The number of stoats and weasels I have been catching has risen sharply over the last fortnight, and I’m sure that it has something to do with the changing seasons. Coming into some money over the weekend, I bought a few more Mk.4 spring traps on Tuesday in an attempt to make as much of an impact as possible on the stoats and weasels while they are still moving around.
I bought the first batch of traps in November, and had the luxury of time which allowed me to bury them in a pit for two months before use. When I dug them up, they were mottled and had lost every sign of human odour. Since then, they have worked really well for me, but the problem I had with my new traps is that they need to be set up as soon as possible, and two months weathering in a pit is out of the question. Picking up advice from friends, I decided to accelerate the ageing process artificially.
Tea seems like an innocuous substance, but I will now look twice at the nation’s favourite cuppa. The traps were boiled in a vat of tea for five hours, then they were decanted into a bucket and left to soak for two days. The resulting effect on the galvanised steel was dramatic. Shiny silver surfaces had turned into a matt purple, and every sign of preservative wax or human smell had vanished altogether.
Some people stain their traps with special dyes so that they are harder for stoats and weasels to see, but since I have caught both vermin species with shiny galvanised traps, I don’t think that colour makes much of a difference, particularly if the jaws are half buried into a scoop in the soil anyway. However, if I had wanted to stain my traps a different colour, tea is definitely a cheap way of doing it.
If that’s what tea does to galvanised steel, I hate to think what it has done to the stomach linings of grannies across the country.