Mice in attic, please HELP!


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Old 08-16-12, 08:35 PM
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Mice in attic, please HELP!

Hello All,

I hope someone can help me with my mice problem. It is driving me absolutely crazy!

I first noticed a scratching sound in the ceiling of my kitchen on Jul 19, 2012 at 11 pm.

On Jul 23 I heard scratching sounds in the ceiling of another room (office) at 12:55 am.
More noises followed on the Jul 25.
On Jul 27, noises were heard in the office both in the ceiling and also at the bottom of a wall at a corner.

On Jul 28 I set two mouse traps in the attic at the attic door, and checked them on the 29th but there were no mice caught.

Jul 30 and 31 roofers came and put new shingles on my roof.
Aug 1, I smelled something really bad in my bedroom and checked the attic.
Two mice were killed in the traps.
I set four new traps and caught another mouse on Aug 3.

Two more mice were trapped on Aug 4.

I continued to hear noises in the evening and at night, regularly.

Three mice were trapped Aug 5 and another Aug 10.
A friend recommended I place traps outside as well, which I then did.

I caught one mouse outside on Aug 11 and another Aug 13. I caught one more mouse on Aug 15 in the attic for a running total of ten in the attic (10) and two (2) outside.

I have tried to educate myself the best I could on mice in the attic.

I have called approximately ten pest control companies and two human animal control companies.

All of the pest control companies use the same approach. They come over, poke their head in the attic and throw poisonous bait into the attic or place bait stations near the attic door.

They also point out likely mouse entry points and leave it to me to take care of them.

They charge from $160-295 for their service.

The humane animal control companies don't kill any animals, they set one way doors at suspected points of entry and play the waiting game until all animals have left the house.

One company came over and gave me a quote and pointed out all of the possible points of entry. The company's quote was for $1340.

What have I done so far besides set the traps?
I caulked a bunch of the possible entry points that were shown to me by the humane animal control company.

I cut back a couple of trees that were close to the roof.
I cut back plant growth near the sides of my home, leaving a 3-4 foot open boundary.
I sealed most of the weep holes in the bricks with a special plastic insert that still allows drainage.

I just bought two new vinyl strips to attach to the bottom of my garage door. There has always been gaps at the bottom of the two doors which could be possible entry points.

I bought poisonous bait, popped my head into the attic door and threw them where it was possible to throw them, near the walls.
There is a maze of vertical wood joists that makes it impossible to throw the bait to the areas where I hear the noises at night.

When the roofers were doing their work, I asked them to check for any roof openings. They didn't find any.

I then asked the roofer to cut two holes in the roof at the exact locations where I was hearing the scratching noises.
I gave him poisonous bait and asked him to throw it inside the attic at those locations. He did it for me.

The noises continue practically every night and I log the times when they occur as best I can.
They start as early as 7 pm and go right through the night until 8 am.

Needless to say I haven't had a good night of sleep for a month now!
This mice problem is really devastating.

I'm really at a loss for what to do now.
My house has been invaded. I don't know the extent of the invasion. There could be 5, 10, 20, 30 or more mice up there now.

It feels like they have taken over my property. I feel violated. It is a horrible feeling.

I have lived in this house for 14 years (it was new when I moved in) and this is the first time mice have invaded it.

Not a single one of the pest control companies would take affirmative action and go into the attic, find the nest(s) and get rid of them.

Please advise me what I should do next. Thank in advance!
 
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Old 08-18-12, 07:51 AM
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Have you hired any of the companies that you've called? In any case the rodenticide should work. Are rodents consuming the bait ? Another scenario is that something else is making the noise. Something that isn't consuming the bait such as bats , birds, etc.

Scattering the bait from the opening is good enough as rodents will find it. Keep freshly baited traps set as well and monitor the rodenticide as to activity.
 
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Old 08-18-12, 06:25 PM
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Have you hired any of the companies that you've called? In any case the rodenticide should work. Are rodents consuming the bait ? Another scenario is that something else is making the noise. Something that isn't consuming the bait such as bats , birds, etc.
Thanks for helping out!

