A fairly distraught elderly homeowner in Toms River contacted Cowleys upon discovering rodent droppings in her kitchen, along with an overpowering, pungent smell that, according to her, was getting worse by the day. I was dispatched to determine the type of rodent infestation and how they were gaining access inside the home. For a pest control technician, fecal pellets are like fingerprints. Mice are the usual suspects, especially when temperatures drop and they are looking to escape the harsh winter elements. A house mouse’s droppings resemble seeds, ranging from 1/8 to 1/4 inch. They are commonly pointed at the ends, and are scattered in areas where they are foraging for food. And these little critters know how to deliver; a single mouse can produce up to seventy-five pellets daily. When in the homeowner’s kitchen, I immediately smelled the unmistakable smell of a dead, rotting rodent. Once you smell a rotting mouse, you never forget it.
The smell was coming from behind the refrigerator. However, when I pulled the refrigerator out, there was nothing there. My “sniffer” has yet to lead me astray; my nose always knows! So, I knew I had to investigate a little deeper to find the source of that repugnant smell. I grabbed some tools from my work truck to remove the bottom protector of the refrigerator. Household appliances like refrigerators and dryers are common nesting sites for mice because they are attracted to the heat from the motors. Jackpot! A long-dead mouse that had been nesting in the insulation under the refrigerator was stinking to high heaven. I unceremoniously removed and disposed of the mouse.
To be sure that this was not a solo infestation, I set up several bait stations around the interior and exterior of the home. After careful inspection around the perimeter of the home, there was no obvious entry points such as torn screening or foundation cracks. Unfortunately, mice are able to gain access though a hole the size of a pencil, so it is next to impossible to completely fortify a home against a haphazard mouse venturing inside.
All indications are that this was a single mouse infestation, but I'll be going back in a couple of weeks to assess any activity, and make sure that there are no other mice scurrying about.The homeowner was relieved that the dead mouse was gone and that a baiting system was in place to catch any other mice that may be lurking about.