Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The mouse story

Hello all! Well things are starting to calm down around here a little bit, I’m done with the TV segments I told you about next week and the house is quiet for the first time in almost two weeks – no one working here but me today. Ahhh…so nice. :)

Awhile ago I promised a follow up on our issues with some tiny little friends foes…the mice problem we had last fall. Honestly? It’s taken me this long to be up to the task of writing about the whole fiasco.

So here’s the thing – we got some clues as to what was going on in our ceilings (ewwww) but I ignored them, just not realizing. We had never had mice before, so this was new to me. Well, we had one little guy who used to live in our garage, and I swear it was just him. We only saw him a couple times and knew where he was living in there (because he destroyed ALL of my garden gloves making a bed).

We removed the storage container he was living in and never saw him again. That was years ago – fast forward to late summer of last year. I’m getting my oil changed and the guys come in with my air filter and I am all ready to say, sure, yeah, I know, I don’t want a new one….you know how that goes. ;)

But this guy has a funny look on his face and he tells me that a mouse has been living in my air filter. In my CAR. He showed me the filter, with a perfect little imprint for the mouse’s bed, and the little fluffs of stuff he had brought in there to make it even more comfy. (I would think the filter was comfy enough, but this is a mouse…I now realize how resourceful they are.) He also showed me all the bird food in the container he had stored up to eat.

IN MY CAR. Under my hood. I couldn’t believe it.

I went home and it was then that I realized a HUGE bag of bird seed we had in the garage has been busted open and was spilling out everywhere – courtesy of the mouse (mice):

what attracks mice

Even after that, I still didn’t think much of it. I figured the mouse’s bed was replaced, so he would take off to a new house. Car? Fast forward a month or so, and late one night I’m laying in bed and I hear this tiny little sound up in the ceiling. It went on for a few seconds, and I thought it was odd for sure. I wondered if we had a squirrel or something and made a mental note to investigate more.

Well, it was fall (busiest time of year around here) and my sis was getting married, so it just slipped my mind because I didn’t hear it again. A few weeks later, I’m in the bathroom and I hear it again, this time louder and longer.

And then I was starting to freak. Something LIVE was in our ceiling. I still wasn’t thinking mice though.

And then one day just after that sound, while I was in the storage room in our basement, a mouse ran right past my face on one of the shelves. I did what any self respecting woman would do – I screamed, jumped up and down wringing my hands and ran to my husband. He was all…uhhh, it’s just a mouse.

JUST A MOUSE. He said that.

The next day we picked up some traps (the kind that keep them alive) and put them in the room, and the bugger (I’m still thinking it’s ONE mouse – stop laughing at me) tripped two of them and finally got caught in one. We took him outside and let him go and kind of laughed about it -- oh, wasn’t that funny how you freaked out Sarah, we had a little mouse. So funny.

I was a mouse virgin people – those of you who have had them are laughing at me right now cause you know. Next night…kid you NOT, I walk in the room again, and a mouse runs right by my face AGAIN.

This time, the freak out was a little more dramatic because I’m thinking we have a super sonic smart mouse who refuses to leave our house. I was so naive. Turns out we had TONS OF THEM. And yes, they are super sonic smart.

We found out a day or two later when the professionals came out how bad it was. I’m not sure how many we had, but they had been living in our attic for who knows how long. They had burrowed tunnels in insulation and pooed everywhere and traveled through walls and between floors.

I was starting to get smart now (it only took a few months) and realized how I had been practically inviting them into our home. First with the bird seed spilling out in the garage, and then I took a closer look at the storage room to try to determine why they liked it so much. I found the culprit:

decorative sticks

Decorative sticks. They had practically worn a path on one of the shelves to get to them. You can see in that picture that the little pods were missing on most of the sticks. I had been feeding the mice in more ways than one.

I found other decorative items they had been nibbling on too. Then one day I went to grab something from the junk drawer in our island and realized they had been helping themselves to candy, gum and random plastic objects in there.

Talk about freaking out. They were coming up through the floor, through a small electrical hole in the bottom of the island, and eating absolutely everything in their path.

It was disgusting. This whole experience was probably the most disgusting I’ve ever dealt with. Mice are highly destructive and will eat anything. They ate half of a plastic iPod case we had in that junk drawer.

By now the pest control had set out the stuff to get rid of them (yes, we had to resort to that, no I didn’t want to, yes, it was the only option) but it was going to take two weeks. In that two weeks I tried starting to clean up the storage room but gave up – I could tell they were still coming back, even though I had removed the food.

The mess they left behind was…well, let’s just say overwhelming. And expensive. I threw away so much stuff it made me sick. Baskets, decorative items, paper goods…and it wasn’t that I was upset about losing the stuff, it was “money” I was putting into those trash bags.

Finally I gave up and had to just stop trying to get the storage room back in order. I honestly couldn’t handle it anymore. Just this week I’ve started to tackle it again – three months later. It’s overwhelming because they must have been everywhere in there – I have to take each item off the shelves and clean/sanitize or toss each one. And I have a LOT of stuff in there.

