You can tell I’m feeling more at home here now (now, that is, that I am getting ready to leave): this week I’ve been poisoning rats in my roof-space and not writing about it here.

Since the rains have finally come, we are getting beetles and termites. Last year the small brown beetles that look like peanuts, flew in their hundreds while I was teaching classes and students and staff were quietly picking them off each other as we got on with the lesson. A few weeks after that I awoke one morning to find piles of large lace-like wings under the security lamps on the walls of the college and I couldn’t figure out who had left them there.

Then, when I was at the language training in Makueni, we were infested with 1cm long termites with 2.5cm long wings in the hotel. The locals were catching them out of the air and putting them in a jar to take back and cook. They tried to gross me out by eating them raw and offering them to me.
“Yes,” I said in my long-suffering voice, “I know you want to eat them, and no, I’m not going to join you thankyou”.

This time the rains are late and we were bombarded by both kids of Dudu at the same time. I had to sweep piles of small beetles away from my front door and Jackson was picking large termites out of my teapot.

Meanwhile we are listening to footsteps on the cieling.
“I think that’s a rat”, said Jackson.
“I think its a large lizard”
“No, I’ts a rat, lizards dont have such clear footsteps”
I sighed and got out my Fuko-Kil and some bread to lob up through the hatch.

My rat poison has an expiry date of October 2005. What happens if rats eat expired poison? Do they get better?


  1. Natalie Says:

    In New Orleans, the termite season lasted about eight months, the length of our warm, wet season. We had a particular problem with Formosans that weren’t indiginous to this country, but ended up in New Orleans when troupes returned from the Pacific in WWII: brought them right into port in their boats. Oops. Most of the houses were made out of the wood of old barges that came down the Mississippi at the turn of the 20th century (brick was too heavy for houses, sank much quicker into the silt). Most of the termite exterminator companies were crooked, as well, so you paid them hundreds of dollars a year and still your house got eaten. We had a particularly bad termite infestation in the house we lived in on Webster Street. Our landlady was in her 80’s and a bit clueless and went for cheap rather than reputable when anything needed a fix. I once watched through the front door as the exterminator she had hired did the annual “inspection.” He got out of his truck, spun around on my sidewalk looking at the sky a few times, then got back in his truck and drove away. Two weeks later termites pretty much devoured the shower.

    We’ve heard the termites are going crazy down there now, but now there aren’t even any crooked exterminators to fight them.

  2. Raj Says:

    Using expired rat poison could be one of two things.

    1. It’s a cynical ploy by the manufacturer to get the punters to buy more of a product because they “think” the old one is no longer usable – which they then throw in the bin so it pollutes landfill. 😕
    2. It’s less potent as it gets older so it does not kill a rat, so the rat get immunity to the poison and thus becomes “Super Rat” 8)