White House. The road may be littered with failed insurrections, trashings of the Capitol and gun-toting Proud Boys, but don’t put it past the Donald to follow his scent and worm his way back. And don’t go putting that jar of Nutella too high up on a shelf in the pantry. 

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