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Wiscbldr 07-12-2011 10:01 AM

mice smell past or present?
How long does the lingering smell of mice last? Im not talking about a dead mouse that is stuck in a wall and decomposing away. Im talking about past mice activity smells. If Im still smelling that musky smell of whats probably a male mouse, does it mean there is still mice activity, or does it mean that the smell is old and just not completing gone yet?

Last fall we moved into our house and up in our attic there was a lot of mice activity. So we hired a contractor to completely remove all old insulation, all joints and holes were foamed, and new borate cellulose insulation was blown in. During the cleanup the contractors commented that they sucked up a lot of mice. Prior to the new insulation being blown in I walked the attic and saw all the joints/holes were all foamed and that there was no mice left.

Over the winter we saw one mouse in the basement, (which was caught in a trap), and we've never seen any mice upstairs in the regular living areas.

Although I dont hear or see any signs of mice activity in the living areas of the house, there are times when I swear I can smell a mouse smell (kind of musky like). I keep wondering if its the change in air pressure and the extremely hot temperatures thats creating a negative pressure whereby we're smelling the attic leftover scent. I can also faintly smell that musky kind of smell in the exterior vinyl siding.

So.. do you think that faint mice smell is new mice activity, or is it a lingering smell that just hasnt gone away and is surfacing with the change in temps and pressure?

I'd like to walk around the attic to investigate, but, its likely in the 100s' for temperature, humid, and the attic insulation was blown in to a depth of a couple feet. Is it possible the mice are in the exterior walls instead? I need to get this figured out so the Mrs can relax about it. Id rather not have to rip off all the siding of the house to prove that theres no activity.

On a related question, if there is mice activity in the exterior walls, is there anything I can spray to get them out? I cant find any openings, but given the past history of these buggars, and the fact that they can squeeze through extremely small holes, I wonder if its an impossible feat to try and wipe them all out. (btw: we live in a rural area bordering thick forest/woods, so living with mice, moles, and other rodents is a daily occurance...) Is it unreasonable to think that we can plug every hole or entryway?


PAbugman 07-12-2011 05:00 PM

If you aren't seeing fresh rodent evidence and you aren't catching mice in traps, then I doubt that there is current activity to any extent. I'm assuming that you keep fresh baited traps set.

How can you be sure that you are in fact smelling mouse smell? Don't assume that is what it is simply because we don't know what else it could be. The process of elimination is not a good way to solve problems.

The musky smell in the exterior vinyl siding? Do you mean the actual siding itself? Or from behind the siding?

After all that you've done to remove rodent evidence, I'm thinking that this is a case of mistaken smell/odor.

Wiscbldr 07-12-2011 07:50 PM


Yep, I keep fresh baited traps, and theres nothing getting caught. No sign of droppings, no prints, no nests, etc.

As for the smell Im smelling, Im assuming its behind the siding, or maybe its in the exterior walls? I suppose it could be another smell, but it sure seems to smell like mice. Maybe its dead mouse smell?

As a matter of fact, I was cleaning the built in microwave above the stove because I was smelling that smell around the microwave. It was the same area where we had mice activity last year. (Last year we sealed it and within a month the attic project including foaming the openings was done.)

Anyway, we found a dead mouse, stiff, inside the compartment area. It had aten the Dcon I sealed up in the compartment, and obviously died, but, it hadnt decomposed. Likely because it had been foam sealed from above, and caulk sealed down below. (Like a mouse tomb.)

We cleaned the microwave area, resealed that stud compartment with peppermint soaked cotton balls (and Dcon just in case theres another opening). Ive also been putting a few cotton balls with peppermint in the basment and behind the counters.

...hmm..thats got me wondering if perhaps the smell of the siding is the smell of other dead mice inside the other compartments (studdings) that also got sealed up from the foaming last fall?.. hmm..

So, if there are dead mice in the exterior walls, how long before the smell goes away? If the mice are already dead and gone and decomposed (completely gone), how long before that after smell goes away? I cant exactly remove all the siding and clean it all and reinstall...right?

Kenlguy 07-13-2011 12:43 PM

Hate to break it to ya but if you had an infestation in the attic then they were in the walls also. Every where a mouse goes, it leaves a trail of poop or pee because it doesn't have a spincter muscle. If you have fiberglass insulation in the walls then you can bet that it is filled with holes and tunnels laden with turds just like the attic stuff. And as far as the foam, They have no problem eating right through the stuff.

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