No I haven't hired any. The pest control companies were all going to do the same thing and none were willing to step foot into theattic. So I figured I could do the same thing they were going to do for much less money. They also were going to be a one-shot deal. No return visits unless more fees were paid. When I did my daily routine a couple of days ago (checking the traps, re-stocking etc.) I checked a piece of bait close by the attic door. I could see that one edge had been nibbled on. At first I thought that there could be more than one animal in the attic. Now I'm pretty sure it's just mice.

Scattering the bait from the opening is good enough as rodents will find it. Keep freshly baited traps set as well and monitor the rodenticide as to activity.
OK. I can only monitor one or two pieces of bait (unless I throw in some more) as they are the only ones close to the attic door.It would just be too risky/scary for me to try to enter the attic by foot. And it's heating up again.

I'm thinking about trying something a little different.
If I try to throw some mothballs towards the nest, will the smell make its way into the house?
I know mice hate the smell of mothballs, but so do I. I wouldn't want it to backfire because there would be almost no way for me to get the mothballs back.

Also I wouldn't be inclined to put the mothballs at the attic entrance at this stage, because that's where the mouse traps are set up. The mothballs would certainly keep the mice away from the traps.
 

Last edited by DoMark; 08-18-12 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Add a question.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:34 AM
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It all sounds good. Not necessary to monitor all bait; good news that you saw some nibbling. I fear that the mothballs would interfere with the baiting strategy. Besides, moving the mice from one place to another isnít necessarily what you want. Dead mice are better than live mice. The rodenticides that you buy over the counter are the same active ingredient as we use. After consuming the bait it will take 1-3 days for rodents to die. It can take a day or so until they find it before eating so that is the timeline. New mice may move into attic after a while so donít be alarmed. Keep the bait around attic entrance fresh; donít scatter anymore bait unless serious re-infestation occurs. Once they die off then a couple bait blocks at attic opening will suffice. Another idea would be to place an exterior bait station(s) around perimeter of house. They are lareger and more secure than interior stations. Do you have a basement/crawl space? If so, bait on top of the foundation wall as well and keep that fresh. One feeding will be enough to kill a mouse, but may take several days. Be patient, I think your problem is nearly solved. I get mice in our house periodically even though I sealed things well (much less than previously though).
 
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Old 08-20-12, 05:38 PM
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Thanks very much PA!

It's good to know I'm on the right track.

I feel that I have turned the corner and perhaps the end is in sight.

It's now been five days and counting that I haven't caught a mouse in the attic. One week since I caught one outside.

I still however continue to hear slight movement in the front room, ceiling corner in the evenings, where I'm certain the nest is located.

I will hold off then with the mothball strategy.

When you mentioned keeping the bait fresh, were you referring to the mouse trap bait and the rodenticide or just the trap bait?

How long can the rodenticide be effective before replacing?

I will get some exterior bait stations shortly. One exterior mouse trap that was sitting for more than a week was triggered last night. There was fur left in the trap, no mouse. The fur looks much too long to belong to a mouse, so I figure a cat must have triggered it and paid the price.

Yes I have an unfinished basement.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'bait on top of the foundation wall'?
I have a concrete floor and unfinished walls and particle board wood ceiling in the basement.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 08-21-12, 03:11 PM
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I meant mainly the bait blocks need to be kept fresh. Usually attics are dry but sometimes hot and humid. A couple months is long enough for a block. Crawl spaces less time.

Do you have access to the top of the foundation wall in basement or is the particle board prohibiting access? I mean the area where the top of the block/concrete meets the wooden sill/band joist. This is a good area for rodents to run uninhibited.

