Mice or bugs?

buffylouNovember 4, 2003

DH just dragged me down the basement to look at some evidence of little visitors in our pantry, which is underneath the basement stairs. No access from outside that I know of except for a little hole around the sump vent, in the brick outside - about 10-12 feet from pantry. DH keeps meaning to fix that. Clues: no urine smell that I can detect, nor mouse feces, either. We did/do have mouse/mice in garage due to DH's new hobby of birdfeeding, but mice would need to navigate pretty steep stairs from garage to house, and we never leave that door open. On the top shelf of the pantry, closest to I beam, we found about 5-6 small cellophane bags of dry pasta completely empty, with a hole about the size of a quarter in each one. Boxes of mac & cheese completely untouched. On shelf below, we found a cellophane package of wild rice partly empty and scattered. Also on that shelf are about 6-7 packages of "soup mix" - you know, those little cellophane bags with beans, corn, rice and some "spice mix" that you add meat and carrots to, to make soup or stew. None of these are touched at all. I'm wondering if we really do have mice, or some kind of pasta-loving bugs who are not challenged by cellophane. Any ideas out there? DH is ready to call the exterminator. The only other clue is, he (it) left a few bags of whole wheat pasta untouched. (I would, too.) Have not heard any rustling, and cleaning lady says she's not seen anything. I believe this is a pretty recent happening, although I'm too short to see that top shelf and pasta's not usually my first choice, so who knows. Thanks in advance for your help.

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nancyinmich

You don't need to leave a door open for mice to get around. If an opening is as big as a dime, a mouse can get through. It sure sounds like mice to me. They just haven't gotten to the rest of the food yet. I can't imagine they would have any problem at all with stairs.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2003 at 10:20PM
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Blueridgeroses

Sounds like mice to me too. Try setting a few traps and seal up that hole!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2003 at 8:21AM
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nancyinmich

buffylou,
Hows it coming with the critters? We are in Michigan, too. I told my DH you were married to "the un-handy-man" and he said, "she hasn't met me yet!"

Isn't it nice when we recognize our strengths and weaknesses?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 2:53PM
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buffylou

Yes, absolutely! Let's not talk about when he shorted out most of our house and fried the VCR a few weeks ago when he replaced the sensor in an outdoor light ("I couldn't find anything to connect the ground wire to, so I didn't").

Well, we have/had mice. Trapped 3 so far, but no activity since Friday morning, so that's a good sign. Spent Friday night cleaning the pantry, replacing shelf liner, etc. Also found an imploded can of artichoke hearts that had created nice, colorful, moldy "science experiment" on a lower shelf. DH says boy, we know how to live - cleaning on a Friday night. Bonus is that now I know exactly what's in the pantry. Anyhow, he did seal that hole (not a great job, but I'm not complaining). We have another possible hole where the gas line goes through the basement floor into the kitchen wall behind the stove, that may possibly be accessible from the attic, but I defy any mouse to try it. Will keep some traps on the I beam for a while. Next project will be cleaning the garage; DH finally bought a big rubbermaid container for the bird seed.

DH is extremely chagrined, always thought "only filthy houses" attract mice and our is generally clean and clutter-free. (Except the garage; only one car, and I can park in there, but the wall space is packed.) I keep telling him it's just that time of year!

Thanks for the thoughts and advice. Good luck to you.

Buffylou

    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 10:36PM
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brickeyee

Mice want a nice warm home for the winter, just like everyone else. :-)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2003 at 1:36PM
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nancyinmich

I had mice in my garage the first winter. I had my birdseed in those five gallon plastic pickle buckets in the garage. The mice gnawed through the plastic, got the seed and hid it in the hood of my car. I had just bought the car, and was walking to work. I only really took it out on weekends. The washer fluid needed filling one day and I opened the hood only to have a few lbs of toasted bird seed rain down from the drain holes in the hood. I had to vacuum my engine! Now the birdseed lives in galvanized trashcans.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2003 at 12:44AM
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Bug_Girl_MI

oh, i am so glad to hear that story nancy!
I always leave my honda civic's back seats folded down for more cargo space. mice pulled out all the stuffing from one of the seats, and had a real nice nest in the wheel well. i had no idea until i had an extra passenger and he sank right down to the springs!
Mice also made a nest with fluff and acorns in the U shape between the spark plugs on my engine--which shorted the car out eventually, and greatly amused the AAA guy who came to jump the car.
i'm glad it's just not me.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2003 at 8:52PM
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