Do You Have a Mouse in Your House? Part 1

pest controlI went to a client’s house the other day in Rochester, NY. I was there for a mold inspection. The client told me they did not see any mold, but there was a distinctive odor in the basement. Once I got to the bottom of the basement stairs, I was able to determine that the odor was not mold, but a dead animal. I got my ladder out and took a ceiling tile down. I found feces everywhere I could see. I went through the “fun” of sniffing amongst the feces laden tiles to try to determine the location of the dead animal. The closest I could get was along the garage wall. I pulled the insulation from the rafters separating the basement from the garage, and there was the dead mouse tangled in the insulation.

If you are not sure if you have mice in your home, there are some areas to look at and things to look for. Ceilings are a great place to start. Drop ceilings are the easiest as the tiles can be taken down fairly easily (just be sure to watch out. If you tip the tile too far and mice have been living up there, you will wear the leftovers). Hard ceilings are more difficult, but if you have an unfinished side of your basement, there can usually be an opening that will let you see some of the top side of the ceiling. If not, lights can sometimes be removed to take a peek.

Insulation on the walls can be another area the mice like to nest. You will usually see the evidence in the sill plate where the foundation meets the house. This is not only cozy for the mice, but it is near the outside for easy access to the outdoors.

Kitchens are an obvious area to look. However, most people do not look under the sink. Instead, they try to see evidence where the food is. When the mice make it from the basement to the kitchen, they use the pipe chase to get into the kitchen. Once under the kitchen sink, they find a hole that leads them to behind the cupboards to access the food.

What you should be looking for is “black rice”. The feces a mouse will leave looks like a grain of rice that is black. This will be the easiest thing to spot. This is what you as a homeowner should be concerned about. There are many viruses and bacteria that feed on the feces. When it gets dry, any airflow will pick the feces, and henceforth the viruses and bacteria, into the air for you to breathe. You can have respiratory or even neurological issues from these.

Stay tuned for our next blog regarding what you should do if you find a mouse in your house.