Squirrels, Rats, and Mice- OH MY!

Before I began working for this company I hadn’t dealt with or really thought about having rodents in my home in about 15 years. Growing up my family dealt with mice in the house from time to time since we lived out in the country on an old cattle farm. We didn’t farm it, we just built our home and had a garden, but there was a lot of field left. I can recall several occasions where I would go into the garage and attics with my dad to check the glue traps we set out for the mice. Many times, we would find that we had been robbed of peanut butter or the trap was missing meaning the mouse or something had somehow gotten the trap stuck to another part of their body than their feet. Every once in a while, we would have a successful catch. My mom claims that we would typically had the mice problem a few weeks after Halloween and Easter, she blamed my secret stash of candy in my closet. Can you blame me though, what 7-year-old wouldn’t want an easily accessible spot for their candy? Needless to say, I lost all privilege of putting my candy up in the pantry after a holiday.

We also had some squirrels get in from time to time, my sister was to blame for that one. We both loved the outdoors and acorns were the coolest thing, especially if we could find some one the ground with the caps still attached. She had collected a jug full of acorns and kept them in her room where we would play with them from time to time. After we found a squirrel in her room and the place where it had chewed through to get to her room we were not allowed to collect acorns anymore. We soon had our rodent problem resolved and I have not had any run ins since, that is until I began work for this company. Even in my college apartments I never had a run in except for mammalogy lab where we learned the different names and characteristics of mice and rats along with other mammals for Tennessee.

Around the Memphis area roof rats, Rattus rattus, are a common occurrence in people’s attics along with squirrels. We receive calls everyday about homeowners finding rats, mice, squirrels or their droppings in their homes. Some individuals are more distressed about the issue than others, but I mean, who would be joyed to find rodent feces in their home. Helping those customers cope until their houses are fixed and the wildlife gone is part of my job, trying to help myself cope on the other hand is a different story. I along with many other residents of the Midsouth have fallen victim to mice and squirrels taking over my home.

Now I knew the home had a history of mice in the kitchen because when my husband and I were looking at the house we found a couple dead mice in the cabinet by the sink. It didn’t surprise us since the house had sat vacant for a while and was built a few decades ago. The manager was showing us the house and when we opened the cabinet he asked me almost jokingly what species they were (we had just learned mice in mammalogy that week). Before I could answer, his manager frantically said that he and maintenance would fix the problem and clean up the house before we moved in. I explained that it didn’t scare us into not moving in, and that the species that had taken up residence in the kitchen cabinets was in fact Mus musculus, the house mouse.

We moved in a couple months ago and the house had been cleaned and I hadn’t seen any evidence of any more mice through the house. Here and there I would notice a couple acorns in my tool bag and in a box, but I never thought anything of it since my tool bag was left in the carport one night. I never found anything major that would make me suspect a rodent problem. Monday morning, I got a very unpleasant surprise. I was going to make my breakfast before work, I opened the silverware drawer and found droppings EVERYWHERE. This had happened just over night. I was disgusted and frantically searched the rest of the kitchen to find all the cabinets and drawers on that wall had droppings all over. I found a gap between the cabinet and the pipe for the sink so that is probably the entry point. I began looking through the rest of the house, dogs on my heels as I went to every room. I found more acorns in my tool bag, a basket in the guest closet was full, one of my purses had a couple acorns in it too. Over the next two days I found droppings in every room in the house, and I mean everywhere!

That first day though I came into work frustrated that the rodent problem was not in fact resolved like it was supposed to be. I told a coworker about my findings this morning and he jokingly replied, “hey, I know this awesome company that specialized in that work!”

My husband informed the manager about the terrible rodent problem and his solution was poison, it is what they had always done. I then explained why poison doesn’t work and that the house would need to be sealed. I know because it’s what the company does. The manager agreed to have the house fixed, which I am extremely thankful for, so now I am now a customer as well as an employee. So far, I set traps where I identified some entry points into the house and am waiting on repairs. At night and in the mornings, I have heard scratching and scurrying in the walls and attic. It is so hard to sleep through that because I don’t know if something is going to get into my room while I’m asleep, scurry across the top of the dresser and across my bed. That even makes this wildlife major squeamish!

I am sharing my experience with rodents in the house in hopes of shedding a little light on why repairs are so important and that I’m 100% with you on the frustration of unwelcomed tenants. My home is one of many cases that prove poison does not solve your problem and here is why.

Poison may seem to be the fastest and easiest solution to your problem, which to some extent may be true. You go to the store, get some poison for a couple of dollars and set it around your home, in cabinets, and in the attic. The rats find it and consume it end of story, not really though. This is just a single chapter of the story. Whenever the rats eat the poison and die there is no guarantee that it will be outside of your home, most of the time it happens in your walls or attic. Any dead organism is going to smell, and dead rodent smell through the house is far from pleasant. Now you need someone to come out and remove the decomposing rat from your walls which requires cutting into them and patching it back up. It can be very tricky to find the exact place in the wall that the dead rat is at since you can’t hear it and we don’t have a strong enough sense of smell to find it quickly. So, the house is now rat free, the problem is finally solved days if not weeks later along with a lot of money later. Two months go by and you hear scratching around and find droppings again, repeat the poison and dead rat removal. Then a month later it happens again, and it will happen again until you address the real issue head on.

This is what I can only imagine has been the story of my house before and since I’ve moved in, but it stops today. This is the reason why poison does not solve your problems, trapping is also just temporary as well unless you get your home repaired. By patching up entry points, gaps, holes, and screening vents you will not have a reoccurring wildlife problem.

Here at Wildlife X Team Midsouth we are confident that will a full inspection and all the repairs completed, your wildlife problem will be solved. We have a one-year guarantee on all repairs done to your home. It is crucial to address the problem at early stages so the damage to your home doesn’t increase. The wildlife will continue to come and go for as long as you let them. If you are hearing anything in your attic or walls, or if you find evidence of wildlife in your home you can give us a call or schedule service now.