Weegaz

Mice in the roofspace

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Hi All,

 

We have only moved into our new build in June and over the holiday period we have noticed alot of scratching and tiny feet running about the roofspace.

 

Its a 2 storey timber frame house and I am totally confused about how they have got in.  I can't see any where internally that they would be getting into the actual house.  I would assume the air tight membrane would be keeping them out so far, until they chew through it.

 

Having read up about mice they like warmth and nest in insulation. We have cellulose insulation in the roofspace so they are probably in their element.

 

I assume as its new build and as mentioned above we moved in in June, we would be able to speak to the builder about carrying out inspection of cabling etc as mice seem to like chewing through them, last thing I want is an issue so early with the house.

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Mice can climb walls and get in through small gaps externally, the saying is that if you can get a pencil through it a mouse can probably get through it!

 

In our old house we found the entry points to the loft space were tiny gaps at the eaves, where they were climbing the walls (aided by some climbing plants we had growing up them) and then getting in via very small gaps in the soffits.  Having got rid of the mice (using live traps and peanut butter bait) - took about 5 or 6 goes to catch them all) I went around and sealed up all the soffits and cut back the climbing plants.  Since then we've had no problems in the loft at all, but they have got inside the house a couple of times, on both occasions we assume they got in through a door or window that was left open for a short time.

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We have the faint whiff of  "dead rat" smell at the mo upstairs! :( Preceeded as always by a few unseasonal blue bottles. Something gets in, finds the poison I've laid in the loft and it does the trick. I dread to think how many skeletons and nests are in the inaccessible areas.

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You need to put out traps or poison, because all it takes is one pregnant female to create an infestation.  If they get hungry enough the will start to eat things like wiring sheathing. 

 

A couple of decade back, we had our then cat bring in and release a mouse in our dining.  It was having great fun catching it then letting it go again.  When we went to capture it, it vanished -- no mouse to be found.  A few weeks later, Jan noticed a slight lump in the interlined curtains.  The injured mouse had crawled up inside the curtains to escape the cat and died.  When Jan separated the interlining from the lining at the lump a dessicated mouse dropped out!!

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+1 to Jeremy’s comment about peanut butter. They really can’t resist it :) 

 

Edit: these get mixed reviews on Amazon but mine have always worked faultlessly. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pest-Stop-Trip-Trap-Single-Catches-Alive/dp/B00133QS3G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1514894314&sr=8-2&keywords=Humane+traps

Edited by Barney12

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In our last place we put traps in the loft with our initials on them and me and the wife had bets on who would catch one, £1 a mouse makes life a bit more interesting. 

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The live capture traps I have are the Rentokil ones, and they work very well as long as they are on a smooth surface, ideally not out in the open, as mice prefer to run around things like walls, so place a board or something vertically alongside it for better success.  They can be bought pretty much anywhere, but here's an online link: https://www.homebase.co.uk/rentokil-live-capture-mouse-trap-pack-of-2-_p326823

 

I put ours on a small bit of scrap laminate coated board, and that seems to work well.

Edited by JSHarris

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A very detailed inspection of the outside of the property will be required, including and areas Outwith the building but conected to the building such as services hatches etc. As previous comments, block up all potential problem points and then set a  bunch of traps, not poison in my opinion. They will be hungry over the next few days. After catching them all just wait and listen, if all quiet then job done, if not further inpections and repeat from the beginning until the desired outcome is gained. In some of the less likely places i jammed in stainless steel wire wool pan scrubbers and then squirted expandable foam into a the compressed scrubbers, this stops both flys and wind and extends whe metal life considerably. It would be obvious if mice were trying to gnaw through and a more permeant solution could be implemented as needed.  

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I think part of our problem is underground. I have a feeling that where the later parts of the property join the original, under the floors there's maybe mortar gaps in the block / brickwork. This allows access under suspended timber floors, up via the cavity walls etc. There's a thick concrete path about 4' wide runs across the front of the house and I think "things" get under there too.

 

Got some old fashioned clay air bricks with holes maybe 10mm x 10mm. Thinking to put some st/st mesh over them.

 

The outside render is in places "knobbly" providing perfect grip to run up.

 

Also have a cherry tree that overhangs which needs lopping. I've seen a squirrel jumping from it onto the roof.

 

I've taken to drilling holes in the floorboards (under the carpet) with my Cavity Master kit to create bait "drop zones".  (None of the carpets are properly fitted anyway).

Edited by Onoff

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Thanks for the replies folks.

 

I will have to carry out an investigation this evening.....I get the heebbie jeebbies thinking about it :/

 

I noticed at lunch the builders drilled holes for the vents approx 30cm off the ground and a few are loosely fitted with gaps leading into the cavity.

 

I would rather traps than poison, at least I can discard of them if they are caught.

 

We have smooth K rend, so the only way in that I would see would be the vent holes.  My wife has an idea that they could have been in one of the bags of cellulose insulation and got out when the builders opened the bags in roofspace.

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17 minutes ago, Weegaz said:

I would rather traps than poison, at least I can discard of them if they are caught.

