Hey there! I’m Sean and the founder of Conquer Critters. I’m a homeowner who has been fighting with various pests and critters for the past 15 years.
My first experience with pests came about a week into moving into my first home. The home had been empty for several months before I moved in (or so I thought…).
Within a week, I started hearing scratching in the attic. Then I noticed that something had chewed through a bag of cereal. Strange.
Up until now I really wasn’t sure what was going on. Did my dog somehow get into the cereal bag? Impossible.
The final clue came just a few days later when I found rodent poop on my kitchen counter. I quickly doused everything I could reach in Lysol and set up some rat traps over night.
The next morning the 4 traps I set had gone off. Something took the bait, but somehow evaded being caught in the snap trap.
I kept at it and within a few night, I got one! A massive rat!
I still heard scratching, but further efforts to trap the remaining rats were unsuccessful.
I was sitting on my couch with my feet propped up on the table. I noticed movement below me and nearly jumped out of my socks when I realized what was going on.
The rat walked directly under my legs! When I jumped, it scurried off to a nearby closet.
I was stunlocked. What do I do now?
A few seconds later I noticed a large, clear, tupperware storage container. Was I bold enough to trap it?
Might as well go for it.
I put on long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and shoes. I slowly crept up to it and it backed further into the corner of the closet.
I slowly put the storage container over it. I had it trapped!
I slowly scooted it along the ground towards the back door. I opened the door, but there was one last obstacle, the door threshold.
I got it right up against the threshold and started banging and making noise to scare it towards the door.
I tilted the container and it darted outside!
That was the end of my rat situation (for the time being…)
My next major issue came in the form of squirrels. Again, it started with some scratching in the attic. This time is sounded more like digging.
I assumed I was again going to be dealing with rats.
I looked for feces, but never found any. I set some traps, but they never went off.
After I used the full depth of my knowledge, I ended up calling a professional.
He started to climb the ladder to the attic and got about 3 steps from the top, stopped and said “I see squirrels”.
He set some traps that he baited with squirrel scents and got to work repairing their access point.
My gutters had gutter guards installed to prevent leaves from getting in. It turns out that to install those, they wedge them under the roofing. By doing this, they create a perfect access point for squirrels.
And once they had the access point, they chewed to make it larger. The hole was nearly a foot long and about 6 inches wide.
After the repairs were complete, I waited for scratching and checked the traps. I never heard any more scratching and the traps never went off. After a week, the exterminator said if there were squirrels still in the attic, they would not be alive.
This ends my squirrel story.
My next foray into rats started with something that I didn’t think had anything to do with critters of any sort.
One day I started my dishwasher and it started pouring water out underneath.
I pulled my dishwasher out to see if it was something I could repair or not.
I started with the connections. Surely one of the clamps had come loose. Nope, that’s not it.
Finally, I noticed it.
The drain line was chewed through. Not this again…
I looked closer at the wall behind the the dishwasher and there were tunnels carved out in the insulation.
I set a trap in the dishwasher space.
I turned off the lights to go to bed that night and within 5 minutes. SNAP!
I got up to check and sure enough I trapped a rat, but it wasn’t dead. It was struggling and suffering. I wasn’t sure what to do.
I did some quick googling and the solution was to drown it. I filled a bucket and did the deed.
Fortunately it was over within seconds.
The next day, I looked around the outside of the house on the exterior wall that has the dishwasher. Sure enough, I saw a hole just large enough for a rat.
I repaired it and set another snap trap just in case. The snap never came.
The final incident and the one that inspired me to create this website came bright and early one morning.
I got up and walked into my weight room. My weight room is a converted carport that the previous owner enclosed.
It’s mostly isolated from the house and has only two doors, one from the main house and one into the backyard. It also has a drop ceiling and an in-wall air conditioner.
I had been awake for less than 15 minutes and I made my way into the weight room for my four times a week lifting session.
I opened the door and turned on the light. I immediately noticed a bunch of things on the floor. A box fan was knocked over. The towels were all pulled off the towel racks. And one of the speakers was laying on the floor. I was a bit confused what was going on.
Then I saw it. A raccoon straddling the door frame and the ac unit.
Huh. Now what.
I close the door to collect my thoughts.
How can I get this thing out of here? Do I call animal control? Can I get this thing out of here by myself?
I decided that I would be able to get the door to the backyard open.
I put on long pants and a long sleeve shirt. And then I grabbed one of my hockey sticks – protection just in case.
I went into the backyard and opened the door. Then I went back into the house and went towards the weight room.
The raccoon must have caught a whiff of fresh air and it started to climb over the door toward the outside.
I stomped my foot to give him a bit of “encouragement”.
He jumped off the door and he darted outside, never to be seen again.
In the aftermath, I started to clean up and noticed that he had pulled one of the ceiling tiles aside and came in through the attic.
I had one stroke of luck in all of this. If you remember, this was a former carport that was enclosed many years into the life of the house. This meant the attic over the weight room was isolated from the attic in the rest of the house.
I got into the roof, quickly identified his entry point, and repaired it.
The Rest of It
The above stories took place over about 15 years. Throughout all of this, I’ve also struggled with your standard indoor pests – ants, cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, and one brief period of fleas on my dog.
I’ve also dealt with chipmunks, rabbits, and deer eating landscaping and my vegetable garden.
These things all led me down the path that brought me to starting Conquer Critters.
I’ve picked up A LOT of tips and tricks over the years. I’ve also tried a ton of different products, poisons, traps, etc.
I am 100% sure I can teach you something and I hope that you can teach me something too.
If you want to get in touch with me, please reach out on the contact page.