LESLIE: Ed in Michigan has some unwanted visitors in and outside of his house; some snakes. And they all tune into The Money Pit on WPNW. Hey, Ed. How can we help?
ED: Well, you can help me by getting rid of all these snakes.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Are they – where are they? Everywhere?
ED: Well, I’ve got a – I’ve got a house on – a slab-on-grade house …
ED: … and they’re under the house; I’m assuming. And they come up through the trim and they come out from under the side of the house and (Leslie moans) everywhere and I’m catching them all the time and …
TOM: What kind of snakes are they, Ed?
LESLIE: Yeah, what do they look like?
ED: They’re garter snakes.
TOM: Oh, garter snakes.
LESLIE: OK. So you know they’re not harmful.
Well, there’s a couple of things you can do because we know you just want to get them away. You want to make sure that you eliminate the places where they like to live around your property. And what they really like when they’re eating and digesting their food is heat. They love dry, rocky locations where they really like to hide. And you want to be careful around wood piles and even large, flat areas of concrete because those tend to get warm under the sun.
ED: Oh. (INAUDIBLE) That makes a lot of sense.
TOM: And you also want to get rid of any of the hiding places that are around your house. For example, wood piles; trash cans; places like that, where snakes can sort of get under and hide and hang out. When they’re not exposed to that warm area they want to head into the cool areas. Flower pots, mulch piles; things like that are areas where snakes love to hide out.
ED: Sure. Sure. Yes.
LESLIE: And then also you want to think about they’re food sources, Ed. They love to eat rodents and they love to eat cockroaches. So you want to make sure that if you’ve got rodents around your house that you control that as well. You want to make sure that you keep all of the food sources that rodents or cockroaches would like away and sealed up. You know, you make sure you keep the pet food in sealable containers; not just in the bags that it came in. Keep your garbage bags tightly sealed. You want to make sure if you’ve got vegetable gardens that you harvest them regularly. Get rid of all the food that the snakes and their food sources like to chew on.
TOM: Have you noticed rodents around the house? Have you noticed mice or rats?
ED: We have quite a few mice and we have quite a few moles. Or actually, shrews (INAUDIBLE).
TOM: So what you need – the only thing that you’re missing here is a mongoose. (Leslie chuckles) That would take care of the snake problem.
ED: Well, that’s what I kept telling my wife. We need to get one.
LESLIE: Rikki-Tikki – it worked in Hawaii. There are no snakes at all.
TOM: Yeah, you know, if you were to – if you were to try to work on that rodent problem that might be the main source of snake food.
TOM: And so what you might want to do is to check the foundation perimeter for the small gaps. Watch the food that’s being left out that the mice get into. Think about putting down some bait pellets because that can take care of them quite quickly. And you know, the last thing you could do is you could think about putting in a snake-proof fence around the house. That is sort of a drastic step but it will help reduce them because snake fences are very, very close to the ground and they can’t get through it.
ED: Sure. What do those consist of? Because we’re in a vast country area here where there’s a lot of grain fields and, you know, getting a food system out of their way is not even an option. So …
TOM: No, I hear you. Well, they’re a couple of feet high and they’re very, very fine mesh so that snakes can’t get through it. I would tell you to work naturally first.
TOM: Eliminate those sources of food. Eliminate the basking places. Eliminate the hiding places and get rid of as many rodents as you can and perhaps they’ll do the right thing and go to the neighbors’ house.
LESLIE: And you know what, Ed (Leslie and Tom chuckle) – you know what, Ed? There’s a couple of old wives’ tale hints that maybe they work. Mothballs, if you put them where you see the snakes sort of coming in or around the house; that’s supposed to deter them. And also marigolds.
ED: Marigolds? Really?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because they’re kind of stinky.
ED: Alright. Yeah, we’ll try that. We’ll try anything. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, good luck.
ED: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.