This is when the storage room was nice and organized and clean…when the mice hit it wasn’t, which makes clean up even harder:

IMG_0184_thumb[2]

The stuff in bins or baskets is the hardest. I wiped down a basket full of light bulbs last night – it’s at that point that you wonder if you should really clean each item or just toss it all? I’ll spare you the details, but I find all kinds of surprises as I’m going through it all.

Like I said, it is overwhelming and not something I would wish on anyone. I know in the scheme of life it’s just a blip and it’s not that big of a deal, but I’ll be cleaning up the messes they left for at least another few weeks.

So here’s what I’ve learned – first of all, if you see one, there’s usually more. Most of the time there’s more. You just won’t hear or see them until there are so many they start coming into your living areas (a few weeks after this happened a friend texted me needing the number of the guy we used because they just found a mouse climbing their drapes!!).

They are stealth little creatures – they can climb almost anything, right up the side of your house on brick or vinyl. They fit into the tiniest of holes – every house will have holes they can get into. It just depends on if you invite them in like I did. (Doh.) The guy we used said at one time he tried to start up a business where he promised to make houses “mouse proof” – he gave up on the business a few months in because he said it’s nearly impossible. Perfectly well built houses have tiny spots they can get in – in both the roof area and at the foundation.

Mice can swim, climb, jump – we heard a story how someone caught a mouse, took it past a creek on their property and let it go. The man watched the mouse hop into the creek, swim across and head right back for their house. Who knows if it’s true but after experiencing them I don’t have a doubt in my mind!

So we’ve learned a lot through the whole deal – I’m buying a large plastic (OK, I guess metal – good point!) container for all the bird seed. We had the ceiling of the storage room drywalled and anything decorative that could be edible at all (think the decorative balls/sticks so many of us use) is sealed up in bags or containers.

And no, the fact that I put mice on my stairs every year at Halloween is not lost on me:

cut out mice on stairs

We did put them up last fall, before all this hit. I had to take them down – but they will be back next year…I think. ;)

79 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. Thank you for the motivation to clean out my garage immediately. : ) I would completely freak out if I saw a mouse. Hope you never experience that again!

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  2. Oh my!! EEEKkK! My husband is from Queens and I tell you what he is beyond afraid of mice. Every time we have one he gets out his hockey gear to protect himself and goes at it. I can't help but giggle. Here is this manly man who would rather wrestle with snakes or gators and he runs from a tiny mouse. I hope you get rid of them soon! :)

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  3. What a nightmare! I am just as naive about mice as you were, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. OH. MY. WORD. Eeek! I have the creepy crawlies just thinking about how you must have felt, discovering an army of scurrying mice in your living space.

    That's it, I'm hermetically sealing everything in the storage room tonight.

    YIKES!

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  5. Sarah, we live in upstate New York and many houses here have mice problems. Just a suggestion, put your bird seed in a metal garage can with a very tight fitting lid. We used to put our seed in those Rubbermaid containers and we had mice chew right through it to get the bird seed. They're persistent little suckers indeed! ;)

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  6. We had mice and they were terrible. We found mice poop in our silverware drawers and we found a mouse climbing under the burner on our stove. Thankfully we patched hole they were coming in through (that they made) and caught them all. It was terrible to hear them on our hardwood floor. So glad to get rid of them. Sorry about your big mess!

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  7. I feel your pain! I lived in Manhattan for almost 10 years, and 2 of the places that I lived in had mice. Completely gross - made me feel so dirty despite being a clean freak! - and in old New York City buildings there's only so much they can do to plug up all the holes. We resorted to doing most of the work ourselves, like shoving steel wool into as many holes as we could find. I still sometimes jump when I enter a room (now living in NJ) because I'm convinced I saw something move. At some point I read that mice hate peppermint oil, so I bought some of that and soaked cotton balls in it. Not sure if it really works, but it makes me feel better about it. Maybe worth a shot.

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  8. Oh no! I am so sorry Sarah!!

    I am glad it is over now!

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  9. I'm sorry you had to go thru this but I thank you for your post because it makes me feel better. We have been thru all of the things you wrote!

    We had a bad problem in our new house and I'm not kidding - I did consider SELLING THE HOUSE because I couldn't take it.

    We had a somewhat different situation that you, it went on for longer but we discovered big, gaping holes in our foundation they were getting in. They were staying in the basement (unfinished) but it wasn't easy to get rid of them. I think we finally have.

    I was one of the people laughing about the comments on your last post with people saying "oh just live trap the mouse, etc" Ummm...no. You have to be as smart as them if you want to get rid of them! Honestly, they almost outsmarted us right out of our home. I hate them!!!

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  10. We rented a house and found a mouse in the house just a week before I gave birth to my daughter. I found it in my daughters room climbing in her bed the day before I was set to be induced. I freaked but something was wrong with it and I caught it under a trash can- my husband is a chemist and I called him to come immediately and kill the mouse, he brought home dry ice and we suffocated it and ended up freezing it. We never had any other trace of a mouse after that but I still worried.

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  11. I totally feel you.

    My son is 3 and tends to leave a trail of crumbs wherever he goes. I then discovered THE TELL TALE SIGNS of mice and they were feasting on crumbs in cracks I had not even imagined. Needless to say, we've had a full-on intervention, and I dust bust after the kid (and dog, and me) wherever we go.

