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Posted: May 6, 2011 12:00 a.m.

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County agent questions

Rats and Mice
Many of you would be surprised to hear some of the questions that are logged in a typical county extension office in the spring. I try to tell people all the different questions we answer during the year but the list never ends. During the past few days, I have had many calls about rodent control.

I know all living things have a purpose, but some may say "so what." When rats or mice are in your house, they have to go. I have to admit the new car commercial showing rats riding in a cool car rather than a cardboard box or toaster is funny, but rats are not so cool when they start eating holes in your socks. Some have had rats digging up their vegetable garden seeds. That is really going too far.

Mice and Rats Damage
Mice and rats damage food, carry diseases, chew on almost anything and are just plain dirty. If you think something is in your attic, basement or walls, take a look at the web link below. This is a good publication from the Warnell School of Forestry at the University of Georgia that gives many more important facts and control measures.

Rats and Well Water Quality
What do rats and well water have in common? Nothing really, but rats can and will fall into wells from time-to-time, contaminating drinking water. Preventing this from happening is very important. The first thing to do is to check your well casing for cracks leading into the ground.

If there are any cracks, seal them with the same material the casing is made from. Most bored wells have concrete leading into the ground. The casing can break, leaving an entry point for a rodent. Once inside, there is nowhere to go but down to the water table with no way out.
If you can't find any cracks, pour a concrete curbing around the casing. This helps prevent future problems. Also, look at the top of the casing and make sure that the lid fits over the casing tightly- excluding any possible entry point.

If you have a drilled well, chances are less that anything can enter. The casing is smaller and tighter, not allowing animals to find their way inside. Take a look at the following web link for publications on well water quality.

Homeowners can test their water quality by using a bacteria testing kit available at the Newton County Extension Office. We recommend testing well water once a year just to be on the safe side. Our office is in the Administration Building at 1113 Usher St., Suite 202, Covington, GA 30014. Call (770) 784-2010.

Ted Wynne is the County Extension Coordinator for Newton County. He can be reached at

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