Mouse Entering Wall Through Dryer Vent


  #1  
Old 01-04-05, 01:31 PM
GetMiceOut
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Angry Mouse Entering Wall Through Dryer Vent

A few nights ago, I heard a scratching sound behind the stove in my kitchen. There is apparently a mouse coming and going back there, entering through a loose screen in my dryer vent on the side on my home. As far as I can tell, it has not been successful in gnawing through the wall. And after plugging ultrasonic pest repellent units in the rooms where the scratching has occurred, I didn't hear any signs of the mouse last night.

I realize that I should make sure that the mouse is out of there before I attempt to secure the vent... How can I make sure that the mouse is gone? And once I am fairly confident that there are no other animals in my walls, what is the best way to repair/secure my dryer vent to ensure that this doesn't happen again?

Thank you in advance for your help! I will be incredibly relieved when this is over... It is no fun camping out near my kitchen and powder room, listening for any scratching or gnawing sounds in the middle of the night.
 
  #2  
Old 01-05-05, 04:37 PM
adolpho
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I don't really have a good answer but I decided to reply since no one else has. I had this happen before because the flapper on the vent didn't close properly. In my case I could hear it scratching in the corrugated duct behind the dryer and the main feed runs along the basement joists. I probably got lucky but I decided to turn the dryer on which spooked him to run to the vent entrance and then I managed to take a bent/looped clothes hanger and ran it into the top of the vent and then lower it and pulled it along the bottom of the vent which pulled him out and away he ran. As I said I was probably very lucky.
You should be able to tap on the duct and if something is in there you will likely hear it moving around as you scare it.

I haven't tried these and I don't know how much effect they have on the pressure required to open the flap but I have seen dryer vent closure such as at this site:

http://www.crittercontrol.com/catalo...s/dept_10.html

home depot also have dryer vents with guards, though I am not convinced that the plastic guards will keep out anything that wants to get in. Still its better than nothing.

Another thing to consider though is how what you use may trap lint, which can be a fire hazard.

My understanding is that mice are active at dawn and dusk and not much during the day, so another thing that could help would be to make sure you aren't running your dryer near those times, where the warmth exiting the house will tend to attract them, especially in winter.
 
  #3  
Old 01-05-05, 11:54 PM
GetMiceOut
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Thank you so much for your suggestions, adolpho! I just went out to look at the flapper today, and it appears that it is bent, as if some little critter pushed it in with his head! Also, my vent is really weird, in that it is on the ground floor when the dryer is on the second floor, so all the ducts are behind walls. I will try the wire hanger trick to see if I can pull the flapper back down and possibly flatten it out again.

I live in a condo complex, so I have asked the property management company for guidance in what to do about the dryer vent... I think it is poorly designed and not exactly rodent-proof, but there's not much I can do without their approval, since it is on the outside of the building.

Thank you for the reminder on the lint being a potential fire hazard... I will definitely make it a point to clean the lint out once this fiasco is over. And I will pay attention to the time of day when the dryer is on too! It has been colder and rainier than normal here in L.A. lately, so that is probably why the critter has sought shelter.

Thanks again for your reply!
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-05, 11:43 AM
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Get rid of mouse

I have had this problem with rats before at apartment building what we did was have trash can removed and steam cleaned. Then put out plastic feeder boxes with rat poison by vent on outside. Soon we had no more rat problems.You may want to put out a commercial blue box also it keeps the rain out and gives the mice a nice place to consume their poison. Mechanical mice traps work good too but a lil messy. If you prefer not to kill one of gods creatures there's a way to do that too build a close net wire box and attach it to the house a 8x8x8 box open on side attached to house allows venting without clogging up vent periodically you can remove box to clean it this works well and isn't unsightly if you have flowers or bushes near the vent box. I built one for church they didn't like the poison ideal mice can't chew through this, rats thats another story they are a determined bunch.
 
