Mouse Highway!

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Some people think that if their house is in "the big city" there is less chance for mice to bother the house.  Not true.  They are around, and when it's cold they will want to get in.  It's best not to provide them a mouse highway!

A mouse only needs a space 1/4" wide to get in!  That's it.  And they are always looking for those spaces.

Electricity needs to get inside the house.

Large service conductors bring it in.

They need a large hole on the side of the house.

And that hole is typically filled with some form of putty, or a large clamp.

In this house, one block from the United States Capitol Building, the electrical service was upgraded at some point in the past, to a 200amp service. 

That required a larger conductor than existed prior.

Outside there was a large gap present.

Inside there is a large gap between the wall and the panel box. 

And there is a large gap on the side of the panel box, never sealed!

This is a mouse highway!

So it was not surprising at all when we found evidence of mouse infestation in a house that has been empty for some time.

My recommendation:  it doesn't hurt to walk around the house and look for possible mouse entrances - the electrical connection, where the AC line(s) enters the house, where data lines connect, etc.  You might be surprised at what you find!  Before you put in any putty or other sealer, take a Brillo pad or some other steel wool and put it in the hole first.  Rodents will not try to chew through steel wool.

 

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Cary Jo - you HAVE to have mice out there!

Glad you learned something Jimmy!  It's useful info, for sure.

What, and spoil all that cat fun Kathryn?  You meanie.

Jan 24, 2013 05:37 AM #54
Rainmaker
1,191,366
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Hallmark Realtors - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Hi Jay - I can handle insects and spiders, but mice are my least favorite thing in the whole world!! Thanks for helping me keep them away!

Jan 24, 2013 05:49 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

They are dirty little creatures W&J.  And can make us sick too!

Jan 24, 2013 06:06 AM #56
Rainmaker
1,949,947
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Jay - I love the idea about plugging holes with Steel Wool. . .I have just the spot to use that little trick. 

Jan 24, 2013 08:41 AM #57
Rainmaker
803,032
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale
Jay -- I have always heard that steel wool is the best to stuff into those spaces. I still don't understand how they can get through spaces 1/4 in wide!
Jan 24, 2013 09:11 AM #58
Ambassador
2,440,397
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I like the steel wool idea, I had not heard of that before and I have an outside shed that is a condo complex for mice in the winter

Jan 24, 2013 09:15 AM #59
Rainmaker
194,380
Chuck Mixon
The Keyes Company - Cutler Bay, FL
Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR

Jay one thing you did not mention is that if possible try and provide a one way exit for a short period before sealing the hole, especially larger opening that can let in larger critters. The reason is that what ever is in the house if it does not have a way out will die and leave a bad order for weeks and sometime months, depending on the humidity. Field mice not that big of an issue but rats have left bad orders enough to chase tenants out and break a lease.

Jan 24, 2013 10:49 AM #60
Rainmaker
468,715
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, Mice like highways too. It's so nice we provide such nice passage ways ; )

Jan 24, 2013 12:40 PM #61
Rainmaker
86,096
Eric Middleton
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc. - Uniondale, NY
Professional Property Inspector

Jay - I inspected a house a few months ago that had mice, found out they were entering through a small opening around the exhaust vent for the dryer. The hole was a little to big for the plastic cover. I recommended to the owner to apply caulk and he hasn't had a problem since - Good post.

 

Jan 24, 2013 01:02 PM #62
Rainmaker
1,003,187
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Jay:  And here, I was hoping for a nice cute story about Minnie and Mickey Mouse.

Back to your post.  Who in the world would leave just a major gap in the wall like that.  Wow.  Why not just put out a sign... "welcome critters?"

Even if you didn't want to try and patch the sheetrock/drywall... all it would take would be a length of "trim" and you'd be done with it.  Strange.

Jan 24, 2013 02:09 PM #63
Rainmaker
1,030,978
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Okay, the term "mouse highway' is forever marked on my mind.  First thing tomorrow, I'm going to look for cracks, even though I have not seen a mouse.

Jan 24, 2013 03:00 PM #64
Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Try it Myrl.  It does work.

Barbara - they have very collapsable bone structures.  If they can get their skull in, the rest goes too.

Ed - I think you are obligated to allow them to stay in the shed!

Chuck - a way out is a way in.  What would a one-way exit look like and how does one insure the rodents know that it is?

Jan 24, 2013 05:10 PM #65
Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Don - as members of the natural population, we should be kind and convenient for all other creatures.

Eric - good thing the caulking worked!  I hear they chew through most everything if they want!

That was a big hole Karen Anne!  The house has been vacant a while, but still, it looked like that hole has been there a long time!

Sharon - usually they are not seen!  We had them for a long time before I knew it!

Jan 24, 2013 05:12 PM #66
Rainmaker
2,485,218
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Yes, mice can squeeze into small places.  They'd have a big challenge getting into my place since they'd have to climb 16 stories.  But, if they did, they probably would only last 5 minutes w/ my 2 very curious and frisky cats.

Jan 24, 2013 06:47 PM #67
Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

They wouldn't get to it from outside Debbie!  They know more about the inside of your apartment building than you do!

Jan 24, 2013 06:52 PM #68
Rainmaker
268,857
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

The steel wool trick is something that is new to us and s great reason to make calls to our SOI.  thanks for the tip.

Jan 24, 2013 07:33 PM #69
Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Steve - you are welcome sir!  And as I have said to others, it truly works.

Jan 24, 2013 07:40 PM #70
Rainmaker
2,485,218
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Jay - Yes, I know.  But, they would still have a long way to climb...unless they took the elevator but someone might notice them there.  All I'm saying is that if they did manage to get in, they wouldn't last long.  My cats go after everything that moves.

Jan 24, 2013 08:47 PM #71
Rainer
244,400
Mark Robinson
Geneva Financial, LLC - Beachwood, NJ
Honesty, Integrity, Service

I live by wooded lots and would get mice in the winter. I found one area with wiring and a small space next to it.

I patched it up and no more mice!

Even the cleanest home will get mice if it's cold enough outside. They want to stay warm too.

Great post.

 

Jan 24, 2013 08:58 PM #72
Rainmaker
1,709,899
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Debbie - they are all over your building!  High and low!  But with your cats you are probably very safe!

Mark - thanks!  They get in not because a house is dirty, but because they want warmth and/or are looking for food.  Don't give them a way in - like you took away!

Jan 25, 2013 02:20 AM #73
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Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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