    I've caught two in traps, and am hoping we're getting close(r) to done with this whole ordeal. The next step is poison under the house if necessary.

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  12. I'm so sorry!! What a terrible mess. My roommate and I did have to tend to a mouse problem we had in our house in college. Luckily, we finally caught them and they hadn't destroyed too many things. However, my husband and I just bought a new house this past fall, and we unloaded our stuff into the garage and then have been bringing in boxes to unpack a few at a time. So, I still have boxes out in the garage and a couple of small rugs, etc... and of course, some mice have made a nice little bed on one of the rugs and have pooped all around our boxes. eww! My husband isn't too bothered about it, but I have had a small taste of the mess they can make and now after reading your post, I'm scared!! hah I want to run home and set traps and go through the rest of our stuff out there. No telling what all they've gotten into. eeek!!!

    Thanks for sharing your story and hope you get their mess cleaned up soon!! And hopefully you never have to live with mice again!!

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  13. About a year or two ago I went to the barn to visit my horse. When I opened my tack trunk to get out some horse treats I found a hole in the back. I threw out the treats and figured they only came in for that and left. Well I was wrong. The next week I was pulling some other items out and found a dead frozen mouse. It was middle of winter and he must have frozen. Turns out he had made a nest in there. I had to pull everything out and wash what I could and toss the rest. The worst was my riding helmet had poop in it. Ewwww! I realized I had too much packed in that small box and the lid wasn't closing tightly. Mister mouse was slipping in and out that way. Since then I always make sure that lid closes all the way.

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  14. I found mouse tracks in my car too! They were in my kids car seats, eating up all the leftover Cheerios! We've had them in our house too. I hate them. I have to admit that your mouse staircase has always grossed me out! I couldn't understand how anyone could decorate with mice;)

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  15. I feel your pain. Mice just did almost $1000 worth of damage to my car including stuffing stuff in my alternator (leaving my car completely without any power at the side of the road) and they chewed through my electrical system.

    We have them in the house, but we do live in the middle of farm country surrounded by corn fields. We do our best to catch them. We set multiple traps in the basement and find something almost every day. My dog has also become an excellent mouse sniffer. Whenever she sniffs continuously around an area we set traps and within a day or two we catch the little buggers.

    I HATE THEM!!!!

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  16. Living in the city and having cats, I've never had a mouse problem. Except for a stray one here or there over the years. However, in the first apartment I lived in with my husband we had a sudden and extreme brown recluse infestation. I found the first one in my bed. I swear it was like that movie, Arachnophobia. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

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  17. I have a blogger friend who sent me a link to your blog (love it...I'm following!). Thanks, Mel! I have so been through what you have. In fact I'm still cleaning out cabinets and drawers where they loved to do their thing. It's beyond impossible to figure out how they get in because our home is so old, so we resorted to the little green pellets you get at Home Depot and hide them in various spots (especially the kitchen)every fall. The upside to the ummmm...poison, is that after the mice eat it, they go back in the walls and nurse their babies and that's the end of it for them, too. Not so sad when you think that a mouse can reproduce when it's only 21 days old. If you think finding the poop is disgusting, an exterminator told us that if we could shine a black light on our floors and counters, we would see zillions of trails of their urine. Ewwwwww!

    So, I'm out with my Dustbuster and Clorox spray again today! Thanks for a great, funny and informative post!

    XO,
    Jane

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  18. Oh, Sarah, I'm still traumatized by my experience with little mice families at our house. Mortified. Horrified. I even cried. hey that rhymed.;) I threw out a lot, probably some stuff I didn't need to, but I could not get over it. And yes, now everything is containerized in the basement and pantry. I will never ever store extra food on shelves in the basement - ever. thanks for sharing. love your stories because i can always relate.

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  19. Oh my goodness yes - we probably all have mouse stories. Years ago we had one living in our car and I realized it was in the car when I had to drive home.. I was freaking out, so scared to drive! It's a very funny story to tell NOW, but it was horrible when it happened! So sorry you had to go through that. But I must say, you are much nicer than me trying to be humane.. I see a mouse and I set a trap to exterminate

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  20. Wow. I never dreamed they would eat all those kinds of things. Makes me nervous as I have bird seed in the garage all the time. Not to mention a ton of decorative stuff in storage! Good luck finishing up the job! :(

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  21. OK you have officially freaked me out! We have what we think is squirrels in our attic. We can't get to that part of our attic and have not found where they are getting in at. I am now picturing tons and tons of rodents in my attic and think I'll be calling in the professionals soon!

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  22. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I'm freaking out just thinking about it. But thank you for sharing. I'm sure many of us will be cleaning and reorganizing our storage areas because of it.

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  23. Oh, Sarah - birdseed is the worst! My MIL lives in an apartment attached to our house, and she LOVES to feed the birds. Before we got her moved into the MIL apartment, she kept sacks of birdseed just lying around, and every imaginable pathway to and from those sacks was covered in mouseshxx. (Sorry, I'm a farmgirl, and I'm not afraid of them, but I sure don't want them and their shxx in my house!). I scrubbed with antibacterial soap, everywhere I could think of, and made her take her birdseed out into the yard in metal containers. Be careful - they also love dog and cat food. Everything's a food source for them, and they are DIRTY. Hope you get resolution on this. There's worse stuff, but it's hard to think what that could be when you've got a mouse or seven in your house! Be careful cleaning up dusty corners in your garage and storage rooms - spray them with bleach water before you wipe up. Hantavirus is a possibility. Yuk. Sorry about that last bit, but it's important. Best to you.