  #5  
Old 01-13-05, 12:14 AM
GetMiceOut
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Thanks for your help, noroomsforme! I am convinced it is a mouse and not a rat, since I have seen one running around outside. I have no problems with killing it, since I realize that there's always the chance that it will try to find a way back in as long as it is alive. I just want to make sure that none of the wildlife in the area (squirrels, birds, etc.) are affected, since they are innocent bystanders and haven't done any harm.

The idea about the wire box is a good one... I just hope the association will allow me to do something like that, so I can make sure that the vent is secured and this won't happen again.

Thanks again for your help!
 
  #6  
Old 01-16-05, 08:05 PM
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If placing bait outdoors for mice & rats, it is best to use a bait station to keep the pets out. Exclusion is the best control for keeping mice and rats out of homes. Dryer vent should be covered with pest proof cover or flapper kit. Vent should be checked regularly for lint buildup.
 
  #7  
Old 01-17-05, 09:47 AM
GetMiceOut
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Thanks for your help, twelvepole! I haven't seen or heard any signs of the mouse in the wall over the past couple of weeks. And the property management company is going to send a maintenance guy out to fix my vent. I just wish there was a way to make sure that the little guy really has vacated the premises! He probably has, now that it's warmer and the rains have finally stopped, but I wish there was a way to know for sure!
 
  #8  
Old 02-17-05, 03:06 PM
GetMiceOut
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Update on problem...

It has been about a month and a half since I first reported this problem.
Here is what has taken place since the last time I posted...

Last week, the property management company sent someone from the pest control company over. The gentleman who came by secured our dryer vents and left bait stations near the areas where I had spotted some activity.

The good news is, I have not seen any mice/rats outside since the bait stations were installed, and the dryer vents are still secure (even though I did hear something trying to chew on it the first few nights).

However... The bad news is that it appears that the mice/rats were on the inside trying to get out, rather than the other way around. I had not heard any sounds other than the chewing on the vents for the first few nights, and I optimistically thought I was home free when I had not heard anything over the past few days. Well, this morning, I heard some scratching sounds in my powder room wall again!

Should I call the pest control guy back to try and have it removed/poisoned, or should I hope that it eventually runs out of food in there and dies before it manages to chew its way out? Now that the vents have been secured, I am hoping that that things will be peaceful again once we take care of the critter or critters that are trapped in the wall. (I know, dream on!)

Also, will I need to repair any of the duct work inside my wall when this is over? I don't know much about how these vents work, and I don't exactly understand how it was able to get from the dryer vent to inside of the wall.

Thanks for listening and thanks in advance for your help!
 
  #9  
Old 02-17-05, 04:31 PM
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GetMiceOut,

Just when you think you're in the clear.....

I think you should consider getting the pest control tech. back to your place to check this out. From the sounds of it he only put a couple of stations on the outside - which is good to help prevent them from coming indoors, but does nothing once they're already inside. If you hear mice inside still, they need to put some traps down for you. It is good that you got the dryer vent fixed though, it should prevent any future problems.

Good luck,

Jay
 
  #10  
Old 02-17-05, 07:19 PM
GetMiceOut
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Yes, I guess I was hoping that my problems had been solved, since I am tired of losing sleep over every little sound that I hear.

While I am relieved that the dryer vent is now secured, and that there is no longer a way in (or out), we now have to figure out what to do about the current occupant(s) within the walls. To the best of my knowledge, it hasn't chewed through my wall (yet), so I am guessing that the pest control guy would have to drill a hole in the wall to get to it. The only problem is that I live in a condo and I have common walls with two other units, so who knows if he is still there...

I will give them a call and see what they say...

Thanks for your help and your speedy reply! I really appreciate it!
 
  #11  
Old 02-17-05, 08:07 PM
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Poison baits tend not to be recommended for indoor use, as mice may die indoors inside walls or other inconspicuous place. Then, homeowners have to live with odor until animal completely decomposes. Depending on size, this could take several weeks.
 
  #12  
Old 02-17-05, 11:13 PM
GetMiceOut
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If the mouse/mice is currently between my wall and my neighbor's wall and there are no signs of entry into either living space, what would you recommend -- other than poison? Should we wait until it chews its way through someone's wall to trap it (ugh), or hope that it uses up its food supply and dies on its own? Is there anything the pest control guy could do? Thanks.
 
