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darthsmozers 02-03-2012 08:52 PM

New home, first mouse, power outage?
Our home is only 7 months old but i hear its not uncommon to have a mouse find its way in during winter in an area where ground has been torn up. We caught our first mouse last Sunday night (5 nights ago) after finding evidence on the kitchen counter, under the oven and dishwasher, and a few droppings directly below the kitchen in the laundry/hvac room. All total...about 15-20 droppings. Since the capture we have scrubbed the kitchen, packed all food in tupperware, plugged any plumbing etc holes i could find with foam spray, and now obsessively check all traps before bedtime and when awaking. After all, its a terrible feeling to find an unwelcome guest in a new home. Its taken me this whole week to try to stop obsessing over it.

Anyway, we have not found any new evidence since 5 days ago's first incident. However i have to ask this question... This evening we were getting settled for bed. The overhead fan's light was on, we plugged our 2 cell phones in via 2 different outlets, a heat pad was plugged in with one of the phones to a surge protector, and a bluetooth earpiece was plugged into a differed surge protector in a still different outlet; this is normal for us at night. Anyway i went into the adjoining bathroom and my wife said through the door that the power went out. Everything in the bathroom and elsewhere was fine. I went to the circuit beaker, saw "bed1" switch had moved (tripped?) and so i switched it back into position and of course noticed the little orange light indicating there was a trip. Ok, power in the bedroom. So QUESTION: i have read mice can and do chew wires. IF a mouse chewed a wire somewhere, would it really be possible to switch the power back on? Could this be evidence of a new mouse being starved from having no access to our now-protected food? Is it plausible? Or is this a "funny" coincidence in the timing of two problems??

Thank you so much.

user1007 02-04-2012 07:51 AM

My guess is that the heating pad tripped the breaker or you tripped the breaker with the sequence used to plug in one of the voltage converters. See if it happens again. In new construction you might find a loose neutral wire hiding behind the panel box if the problem persists. You do not have other circuit protection before the breaker box right?

The Human Society has these furry things that can be loads of fun and those not lazy are great at dealing with mice. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. Be warned, they tend toward attitude and napping. I have heard they can be trained but have not had much luck personally.

I had a big orange one, about 25 pounds slimmed down, that did not have the time or patience for mousing but he trained Gufus von Dufus, a smaller tuxedo variety to mouse very well. I never had many but would find the boys playing soccer with a mouse now and then. Until it died of cardiac arrest.

joecaption 02-04-2012 08:08 AM

May want to go under the house and seal up any holes you find where the plumbing and wiring were run not just fix under the cabinets. There's still going to be a huge empty space under there for them to nest, then it's only a matter of time there going to chew a hole and get back into the house.
Check around the foundation and siding for opening or cracks. They only need a tiny hole to get in.
I like to also spread around some bait blocks under the house againt the outside walls.

user1007 02-04-2012 08:24 AM

You might want to call an exterminator, not necessarily one from a name brand franchise, to go over your potential pest requirements. As a retail consumer you cannot buy much anymore that works for rodents, bugs and stuff and you will waste tons of money on the pretty packaged stuff. And the whole reason you cannot buy the stuff anymore is that DIYers do not get the less really can be more when it comes to pesticides. They abused what they bought to the point the EPA had to start screaming and letting only those with licenses have the good stuff.

An exterminator on an annual contract will be cheaper than buying bottles and boxes of stuff yourself anyhow. And you can call them over and over whenever you experience problems. They will stop buy to spray and bait your house and yard for whatever is going on. They will cost a fraction of the cost of trying to do it yourself.

dougp23 02-04-2012 06:32 PM

Def go outside and find any holes that might have let the mouse into your home. They eat through expandable spray foam, so don't use it. use steel wool or copper mesh instead to block up holes.

darthsmozers 02-05-2012 01:31 PM

Thanks all for the tips. Thankfully its been one week with no further evidence of pests. I am just now beginning to feel better about it instead of dreading to come home every day, which was a terrible feeing. I looked around outside and could not find any cracks or holes in the basement foundation. Our contractor did the same. He calked around the basement walkout door frame on the outside, but the a/c and other items going into the house appear to be sealed. I really dont now what else to look for - and thats what bothers me, not knowing where it came in from. That is a very helpless feeling, especially for having a new home and being a first time homeowner. In any case, i closed up some pipe and electrical openings behind the oven, dishwasher, and in the utility closet with spray foam. I forgot about steel wool, but i will use it if any of these holes open up again. I heard that pure peppermint oil on cottonballs placed in these locations can turn critters away, so put some of his and some glue traps near where we saw evidence last week. Regarding the electrical, consensus here and from our contractor seems to be that the heat pad may have been the cause, though in the last 7 months since we have been here there have been no issues with it... Overall its a very unsettling feeling to not know where to plug to prevent another critter, and is a terrible feeling to think my brand new house is now infested or dirty, even though neither of those may be true. I hate the feeling and hope that it goes away.

user1007 02-05-2012 01:52 PM

I certainly hope nobody suggests you are dirty and disgusting because a little field mouse made its way into your home. They were extremely problematic in my California home when orchards were ripped out to make room for track homes. They just had no place to go and found warmth and shelter where they could.

Obviously, you don't want to leave food out and plastic containers may be in your future. I ran a food pantry for terminally ill people and quintessential church mice would chew through cardboard boxes of grains and pastas intended for the people. They did no other real harm that anyone could tell.

Good luck. If it gets really bad, call an exterminator to bait for you. In California the County in which I lived stepped in and offered free bait for mice.

As mentioned, spray foam will not do much in the long run. Steel wool stuffed in openings does work well for mice.

creeper 02-05-2012 04:01 PM

Like sdsester said, so far its just one little mouse that made his way in. Not a big deal.
Plugging up exterior entrances is a good idea, but on the other hand, I'm not sure I'd plug up the holes leading into the kitchen. If there are others I'd rather lure them into the kitchen to be trapped, rather than leave them in the walls to breed

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