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  24. Eeeek! We had a much smaller mouse problem in our house when you had originally posted about yours. Luckily, we caught it fairly soon (I hope!) and once it got cold outside they no longer came in. That is one good thing about living in a freezing climate, they only try to come in in the fall, as long as there is plenty of food outside in the summer. I called our mice "house virgins" because they were not yet wise to the ways of being sneaky in a house. We figured out we had them because one just walked out in the middle of the kitchen floor and stopped and looked at us. Not very smart. We were able to figure out right where they were coming in the house and set the traps. We caught about ten before winter set in and they stopped coming. Never did find and poop, phew!
    My parents had a much bigger mouse problem when I was growing up. Two things I have learned from then that I wanted to share just in case you hadn't thought about it. They love to eat pet food. My parents figured out they had a problem when they found little piles of dog food in their Christmas boxes. They started storing the dog food in a big metal popcorn container (the ones they sell at Christmas). I know you have pets, and you probably thought of that already, but wanted to share.
    Also, mice apparently love chocolate. One year I had my Christmas loot out on the counter, which had a bunch of Hershey Kisses. Later we found wrappers in various places. Somehow they were able to get the chocolate out without ruining the wrapper, it was like hollow Hershey Kiss wrappers still holding the shape. The gross part is that I obviously continued to eat the candy on the counter not knowing that mice had been walking all over it. Eeeeew!

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  25. We had mice in our last house, and I do not use this word lightly: traumatized. I am not exaggerating. I can't explain, and I don't consider myself a wuss, but I felt violated. Serious.

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  26. Oh honey... I have been through this as well. Only in my house they preferred the root cellar in the basement. Which turned into them also falling in love with the neighboring laundry. They used the laundry to make nests, of course - in the Foosball table and the air hockey table, among other places. It was a horror. And I have to admit I was surprised how much they love plastic things, packing cubes, oatmeal, and other things I want to forget about forever.

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  27. When we moved into our house, a fixer-upper, we really didn't have a problem with mice, which was a nice surprise. But the next summer, my dad bulldozed the thicket that surrounded the yard, evicting lots of rodents, who made their way to our house. I found poop in our kitchen cabinets (blech.), under the sofa, nests in the basement (which was just a dumping ground for all the unpacked boxes). The day I found blue pellets in a kitchen drawer was a puzzle, until I went to fetch my cake decorating supplies and FOOD COLORING bottles. The stinkin' rodents had eaten through the plastic bottles to the food coloring. I definitely felt the pain of throwing money into the garbage with that lot. And just so you know, using plastic storage boxes isn't enough protection against mice if they're determined to get what's inside. I lost 2 boxes and their contents (fabric in one, cake stuff in the other).

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  28. Oh, girl. I'm so sorry. It's amazing how creatures that are so "cute" when they're outside aren't cute at all when they're in your home! Word to the wise: they also like medicines and supplements (Tums, cough drops, etc.)

    What's true for mice is also true for other small rodents, such as bats. We had bat problems when we lived in a 1918 Dutch colonial home in Michigan. Pest control guy told us they could get through any opening the size of a dime or larger. Wow.

    When you've recovered from this episode, you can look forward to fun with the really cute kind of mice--the kind in books. My boys loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, The Cricket in Times Square, and Tucker's Countryside. Read those to your sweet boy and think only about FICTIONAL mice! :)

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  29. Wow, reading through these comments makes me feel not-so-alone in our mouse issues. We moved into our house in October and by Thanksgiving realized we had mice coming up from the crawl space under the stove and sneaking into the pantry. They were apparently healthy mice though as they disregarded all the marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc., and gorged on sunflower seeds, peanuts, cornmeal, and steel cut oats. Talk about throwing money in the garbage. We still stuff cardboard under the pantry door every night, even though we have caught ~10 mice and seem to have successfully blocked their method of entry.

    But still. Ew.

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  30. You have been a busy girl . I loved reading your post . YOUR picture with the little mice on the stairs was so cute too. I lived in the country and we would get field MICE. Our OLD TOM cat outside was awesome at keeping them at BAY .. Ol Milo.. WE Loved that Cat ... hUGS and blessings sent your way ..

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  31. ugghhhh.!!!! I am SO sorry for that awful episode of your life! We had them bad too one year. We have storm doors now on the back doors so I wonder if that is where they came in cause we didn't have them this year. One year they were behind the dishwasher. You can imagine the filth on top of and behind a machine to clean your dishes! ughh. Yeah, I laugh too at the live trap. I felt sorry for them for a bit...then it was war! I didn't care how many I killed!~

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  32. Oh my gosh...I got such a good laugh from your post today. I am so sorry you had to deal with these little pest. Totally amazed that they were living in your car filter as well. What a mess. Hope you never have to deal with these little guys again. Thanks again for the belly laugh!!! :)

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  33. As I'm reading this, we are dealing with a mouse problem. I'm completely grossed out by them :( Can tell they've been under sink, but we do have poison there so I'm hopeful that they're retreating to die. Sorry to sound so insensitive, but yuck!!! Thanks for sharing your story - reading all the comments has been educational and a little helpful to know that I'm not alone.

