Serving Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex County
Recently, I was called out to a home in Brick Township, NJ, to resolve a mouse infestation. The homeowner had found mouse droppings in the basement. Rodent droppings are the most common and visible signs of a rodent infestation in a home. Mice are tiny rodents, weighing less than an ounce, and their droppings are small as well, less than a quarter-inch. The droppings are dark and pointed at both ends, resembling black grains of rice. their droppings are pretty easily identified. Although droppings are small, there are a lot of them. A single mouse can drop over 50 pellets daily.
As I was about to go into the basement to inspect, I received a word of caution from the homeowner. He told me that there was “some” clothes and other items being stored in the basement. “Some” was an understatement. The basement was heavily cluttered, which translates into virtually unlimited hiding and nesting areas for mice. The areas that I could actually inspect was extremely limited. Although I understand that many homes have limited storage areas in the living spaces and basements become “dumping grounds” for seasonal items or items they just aren’t ready to part with, there is a cost to keeping all of this clutter. Rodents will exploit it once they gain access inside the home. Mice usually gain access through small cracks and gaps around the foundation to enter the basement and crawl space. They then freely travel throughout the home in the wall voids to forage for food and water.
Clutter makes these infestations much harder to resolve. Here, I managed to place a few interior bait stations on the window sills. I also identified a few entry points where the mice were gaining access into the home. I sealed the interior areas with a chew-proof copper mesh, and then sealed the exterior openings with an expanding resin, a professional grade foam we use for exclusions to prevent mice and other wildlife from entering.With their entry points blocked, the mice in the home will be reduced over time. Unfortunately, there will invariably be some hidden carcasses rotting away because of all of this clutter.
The lesson of this job is that clutter exacerbates rodent and insect problems in homes, and makes these infestations harder to treat. Homeowners should make a conscious effort to keep clutter to a minimum.