Sometimes you can find access in basement closets; where the electric panel box is (maybe you can push some bait through the opening for the large wire); unfinished basement areas; otherwise you could bait behind the kitchen stove. That is a safe area and it should be inspected anyway for droppings as I often find droppings there. Keep us posted.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 02:28 PM
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I have the same problem in my attic. An exterminator came out today and confirmed this. He said for $105 they will lay out some poisonous bait. But he also only sticked his head into the attic. Not more.
BUT: He told me how to close holes. He said use steel wool. With everything else they can bite through. I am not sure if I should hire him or just find a good poisonous bait and do it myself.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 04:08 PM
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The active ingredients in the baits over the counter are the same as what we use. Their is one exception: diphacinone. It is sold over the counter as a cheaper bait but it is a multiple feed as opposed to everything else that is a single feed. Going into attics, unless their is a floor, is not worth the risk of injury and damage. The bait can be placed at the attic opening or thrown about; your call. Iíd consider baiting behind the stove in kitchen, and on top of basement foundation wall/crawl space if applicable. Also bait any outdoor sheds, firewood piles, junk piles, etc.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 08:02 PM
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I bought d-con. People say that is a very good product. What do you think?
 
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Old 09-07-12, 03:25 AM
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Good active ingredient. Usually in pellet form and I find that pellets are not as accepted as are the block baits, soft baits, etc. Sometimes rodent take the pellets and stash them, which leads us to believe that is has been eaten when it wasnít. Since you have it, use it though and see what you think.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 03:36 AM
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Why did Spectracide do away with SafeKill??? I don't like using poisons as a DIY'er. I just don't feel safe, with dogs, cats, hawks, etc. due to second generation poison. SafeKill only affected the first generation and was not really poisonous. It affected the way the mouse took on water, they dehydrated and died. Carcasses smelled less because the water content was decreased. I guess when you have something that really works good, you change.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 05:55 AM
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I am surprised nobody mentioned the oldest way how to get rod of mice - adopt a CAT.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 06:44 AM
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I never heard of Safekill so I searched it and found that the active ingredient is/was corn oil. Interesting idea; I have to wonder if it worked well though, otherwise weíd be using it. We have to attend update training in our various categories regularly here in Pa and Iíve never seen this in the suppliers demoís.

Iíll ask around and see what happened. Often times regulatory issues influence decisions more than product efficacy. The EPA is requiring that all pesticide products be re-registered. The products that donít sell a lot and many of the old ones are taken off the market as re-registration requires a lot of $$$$ for testing, label approval, monitoring, etc.

Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3); Some rodenticides have Vitamin D3 as active ingredient. This one does not seem very popular to our industry either; I did not research it as to secondary poisoning, etc but see if this would be more agreeable to you. Poisoning predators such as hawks is a valid concern and issue; cats and dogs less so as they are quite tolerant of it, but still technically possible.

We love our cats but I wouldnít count on them to provide consistent rodent control. Truthfully we donít want them eating birds, rodents, etc due to their own health concerns and vet bills. Besides, you donít want cats in attics; insulation is bad for dogs and cats (apparently not rodents). A mouthful of fiberglass insulation in the digestive system will require emergency surgery. Iíve known of dogs to eat insulation.

Just took a break as I saw our female cat leaping high against our screen door on porch. She found a major-league spider that scared me. Guess I better work at home soon.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 07:22 AM
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I read more about the chemical stuff like d-con and I cam to the conclusion not to use it.
When the mice die they do it anywhere and it can leave a bad smell for weeks. I don't want that. No I read also that they don't like peppermint.

Natural pest controls such as peppermint can be effective in keeping mice away. Although it does not kill mice, peppermint is highly aromatic and mice stay away from it. To use peppermint essential oil, put several drops on rags or cotton balls and then place them in areas where you have seen or suspect mice, such as cupboards, drawers, boxes and attics. The peppermint scent will dissipate in a few days, so continue applying it frequently, until all evidence of mice is gone for several weeks.
Source: Does Mint Repel Mice? | eHow.com
 
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Old 09-07-12, 07:27 AM
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Repelling is a good idea, but I doubt that mice will leave the entire house simply because of a short-lived repellent in some areas. They are persistent; that is a survival technique of theirs. Consider traps-there is a variety of mouse traps available now. Iíd rather have dead mice than live mice; not a great choice but a realistic one. I have both traps and bait in our basement. Once in a while I do get an odor but itís a chance I take as I prefer dead mice over live mice.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 07:43 AM
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I tried a few different traps and non of them worked. Which would you recommend?
 