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  34. yep!! if there's one there's more, my son thought they had A mouse in the roof of their house, turns out they had a colony, they got a cat, no more mice!!!
    glad you got rid of yours
    smiles
    Paola

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  35. Oh man, Sarah, now I'm freaked out!! We've found one mouse in our house before... down in the basement "workout room" (ha! we never work out but that's where the treadmill is) and it was already dead. That was a couple years ago and we haven't seen any traces of one since, but now I'm for sure going to be on the lookout!

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  36. I'm afraid we have mice in the attic right now. I knew it was pointless to do anything while the siding was off the house, and I blindly hoped they would go away when the house was closed in again. But I am hearing those little scratching noises too. Ugh.

    I found a little cache of cat food in a cabinet in the garage, so I know they are out there WHERE THE CAT LIVES. Some cat!

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  37. Yep. Been there. Same exact scenario. They had eaten bird food in Rubbermaid containers that weren't tightly closed. They ate old Easter candy in hard plastic eggs. Really they ate everything in sight and by the time we realized they were living in our basement insulation, they had also come thru the walls to our living area. I had to bleach cabinets and drawers and throw away clothing, shoes and blankets ....it was just sickening. So much destruction. I was happy to kill them all to be honest. I had at least two breakdowns just thinking about all these vermin in my house. I had just had my third baby and was freaking out pretty badly. I feel for you. The clean up is the WORST! Hang in there!

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  38. I've been posting on my Instagram and FB page about our current mouse problem. One pest guy said they keep coming back because of the pheromones that they leave behind - and feces and urine, too. My husband worked on mouse proofing around our house, but they love our attic. We've been hearing them for years! The dog, if he wasn't so big, would love to go up there and get them! So...you are not alone :)

    Becky B.
    www.organizingmadefun.com

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  39. What a mess! You poor thing!! This is the kind of thing I dread when we become home owners someday. I hate that this happened to you, but I'm glad I read this and know to take care of the problem ASAP should we start to suspect something. Hope the rest of your clean up goes quickly!

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  40. This just gives me the willies! We live in a very heavily wooded area with mice, raccoons, possums, snakes, and all sorts of other scary things. But, in the house! I'd freak! I have a feeling I will be lying awake listening for mouse sounds tonight. I would probably be completely clueless, too. That's just not something you expect!

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  41. OMG This totally gave me the heebie jeebies!! :( Thank you for sharing though.

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  42. Good LAWD!!

    I am still completely scarred by my mouse issues back in an apartment I had in 2005. I lived near a university and began to think I had some genius science mice that escaped. No matter what I tried, the mouse (or mice) would not be caught. I'd hear them in my oven at night. Yes. I kid you not.

    I'd turn on the stove and burners as I didn't want them thinking my home was a hospitable place and they'd pop OUT of the burners, become airborne, hit the wall and scurry into the bathroom, down the baseboards.

    I eventually asked my neighbor if he was having issues and he said "Oh, there's a cute mouse that lives behind my oven!" and his oven shared a wall with MY oven! I almost slapped him!

    It took three months to catch. And it died while I was away for three days, so I came home to a terrible death stench.

    I am STILL scarred...they get into everything..I found droppings in between my couch cushions, in my BED..yes.

    I told my hubby if I ever see one, we are getting five shelter cats!

    Even revisiting the story makes me itch!

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  43. We had a mouse infestation one time. I didn't know we had any mice until I heard chewing underneath my bed and I kept finding fluffy stuff under my bed. come to find out they had made a nest inside the box spring of our bed. It totally creeped me out. We immediately got live mouse traps and a new bed. They also had made a nest in my linen drawer and chewed holes in some of my extra sheets. I was never so happy to get rid of those things. It was soooooooo creepy just thinking about them crawling around everywhere. We did finally get rid of them but ultimately decided to sell the house. I just couldn't handle it. It so gave me the creeps.

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  44. I rarely comment on blogs, but I couldn't help adding my sympathy to this post.

    We discovered mice were coming in our garage last spring. I used a few cans of air foam stuff to fill all cracks. You could see where the mice were mad because they could no longer get into cracks around the doors because it looked like they tried to burrow in the ground to find another way in.

    We set up several traps in the garage and house. We ended up catching maybe 5 or 6 in the garage and thankfully none in the house.

    We also went through several bags of the green poison pellets. We really hated to do that, but we continued to see dirt movement around the house for the rest of the summer. Something wanted back in the garage.

    I just bought another bag of poison pellets to put out this spring in anticipation for the next wave of spring mice.

    So you are not alone, this happens to a lot of homeowners!

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  45. I have mice. I empathize with you.

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  46. We've had them and I was equally horrified. We have a nice new clean home. It can happen to anyone. I'm still scared it will happen again and if it does I want to know right away so I set little "traps" to let me know. Mice LOVE dog food, and how I figured it out the first time we had them was when I suspected mice (never actually saw one) I put little pieces of dog food inside cabinets and such and sure enough they'd be gone...so I leave a piece or two of dog food in the places they could appear again someday and I check those dang pieces of dog food EVERY SINGLE DAY to see if they've even moved a smidge. LOL But I figure hopefully if they do we'll know sooner rather than later that they are back. Shudder.