 

 

Me too, we had a very nasty experience years ago with a dead mouse or bird (not sure which) having fallen inside the wall cavity from the roof space (the cavity wasn't closed off in one corner of a single storey extension).  We had a really bad smell in the living room (which was partly in the extension) that I traced to coming from a double gang outlet on the wall, behind the TV.  I took the plate off and the smell was definitely coming from the back box.  An investigation in the loft confirmed that something had fallen inside the cavity and died, as the smell was up there in the only place where there was access down into the cavity.

 

The smell got so bad that the room was unusable, so I drilled some 10mm holes in a line through the mortar course in the outside brick wall where I thought the thing might be and squirted in neat bleach.  That confirmed that the smell was coming from the cavity, as we could then smell the bleach inside.  Some silicone sealant all around the inside of the back box was the final measure, followed by sealing up the holes in the mortar a few weeks later.

 

Since then I've been a very keen advocate of traps, either dead or live capture.  If using the live capture ones it's worth noting that mice seem to have a homing instinct, so you need to release any captured ones a long way from home - if you let them out in the garden I think there's a good chance they will get back in again!

Edited by JSHarris

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Catch and release? Yeah right! Unless it's into one of these:

 

whitefurze-space-saver-water-butt-kit-250-litre.thumb.jpg.8aba3919985e19fea1f2d8e805d74a5c.jpg

 

A-brown-cat-licking-its-lips.jpg.a98661793e4b1c65daebfcbe9be197ba.jpg

 

:)

 

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If there is no food supply they would most likely be dead already, they must have a way to get food and water, so as you say probably through the vent holes, hopefully an easy fix 

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35 minutes ago, Onoff said:

Catch and release? Yeah right! Unless it's into one of these:

A-brown-cat-licking-its-lips.jpg.a98661793e4b1c65daebfcbe9be197ba.jpg

:)

How do you think they're all getting in my house in the first place?

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Don't feed the things in the first place...like we do albeit inadvertently! All our veg compost goes in a compost bin but food scraps are referred to as "fox food". I like foxes btw. Sat with my then baby daughter once with 5 foxes about 10' away and two the other side of the fence.

 

The other week I put some out and a dirty great rat appeared out of the hedge. Seconds later a fox appeared and was more interested in following the rat's scent trail than the scraps. Rats apparently form a large part of a fox's diet.

Edited by Onoff

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‘Don't feed the things in the first place.’

 

We had similar problem with a bird feeder, attracted the baby squirrels, which the dogs loved to bark at from the other side of the glass but we were not so keen on the rats they attracted! So the bird feeder had to go.

 

  In the same house, inside we had problem with mice, as house was an old farmhouse with countless entry holes.  It was only when we moved that we found the mice had vast storage supply of our dogs dinner biscuits under the bookcases, which would have lasted them for years.

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When I first met the missus she had a Jack Russell cross...and horses. Rats made a nest behind a great big bag of pony nuts in the corner of the stable. Clever dog dug through the feed bag to get at the nest. Tbh made more mess than the rats! :) It killed two rats released from a trap once in quick succession, the second was halfway up a wall!

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47 minutes ago, Jml said:

‘Don't feed the things in the first place.’

 

We had similar problem with a bird feeder, attracted the baby squirrels, which the dogs loved to bark at from the other side of the glass but we were not so keen on the rats they attracted! So the bird feeder had to go.

 

  In the same house, inside we had problem with mice, as house was an old farmhouse with countless entry holes.  It was only when we moved that we found the mice had vast storage supply of our dogs dinner biscuits under the bookcases, which would have lasted them for years.

 

When my son was a toddler he'd suddenly have a cracker or raisins in his hand with one of us thinking the other had given them to him. It took us a while to figure he was stashing food down the 3-piece plastic corner protectors (stapled to the base) we'd never bothered to take off. 

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I've never understood where mice get enough food or water to survive in a loft.  They seem to like eating some types of plastic and rubber.  They seem to love black Armaflex pipe insulation, but don't seem so keen on the grey polythene stuff.  They also seem to like PVC cable insulation, but rarely bother chewing timber, unless it's to make a hole to access something.

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22 minutes ago, Onoff said:

When I first met the missus she had a Jack Russell cross...and horses. Rats made a nest behind a great big bag of pony nuts in the corner of the stable. Clever dog dug through the feed bag to get at the nest. Tbh made more mess than the rats! :) It killed two rats released from a trap once in quick succession, the second was halfway up a wall!

 

Our dogs, retriever and gordon setter, use to just watch the mice make their way around the edge of the living room, whilst I was running the other way!

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1 minute ago, Jml said:

 

Our dogs, retriever and gordon setter, use to just watch the mice make their way around the edge of the living room, whilst I was running the other way!

 

My flat coated retriever would wait until the cat dropped whatever it had caught then pounce and bolt down the half dead mouse / bird etc.

 

It would generally reappear during dinner when what the dog ate would disagree with it. Then both the cat and dog would ignore it.

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I can confirm that the ultrasonic/electronic devices don't work.

 

Peanut butter on conventional traps works but they need resetting.  Lots of ideas on youtube for traps that collect multiple mice...

 

 

 

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