Mice in the attic
Last night I was awakened to the sound of mice in my attic. This appears to now be an annual ritual where around early May I hear a lot of mouse activity, it continues off and on over a period of 2-3 weeks, then stops right around the beginning of June. This has also happened each of the previous 2 years. 2 years ago it pretty much ended on it's own, then last year I had Pest control guy go up to verify what the noises were in case it was something else like bats. He confirmed that it was indeed mouse activity but said that it didnt look too bad. A few droppings here and there, though they certainly seem to make a lot of noise some evenings. He recommended putting either decon or some traps up there and said I could do it myself or pay him $180 to basically do th same thing. I put some decon up there but I don't think they ever got into it after I checked a time or two, but also again around the time I took action on that the noises ended again, other than maybe one or two random evenings throughout the summer. It is difficult to get around up there and putting bait or a trap in a good location is a challenge though I have some new ideas to try for that.
So now again this year it's happening and I'm thinking I'll probably try to take more aggressive measures to at least eliminate them up there vs relying on them "moving on" and also working more diligently to find how they're getting in. My 2 theories there either some opening up on top of the corner of the second story roof as that is always where I hear the noises coming from initially. That is quite a ways up and I don't see any obvious ways for them to climb all the way up (which would include scaling up aluminum siding). I suppose they could be scaling up the brick lower level and finding a way underneath the siding but I've not seen any openings there. Again I need to check this more closely. It's possible they are also getting into my garage and finding ways to work their way up into the attic from there. I haven't found much evidence in nearly a year that they've been in the garage. I have trapped some in the past, but none recently. So either they figured out the traps or weren't getting in there anymore. I have found no evidence all during this time that they've been anywhere else in the house (basements or kitchens or
But the questions I have beyond possible entry points are:
1) What might be the significance of the month of May? Is the mother mouse coming in there around that time, giving birth, the whole family scampers about for a few weeks, then they move on? If so why wouldn't I hear them during other times of the year since as I understand it mice breed just about year round? I never hear them either in late fall or winter when seemingly they would be more motivated to get indoors.
2) Are there certain temperatures that are inhospital for mice? It gets pretty hot in my attic in the summer time and right at the beginning of June here in Michigan is usually when the temperatures get more summer-like, which is also when the attic noises seem to go away.
Go under the house and look for any holes where wiring or plumbing was run and seal them up.
Look along the bottom of the siding for gaps.
Look around the foundation for any gaps.
Since the average litter size is 10-12, and they can breed by age 50 days- not even two months old, it is easy to see how just one pair or one pregnant female can create a huge colony in your house and you kill a couple or three and within three weeks another 10-12 are on the way!
Mice and rats can squeeze though the tiniest holes and cracks, 1/4" hole is all a mouse needs to get in!
A mouse can jump as high as a foot, and climb 13 inches up smooth surfaces, it goes without saying that on rough surfaces they can climb and enter a gap or hole in the attic area, a missing soffit vent screen, or open louver.
They can also get under doors if there is a gap or the weatherstrip or door sweep ont he bottom is flexible and there's about 1/4" space they can squeeze under.
A rat can squeeze through a hole just 1/2" in diameter.
They can be more active in spring (May) than other times, but you can be sure they are in your house year-round because they reproduce so fast.
Mice eat just about anything, they will even lick the glue off postage stamps, and rodents like mice and rats like to gnaw on electrical wiring in the walls, plus their urine is corrosive to metals. I can't stand the damn things, every surface they walk over- they $hit about every 6"!!
If you have pets, make sure crumbs, dropped food etc is GONE, it is easier if you don't have pets (no water bowl on the floor mice can drink from) dry the kitchen sink etc after use so there's no water in it- you want to create a hostile environment for the mice where their water and food supply is extremely limited, because your next step is get some mouse traps and bait them, plain white bread squashed around the paddle works extremely well and even when it dries out it will still attract them, put them in various locations, check them frequently, replace or reset immediately. You might even put a tiny dish of water near it to attract them even more to that location- make that the ONLY source of water and food if at all possible for best results.
It will take work, diligence and time, but if you get all holes and gaps sealed well, you will get rid of all the ones in the attic and walls.
I redid my porch 2 years ago and inadvertanly left a tiny strip of wood off under the clapboard near the door, then suddenly I started seeing mice after being mouse-free for ten years, it took a LOT of work to track down the entry point and it was very hard to find it.Once i sealed that up it took MONTHS to get rid of the damn things, I would catch 2-3 every couple of days, in one case two in one spring trap!
but I finally got rid of all of them.
I would not use poisons, they will die in the walls and insulation and stink, or crawl out in the middle of the night and die where your cat or dog can eat one of them who has ingested the poison.
2) I don't know, but if it's too hot in the attic they simply migrate through the walls down into the basement or a lower area, or they go out their entry point during the day and return at night.
On the second night last week I heard some activity again but not as much as the night before. Then one or two nights afterwards of not hearing anything. I did over the weekend then go outside on the side of the house where the sounds usually start and did find a couple of suspicious spots. One was a little hole in the corner of the awning of our front porch where a bit of wood had rotted and a small hole existed. I'm not 100% sure that is an entry point into the walls of the house or where it leads. They could probably scale up the first level brick and get their way into that spot though. There is also a tall bush right there that could aid them in that process. I also saw in the second row of aluminum siding on the upper level above the brick where there was a bit of separation from the bottom of the siding to the wall, and the gap there was probably large enough for a mouse to squeeze under and get into the walls and up into the attic. It would take a mighty acrobatic mouse to get over to that point. It is not in the corner but over a little ways so they would either have to move sideways along the siding up into the gap or perhaps scale up the brick and then somehow get up past the first row of siding to the gap in the second row. I have underestimated them in the past.
So I closed off both of those areas with caulk and steel wool where appropriate. So far 2 nights in a row of nothing. So hopefully I've closed off their entry point(s), and also accomplished it when they were perhaps not holed up in the attic still. We shall see.
If you catch even one mouse, it's all but guaranteed there's more.
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