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  47. I live in a 105 year old house & there's lots of room for mice to get in. Had problems for years! Once I found out to stuff any holes they are getting in with steel wool + soak a cotton ball in peppermint oil & put it near where they are = no mice.

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  48. Hate to say it, but once you have them, they'll be back again and again, usually when it gets really cold in the winter. And if you ever have one die in the walls...phew!

    Are you putting your dog food up, especially at night? Don't leave chocolate candies in open bowls either, like the little ones wrapped in foil. Good luck!

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  49. This post creeped me out, but I could write you a book on the subject.. : ) How having high school girls over for Bible study, one ran right across the white carpet..how I had 1 or his whole family living in my car, INSIDE the car, storing dog food in the seat... YUCK!! that still gives me the creeps
    Anyways...in our deer camp cabin, my husband has a 5 gal. bucket with a dowel across the top, screwed in.. dowel is covered with peanut butter, a small ramp is put from floor to bucket top & bucket has about 2 - 3 in. of anti-freeze in it... mice will never go for food in cupboards, but will always go for the peanut butter... fall in & drown... cruel?? maybe ?? but it keeps mice out of any other area... might work in the garage??
    In my house I use the small blue bricks of poison bought @ Wal-mart (can't remember the name) by the pest control area. My Dad who is a handy man @ a college (where there is a lot of mice in college rooms )told me about these... tip from a pest control guy. I 1st said, "but I'll have dead mice" he said, "would you rather have live ones"? : ) I have never seen a dead mouse, never smelled them & have not seen any evidence in the last few yrs. (fingers crossed)
    PS. we had them the 1st yr. we built our brand new home... in the country ...they find thier way in, that is for sure... sorry that you have to deal with this... they make my skin crawl

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  50. OMG!!! Mice are EVIL!!! No way could I put them on the stairs! Haha!! I am terrified of the little evil creatures. My friend just told me that the last time she had her oil changed they told her a squirrel had built a nest under her hood! They said that she was lucky it hadn't chewed through all the electrical stuff!

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  51. Yeesh. Sorry! We had mice in our garage bc of birdseed too...luckily our garage is detached.

    Did your kitty catch any??

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  52. Ok, I'm not alone. We have been going through the same thing, except in our kitchen. I noticed last August little scratchings behind the kitchen cupboards (where we cannot get to!)....Then they got braver. We have a snack drawer. It houses the granola bars, munchies, fruit snacks, etc. Everything is out of the boxes and easy to grab for lunch boxes, etc. They started to hit the snack drawer! Mind you, it is a draweR, right under the counter. We tried traps, poison, everything! It would walk around the traps w/peanut butter for bait to open a foil package! We were driven crazy for 4 months. We finally caught 5 altogether and hoping that is it! We have gone two weeks with no sign of them hitting it again! Mind you, I am OCD with cleanliness. It absolutely drove me crazy. NOthing would work!!! I wake up every morning and still open that drawer to see if they have come back!!!

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  53. We lived in a rental house while building our home several years ago and in the few months we lived there we caught 32 mice in traps! For entertainment for my 3 year old we would open the basement door and he would sit and watch them run along the sillplate! That place was INFESTED! But yes, they are prolific - where there's one there's usually four or five at least. We keep traps set in the garage all the time - baited with peanut butter.

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  54. One more story - we lived in a really bad rental house for 3 months when we got married - couldn't take it anymore and moved out. Nosy landlord who came in while we were away, etc. (my hubby rigged up an alarm on the door because we were suspicious that he was coming in and sure enough). Hey - we were poor newlyweds - living on love, not much money and rent was only $140 a month! Anyway, one morning I was at the kitchen sink washing my hair and heard a mouse in the toaster. Hubby came out and pushed down the button on the toaster. I won't go into detail, but it was really gross and he ended up throwing the toaster out in the yard! (Ha - we became rednecks that day just like all our neighbors who would get drunk and fight in the streets at midnight til the cops came - oh the stories). Anyway, he told a friend of his who felt sorry for us and bought us a new toaster as a wedding gift. I was really glad to move out of there.

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  55. Trap and release doesn't work with mice. When you turn them loose, they round up 10 more friends on the way back in. Use a plain old trap and get rid of them once and for all!!

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  56. We had them too! I had put ALL food in containers, chips cookies, everything. We always keep a trap set just in case they are back. They are the worst. We now have an indoor/outdoor cat. She catches a bunch of them outside, so maybe this helps keep the population down? It never ends.

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  57. EEEEEwwwww! I hate rodents of any kind! I grew up on a ranch so....

    Back in early marriage days we lived in a mobile home. We had a mouse there once. Caught it in an trap and it was dead thankfully!

    The keys of course are to try to mouse proof as much as possible (which you clearly have done now)and don't try to be 'humane' with catch & release traps. There are, as you now know, TONS of the little rodent creatures out there. Letting them go after trapping them is only adding to their population, sorry to say.

