Mouseproofing: a photo essay

slateberry51April 5, 2011

I have HAD IT! I did a huge mouseproofing a few weeks ago, was sure I'd foiled the critters at last, but I opened a drawer and found cute little "evidence" everywhere. Yuck! As my husband says, they'd be welcome to visit and take a few grams of this or that, if only they wouldn't leave a few grams of THAT behind!

I had attached a strip of gutter flashing to cover a crack where they were climbing in from the dishwasher cavity and into a drawer. Unfortunately, I did not attach it securely, so they were able to push in. I augmented the duct tape with screws:

Then packed in grout behind the flashing from the other side.

I pulled out the dishwasher so I could access that space. I was too lazy to do that last time, but clearly, I should have.

Here is where they were coming in: up the water supply line from the basement. That needs to slide, so I couldn't caulk or grout. I settled for steel wool:

If they get past that, I want to make sure they didn't get any further. They had been using the sound insulation around the dishwasher as a superhighway to access any hole or crack in the cabinet to get to adjacent spaces.

So, more flashing and caulk, but this time I was smarter and packed grout behind the flashing first. Also packed steel wool or fiberglass mesh behind the caulk:

This shows the packed grout on the other side of the flashing:

This was an abandoned water supply hole to the basement; sealed with a wood scrap and grout:

Incidentally, duct tape is useless, except for holding the flashing in place while I screw it down.

Yes I know this was ugly as all get out, but I had to post in case it helps someone. I haven't seen grout touted as a mouseproofing material, but I had some leftover in the basement and was happy to use it up. Especially for this.

Of course, now that it's spring, they'll be moving to greener pastures anyway, but I'm ready for next winter--I hope!

If we ever redo our kitchen, it's gonna be sealed like a VAULT!

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worthy

The grout or caulking should be smooth so Mickey can't get a grip on it with his teeth.

I was an assistant manager at a NYC supermarket that was closed down one day by the Health Department because of complaints of rats in the aisles. Heck, they should have seen the basement where no biped dared tread past 4 in the afternoon. Some people are sooo picky.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 10:14AM
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badgergrrl

You might also want to spend some time over the summer trying to figure out how they're getting in to the house itself. Then, it won't matter if your kitchen is mouseproof or not.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 10:17AM
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calliope

OMGosh.....if you live in the country the influx and exit of mice is a given. You cannot believe the tiny crack they can shove they bodies through. If it can accommodate their flat little heads, they don't need to make the hole any larger. How do they get in our 200 year old house with a stone foundation? LOL I watched a black snake, a huge one crawl through a narrow crack in the basement door jamb and we had just replaced it. Black snakes in the house will keep the mice down. LOL

Been there and done that with the flashing, Slateberry. It helps but it's like throwing obstacles in their way. Get cats.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:16PM
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ashley_t

Yes, cats definitely help! And keep any edibles OUT of your cabinets that they can get into (I'm sure you know that already).

If you do get a cat, be prepared for tapeworms, though (they get them from eating rodents).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 2:10PM
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antiquesilver

We have city mice & they seem to like the AC in the summer months more than coming in the fall - maybe we keep the house too cold in the winter for all except the homeless ones, LOL!

We've had them enter through a crevice at the bottom of a basement door jamb where they apparently got into the expansion joint of the concrete floor. After that they traversed about 20' - either around the perimeter expansion material or under solid concrete that was poured over gravel - to get to a pantry (more like open shelves in a niche with folding doors) where they popped up through a dime size hole, again in the expansion joint. I filled the entrance hole with steel wool & that along with traps brought the population under control that year but every so often, there are 'presents'.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 3:21PM
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DavidR

Cats help, but don't always solve the problem. We had huge problems with rats in our barn until we got some barn cats (yes, we do get them their shots and take care of them). The rats figured the neighborhood had gone to 7734 and was a lousy place to raise a family, so they moved on. Not the mice though. They still scurry all over, somehow evading the cats.

No rats in the house, but darned if we can get rid of the mice, and again - with housecats on duty! They bring us their leftovers, such generous kids, but more snacks seem to arrive with regularity. Darned if I can figure out where they're getting in. Every time I think I've closed off their POE, I get another gift from the kids. And now it sounds they've made their way up into the attic!

I sometimes they think they just like old houses the way we do. If anybody figures out how to evict mice for good from old houses, please post.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:31AM
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arlosmom

I hope your mouse-proofing works.

If you can figure out how to keep the stinkbugs out, you'll really be my hero!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:50AM
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slateberry51

we had a cat--it was a wonderful thing, except for my daughter, who was allergic. We were in denial about why she coughed all winter, every winter--until the cat moved to a dear neighbor's house. We have had quiet winters ever since, and I feel terrible that I did not do something sooner. But it was a wonderful thing, having a cat. We shut her down in the basement every night, and hardly ever had a problem.

We are working on getting the basement tightened up, for energy efficiency too. But I had to do the spot crisis work. I did the same thing in our cereal cabinet and we haven't had issues in months.

I hear that mice cannot stand the smell of mint, so I might get a mint fragrance diffuser for the basement. Worst case we just have a nice smelling basement, and mice.

Worthy, you always crack me up!

Try looking under the shelves on the floor of your local drugstore, like CVS. My kids figured out that there are literally hundreds of mousetraps parked under the displays at our local. Better that than the alternative.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 7:32AM
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DavidR

Try looking under the shelves on the floor of your local drugstore ...

Our local hardware store keeps a handsome grey neutered male cat. They say he does a great job keeping the mice under control. (Maybe I should borrow him to show our kids how it's done.)

He's usually sitting or lying on the checkout counter when I go in. Yesterday he was snoozing on the scale. He currently weighs 13 lb 3 oz. Must be all those fuzzy snacks.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:34PM
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oldhousegal

I plant catnip in my garden in several spots to appease my old cat who loves the stuff. Only problem is, it also attracts all the neighbor cats. I used to chase them away for fear that they'd beat up the old guy, but he was cool with his new friends. Then I realized the rats that lived in the old rock wall between my house and my neighbors, just hadn't been around in a while. Hmmmmmm.

I've owned my old house for 6 years now. The previous owner had put multiple boxes of rat poison in the basement, attic, etc. I removed it as soon as I moved in since I have dogs and cats and didn't want them to get into it. I have not had a mouse or rat in this house since I moved here. People tend to laugh at me when I say I don't have mice or rats, and say, "yeah, right," but I really don't. I'm convinced it's the smell of the cats that just keeps them away. Well, that and maybe a good hunter or two:

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 12:25AM
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worthy

Ah, breakfast!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 7:16AM
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