03:16PM | 02/08/05
Member Since: 01/02/05
1 lifetime posts
Hi All

I have two seperate questions about bugs and pest.

1.Have a animal in the attic ,it sounds large ,probably a possum or a raccon.

I picked up a trap cage at the flee market in which the door closes when the animal steps on the plate were the food is.

There is very little space up there its a 12 -2 roof with a ton of fiberglass that impairs visability so its going to be a bit tricky getting it up there .

Can anyone with experiance catching these animal offer any advise on what type of food Dould atrack them?

2.I have black sand looking droppings coming from the underside of the roof sheathing in the attic ,Im guessing its termites but I dont see any wing droppings .

Does that mean its its subteranian?

Thanks , ken

Jim D

12:21AM | 02/09/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
Kenn159 - hi, I used to live-trap nuisance raccoon when I was a teenager in NE Ohio. I did this for our local game warden, and you should be able to call yours to see if they offer this service for free in your area. He'd get the complaint call, and I'd get the call from him. I used live traps or "box traps" like you're describing. The bait I used was simply stale bread with honey on it. I caught oppossums as well as raccoons using that type of simple bait.

K2 has a a great point as well...those Havahart (brand name for popular line of live traps) units come in different sizes and you may not have bought one large enough for the critter you're hearing. For a large raccoon, your trap should be at least 48" long with the door opening no less than 18" by 18". The box traps I used were homemade from old road sign-type sheet metal with strong wire mesh over the top, and steel tracks for the door to fall straight down. The treadle used to trigger the door to fall shut was all the way in the back of the trap with just enough room for the bait.

When you place that trap, try to ensure it won't fall through your ceiling should you get something large enough that it can roll the trap over...if you think you know where the critter's getting inside the house, try placing the trap outdoors near that area. The stale bread & honey bait never seemed to attract birds, stray dogs/cats, or squirrels for me. However, it will catch other oppossums/raccoons that are within smelling distance of the bait. Just because you catch one doesn't mean you've got the one in the house if the trap's outdoors.

Finally - be sure to have good, thick leather gloves when handling the trap when something's in it. Whatever you catch will want out and will try to grab, claw, and/or bite anything that gets in range. If the trap you have is all wire mesh, then I'd highly recommend having a burlap bag to slide over the trap before picking it up. It can help calm whatever you've caught while you transport the trap to the release area. (I always took them at least 20 miles away from point of capture.) In 6 years of live-trapping, I only got bit once...but having my fingertip split open from the fingernail to the first joint, all the way down to the bone, was one more bite than I wanted!

As far as the droppings you're seeing from the roof sheathing - I can't help you there. Good luck - and be careful! Jim D/West Point, VA

Jim D

11:35PM | 02/09/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
K2 - hi, I agree that if anyone has any discomfort in this area, you'd want to call the local game warden, humane society, etc. and let them refer you to someone who can help. Hopefully, Kenn159 has seen my post, evaluated whether or not he wants to take this DIY task on, and will proceed from there.

I've personally never live-trapped an animal that appeared to be sick/diseased. I used to hunt raccoon as a kid (along with other small game) and I've killed game that did act unusual - like animals that wouldn't move even after I could walk right up to them out in the woods. If I had live-trapped an animal I thought was diseased, I'd have turned it over to the game warden to destroy since most of the nuisance critters I live-trapped were caught outside the legal hunting season.

My most recent experience along these lines was 1998. I worked in a basement office at Langley AFB in Hampton, VA and a co-worker spotted what he thought was a rat. It turned out to be a small oppossum so we called the base civil engineer's pest control folks. They brought out a Havahart trap and baited it with a big chunk of raw fish. I'd seen the size of the oppossum and told them I didn't think it'd trigger the trap. They told me they'd set it to trigger at the slighest touch...that critter got in, ate that entire chunk of fish, and got out without setting it off. It must've gotten so sick it ended up falling down the space between the drywall and the concrete walls. Unfortunately, it died when it hit the concrete footers and it took us about a week to localize its location (we had to wait for the smell to start). It was right in the commander's office! When he went to lunch that day, I cut into the drywall and removed the carcass, put some orange-based disinfectant/odor dissolver in there on a rag, and sealed the wall back up. The smell was totally gone in a couple days. (I think I posted this event back a couple years ago on this BBS...)

Anyway - as you say, K2 - if a person's not comfortable with the task, they should definitely call for assistance! I hope this helps some - regards! Jim D/West Point, VA

Jim D

11:36PM | 02/10/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
K2 - hi again! What actually happened with the "office critter" was he was way too small in size/weight to set off the trap the pest control folks used. He was only about 8 inches long (not counting his tail) and probably weighed in under a pound. The one time I'd seen it running around the false ceiling area before they came in, I could've grabbed it if I'd had good thick leather gloves on. (After the raccoon bite way back when, I won't grab a live uncaged critter without good gloves!) I warned them, but they figured I probably didn't know what I was talking about...

I can also tell you the commander wasn't pleased with the smell but he was happy I got it out of the wall...and sorry, but I've never acquired a taste for oppossum so I don't have any recipes!

Keep smiling - and Kenn 159, please let us know how you make out on catching the critter! Jim D/West Point, VA
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