    Our neighbor used a catch & release squirrel trap. She always wondered why they still kept messing up her trees! DOH!

    My husband's a piano technician. He finds "mice residue" in old pianos in people's homes a lot! Yeuch!

    I hate mice! I hate mice! I hate all rodents! OK...guess you know where I stand on them. Please don't report me to the Humane Society or the SPCA ;-)

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  58. Been there. We live in a rural area and have wedged steel wool batting outside into ANY tiny gaps between the foundation and the house. You can use a flat head screwdriver to really push the steel wool in. It doesn't show from the outside. Mice eat STUFF and other types of insulation fixes, but they don't eat steel wool. Good luck!

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  59. Awww, poor mice(s). But, I can understand. We had one too. My husband got smart one year and put our bird seed (kept in the garage) in a metal can with a lid. Except...one time he forgot to replace the lid...and we didn't feed the birds regularly...poor lil' mousey must have fallen in to get food and well...basically starved to death. Makes my heart break everytime I think about it.

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  60. Just finally got a chance to read this post, and OH MY GOODNESS, aren't mice the WORST?? I can't believe how they invaded your home! We have had some as well, and the very thought of them gives me the heebie jeebies.

    Our furnace was acting up on us last year, and we came to discover that they had made their way into the vent that goes to the outside and made a NEST that blocked the airflow! The only upside to that was that the vent pipe went right into the area where the pilot light is for the gas furnace and they couldn't get into the house (not from that route anyway).

    Someone once told me that wherever they can fit their noses, they can wiggle through with their bodies. EW, I know. I also chatted with a woman who worked for a vet, and told me how quickly, easily and massively they reproduce. Their gestational period is something like 16 days, they can have a TON of babies at once, and they can get pregnant again right away. Terrifying!

    So glad you were able to rid your home of them and I hope they never return!!!

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  61. "no one working here but me today."

    Are you sure about that? ;-) I got a kick out of how you started the post. I pictured little mice...

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  62. Been there done that! The thing I HATE about mice is how intrusive they are. I personally don't go in the attic any longer, do you? And we've had squirrels to, if you've had a squirrel you know it, they sound like monkeys running around in the attic.

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  63. The FIRST time I had mice? I say one run across the floor and told my husband Just trap it and let it go it's so cute!

    Ha!

    Little did I know.

    I feel your pain on the clean up. You just want to bleach your hands every few minutes. Even if you are wearing gloves!

    Shudder!

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  64. Mice always travel in pairs. If you catch one, set the trap and you will catch the mate. Fall is when they like to come in and get comfy for the winter. They love insulation but don't like steel wool. You can plug any holes with steel wool. And yes they are super smart for being at the bottom of the food chain! As for traps that do not kill but just catch the suckers, don't bother. Kill the little guys: they carry disease and whatnot. And as you have discovered, create a. ton. of. work.

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  65. Foil works too, as I found out in our Korean apt.
    When we built our big house, my husband would go over there after work each day and caulk up every. single. hole. the workers left. The next door neighbors didn't do this and they ended up with mice.
    Good Luck!!

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  66. You probably never noticed them before, or at least not as bad because you had a cat... (Do you still have another cat though?) Hmmmmm....

    Anyway, I've heard dryer sheets work. Put them on the pantry floor, on the bottom shelf of your island near the wiring hole, under the bottom shelves in your storage room, etc. I've HEARD they work,never tried it, so no guarantees.

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  67. I love those mice, I put them up my stairs a few years ago.

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  68. I found them in my new home. They ate a loaf of bread in one weekend. One night I watching TV and as one walked across the floor. Nothing was supposed to be alive in there except some plants. Had to have help getting rid of them. During the day I was a kindergarten teacher. At night I was a mouse slayer. I was conflicted when reading books to the children about sweet mice. I stopped reading to my students about them. Now I have just realized that the strange smell in this house is mice...

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  69. Yuk! My goodness, what a brave woman you are, I would had stayed somewhere else as soon as I found the first.

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  70. Oh, these people sound so nice and empathizing....in an effort to make you feel better and one up myself, we had rats. Mice, ha! Child's play...any uninvited rodent makes you feel violated....bottom line.

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  71. I agree violated! We had mice at our old house. The only way I could keep them out was poison in the garage. I know...some people play the cruel card. I played the "I'm the one with a job and opposable thumbs card". At our current home, out in the country, we began life here with poison in both garages. A year and a half if and it appears the thumbs are winning.

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  72. I can barely sit in my chair reading this post. Mice are worse than Boa Constrictors to me! Seriously...my sister and I are irrational with our fear of mice! Years (many, many years) ago, I was living in my parents' home while attending Grad school...while they were living out the winter months in FL. I had just started dating my husband....one morning while making breakfast I saw a mouse run under the cabinets and I FREAKED!! I called my boyfriend's house and asked his mother to wake him up. Truly...I thought it was a totally legit request...I SAW A MOUSE FOR GOODNESS SAKES!! When he finally came over we realized they were LIVING in the pantry...THEY HAD BABIES IN MY MOTHER'S TERRA COTTA CHIP AND DIP BOWL!!!!!!!! I ran so fast and leaped onto my mother's then tiled counter top....cracking my shin so hard I was sure I'd chipped a bone! It was insane! Mice are dirty, disease carrying little rodents and I hate them (and I never use the word hate.) I won't let my children have any pet in the rodent family. I feel so sorry for you Sarah! It's like having someone small and dirty rob your house...with his entire family! Ugh! Hope they are gone for good. And just so you know I will be on the look out all day now that I read this...ugh...creepy little buggers!