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Old 09-07-12, 07:48 AM
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More specifically, what didnít work? Did the bait not attract, did the trap fail to operate?, etc. Snap traps are hard to beat. You can get multiple catch snap traps as well, so you donít have to check every day. Location of the trap should be in private areas in the immediate vicinity of where the rodents are.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 07:55 AM
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They just ignore them. What are multiple snap traps?
 
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Old 09-07-12, 01:45 PM
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As you say, Safe Kill's main ingredient was corn oil. Somehow it prevented the mouse from taking on water and it died dehydrated. I found only one reference but no way to buy it. Spectrum Safe Kill Rodent Control 12ea - Rodent Control & Animal Repellents
 
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Old 09-07-12, 02:05 PM
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I just found a lot videos on youtube about how to catch mice with a bucket.
 
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Old 09-08-12, 04:12 AM
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There are live traps for mice;search for multiple catch mouse traps. I suggest the non-mechanical traps, the low profile ones. The wind up traps have too many moving parts; keep it simple.

Stay with snap traps, too. Place them next to a wall in the immediate area where you see mouse evidence. Tie a piece of cotton to the trigger using dental floss or sewing thread. Smear peanut butter on the cotton. The mouse will bite and pull on the cotton.

Iíve seen snap traps that look like an inverted bowl, but with multiple entrys into multiple snap traps. Never tried them but always thought them a good idea.
 
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Old 09-15-12, 08:02 PM
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Just a followup.
It's good news.
I won the war with my mice!

I caught my last mouse on Aug 15. It was the 12th mouse in total that I caught. Ten in the attic and two outside.
Since then it's been quiet inside, I'm not hearing any more animal movement.

This was the first time in my life I've had to deal with this problem and hope it will be my last. It was a terrible experience.

Thanks for all the help here!
You guys are great.
 
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Old 09-16-12, 02:00 PM
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Thanks for the feedback! Iíve gotten much help on the forum in various topics myself. Valuable service they have here. Hope you stick around DoMark.
 
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Old 12-06-12, 04:56 AM
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Exclamation I caught a mouse but are there more?

Three days ago I noticed tiny pellets in the warming drawer of my oven. I knew right away it was mouse poop. I put out the fancy white enclosed traps by dcon. I caught the mouse that same night. It was so tiny.looked like a baby. I've always heard that there is always more than one mouse so now I'm freaked out that there may be more hiding in the walls. I don't hear anything at night, no scratching. There are no more signs of poop and I looked almost everywhere.
I inspected the perimeter of my house and found a tiny hole under an outside electrical outlet box. I quickly filled it with expanding foam. I also removed a small bush that was directly in front of the box. In the meantime I've had several traps laid out in the kitchen and attic for the past two nights and nothing. No more mice caught.
Is it at all possible these little critters are that smart they are avoiding the traps? Or was it only one stray mouse that got into my house? I'm going crazy. I don't like to use poison because I have a small dog. But I may not have a choice. Please let me know your thoughts and experience so that I can finally get some sleep tonight. Thanks!
 
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Old 12-06-12, 07:20 AM
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Itís good that you are keeping traps set; the lack of activity makes me optimistic.
Keep them set. Look behind or under the stove for droppings. This is usually an active area. Clean it up and monitor, maybe set a trap there right away. If you have a basement, set some traps on top of the foundation wall especially underneath the kitchen.

You can buy tamper-proof exterior bait stations and fill them yourself. Placing one or two around exterior perimeter of house or in outbuildings can help prevent indoor trouble. I like the bait blocks as opposed to the pellets.
 
 

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