8th December and today I treated the biggest wasp nest I've seen this year, the worker wasps were still bringing food into the nest and to say it was "active" would be an understatement, in the weak December sunshine they were really busy. What's going on with the weather? Last week while treating rats in Evercreech I saw daffodils out in full bloom and the local rooks are busy spring cleaning their nests.
Summer slipped seamlessly into Autumn and I was kept busy with wasps, moles and more rats than ever before. This year they seem to be everywhere - gardens, lofts, sheds, garages, anywhere there are poultry, stables, compost bins, sewers, under floors, in walls, up drain pipes, you name it and they'll have been there,no where seems safe from them this winter. We had an Autumn invasion in the hen run, the Fenn traps accounted for 5 or 6 in quick succession but I could tell from the fresh droppings and footprints in the mud of the run that at least one was evading the permanently sited traps. This rat had two well defined runs so I set a Fenn trap on each run buried in the soil & covered with weld mesh tunnels. After a couple of days I'd not caught it but rain overnight had left more mud in the pen and I could see from the tracks in the dirt that the culprit had changed his route to avoid my carefully sited traps. I can only assume that this rat had turned up with the others, seen his relatives get caught and learnt to avoid the metal devices placed strategically in the hen run.
The crafty rodent's new route took it straight acoss the middle of the pen so after the hens had gone to roost I set a "whip" snare on the clearly defined run, this was about 5.00pm as it was getting dark, at 8.00pm when I went to feed the dogs I shone my torch across the pen and was pleased to find the rat dead, suspended from the whippy stick.