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  73. So did you fire your cat? Or was it just too many for kitty to keep up with?

    For some reason I read all the comments--ew!! I think for one-upmanship, we have Sheila with mice in her BOXSPRING!! EWWWW, and Katie--RATS!! Omw. I hope they both make you feel slightly better. Yikes.

    At this point there is only one commenter who feels bad for mice. Un.believable!

    I doubt you will be reading any Mouse & the Motorcycle books to Bub for some time.

    We get them in the fall as it gets chilly they want to find a warm place. We keep catch 'em DEAD traps in the garage all year round. For anyone having problems catching them, here is a cheap, fairly easy, successful formula--catch 'em dead trap, some peanut butter for bait, wrap some thread around the peanut butter.

    I'm so sorry you had this totally horrid experience. I will be surprised if you do keep your stair decor.

    Chrissy

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  74. I saw our mice on the stairs last fall, not sure if it was on your blog, Hometalk or fb, but it gave me the creeps. Long story short, I've been where you are only I knew we had mice and hubby refused to believe until one got upstairs and I let out a blood curdling scream. I'm not the screamer type. I stopped count at 24. This fall when I saw signs of them in my vehicle hubby again didn't believe me until he'd vacuumed the "evidence" himself and the next day there was more.
    After the house invasion we've been using the cotton balls with 10 drops of 100% Pure Oil of Peppermint each ball and place them around the house a few feet apart and especially in areas where you think they might be getting in. We now have them in our garage and vehicles too.

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  75. Some years ago I was visiting a relative when I felt something run across my foot. SHE GOT HYSTERICAL. Priding myself on remaining calm under every circumstance, I did not.
    I would have set some kind of trap; she could not call the pest control guy fast enough.
    I will always remember his tip: the best bait is jellied candies with the sugar on the outside---spearmint, wintergreen, orange. So she spent a small fortune to have him put that in the trap. And by the next morning Mr. Mouse was a goner.
    Yes, mice are God's creatures too....yada yada. But I shall never tell if you decide to use candy next time!

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  76. We had mice at our old rental. I found out in the middle of the night after a nursing session with my baby, I was sitting on the toilet and I look over to see a mouse watching me from the cupboard!!! We told our landlord about it and all he did was give us some traps. Then my husband went to check on one trap and it was MISSING. Where did we find it? Half way across the house in the middle of the living room floor. So we had something bigger as well! Told the landlord.. he handed me a rat trap. The rat we caught I never saw, but my husband still talks about how it was the biggest rat he had ever seen in his life.
    When we bought our new house (built in 2008) I thought we were getting rid of the guys. Finally! So... we had a bag of chicken scratch in our pantry because we liked to take our son to the duck pond to feed them. Well, the darn bag attracted bugs. Thousands of bugs. It look us a few weeks to realize these weird bugs we're seeing are all over and what the heck are they? Found them the chicken scratch and in every open container in the pantry. We threw away hundreds of dollars worth of food. Yes! Every thing is in a container now. So, the idiots we are put the chicken scratch on the back deck. A few months later we were spending hundreds getting rid of the RATS that were living in our crawlspace whose smorgasbord was the dang chicken scratch!!
    Long story short... dangit they should label those bags!

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  77. Oh girl... I can so relate. We have had a problem for a while in our garage and are now dealing with it as we get ready to move to a new home and are cleaning it out. To say it's a mess is an understatement and we've tossed so much stuff and sanitized a few things...Wow. just wow!!!

    When we first got them, we had birds and they came to eat the bird food... birds are gone, food is gone, but still have a few who don't mind eating everything else in their path. Garage is nearly empty and we just found new evidence...NUTS!!!! Is there a specific company you used to get rid of them?

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  78. Ladies:

    I hate play, "I can top this", but unfortunately I can. Sitting at my desk at a large corporation, feel something on my leg, scream, like gutteral scream....people come running. I feel like a fool, until I go to adjust my shirt and feel a lump on my hip...dryer sheet perhaps?? I hang onto it, run to the ladies' room, drop my pants and there.on.the.floor.is.a.dead.mouse.I ran up my leg and was between my dress pants and underwear. I was either going to vomit or pass out...fortunately, I didn't do either because I locked myself in the bathroom. I worked with a bunch of men, and God knows I didn't want to be passed out and pantless on the bathroom floor. I mustered up whatever strength I had, and yes, put my pants back on, and said, I'm going home! Immediately jumped in the shower and scrubbed my skin until it was red. Had to throw away my pants cause my cats were sniffing around them when I dropped them on the floor at home. To this day, I sit at my desk with my feet up! This is a true, unembellished story!! It has gotten me many, many laughs over the years.

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  79. I read every word. I feel so sorry for you! We are renters wanting to get into home ownership. There is so much more responsibility in owning your own home. Didn't think about the pests! I still think its worth it though. Things to remember... don't feed the mice!

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