  #13  
Old 02-18-05, 12:24 PM
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GetMiceOut,

Generally, if mice are living in walls they usually have a way of coming to and from their nests. If I was doing the job, I would look for a place somewhere around that area where I could set snap traps for it/them. With that being said, I'm sure there is the odd situation where a mouse may get trapped in a wall void and not make it out.

Is there anywhere around this area where you find mouse droppings or other evidence of mouse activity? Perhaps there could be mouse activity on your neighbors side? Are you on speaking terms with them? You guys might have to put in a team effort to get rid of this little rascal.

As far as the poison goes, if a mouse dies inside a wall, chances are you are never going to know, seeing that the wall is probably sealed well. Even when a mouse does die from poison, I find that is usually no longer than a week for the odour to dissappear. For a home however, I would generally lean towards using snap traps and staying away from bait. At least with a snap trap, you can throw the trap and mouse right into the garbage with no chances of dead mice lying around.

Have fun ,

Jay

P.S. Good luck hoping for a mouse to starve to death, I doubt that happens much, they are pretty good little scavengers.
 
  #14  
Old 02-18-05, 04:47 PM
GetMiceOut
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Hi Jay --

The only evidence of activity we were able to find was outside -- when I actually saw a mouse going into the dryer vent (which has since been secured) and an area near my neighbor's patio (where the pest control guy spotted some droppings). There has been no evidence of activity inside either of our units or outside in the common area since the pest control guy came last week. The only known activity has been inside the vent/wall, when it tried to chew its way out for the first few days and when I heard sounds in my powder room wall yesterday.

Now that the point of entry has been sealed, I am guessing that the mouse is pretty much contained within the wall, unless it happens to find another way outside or chews its way through someone's wall. At this point, I am fine with taking the chance of having it die inside the wall. Dealing with the smell for a while seems better than forever worrying if it will chew a hole in my wall when I'm not home to do something about it.

I'll talk to my neighbor and see what he thinks about poisoning the critter and hopefully putting an end to this never ending nightmare once and for all. I was leery about using traps and poison outside due to the other innocent wildlife we have out there. But the only critters we would harm inside the walls shouldn't be there in the first place, so I have no problem taking that risk.

Thanks for all your help! Have a great weekend!
 
  #15  
Old 03-04-05, 12:04 AM
GetMiceOut
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Update: It's dead -- I think!!! (I hope!!!)

We hadn't seen or heard any signs of the critter in my wall since the last time I wrote... until yesterday, when I noticed a slight funky odor coming from the wall behind one of my kitchen cabinets (where I first heard the scratching sounds). I had done a thorough cleaning of my kitchen last weekend, and the smell wasn't there at the time, so this is a new occurence. I don't know what a dead mouse/rat smells like, but I am hopeful that I have finally received proof that the critter in my wall has finally met its demise.

While I realize that the battle with mice/rats is an ongoing one, I am hoping that: 1) there was only one critter in my wall, 2) it is now dead, and 3) this closes the chapter on this particular battle, that has gone on for over 2 frustrating months now.

Thank you again to those who replied for all your help, support, and advice!
 
  #16  
Old 03-04-05, 03:05 PM
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GetMiceOut,

Thanks for the update. The only bad part seems to be that you've got to deal with that odour for the next week or so. But that must seem like a small price to pay for the last couple of months of headaches.

Glad to see that the problem ended for you.(hopefully)

Jay
 
  #17  
Old 03-04-05, 03:32 PM
GetMiceOut
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Thanks, Jay!

Hi Jay --

Thankfully, you only notice the odor when the rarely used corner cabinet doors are open. If the doors aren't open, you could stand right in front of them, take a deep breath, and not notice a thing.

I'm hoping my problem is finally over... If not, as the governator is known to say, "I'll be back"!

Take care and thanks again for your help!

Have a great weekend!
 
 

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