CEFreemanFebruary 27, 2014

I'm watching some DIY show where they're pulling down drywall to find total, squirming runnells full of carpenter ants. Then, there's also a huge, giant spider infestation eating the ants. The house is so riddled that the walls are almost held up with the packed sawdust, vs. the 2x4s that should actually be there.

My hair is standing on end and my nose is itching. (Childhood trauma with a neighbor child and flies.) Plus, I'm terrified of termites and other things infesting my own house.

Have you had to deal with [ahem] pests? What were they and how did you get rid of them?

I'm dealing with mice. Linelle suggested a cool idea of stringing poison on wire so they couldn't take it and squirreI l it away. Hmm... another rodent. I hear them in 3 walls, no where near the kitchen, and I don't know how to get the poison to them.

I also exterminate every 2 years for termites. I have so many water issues from bad plumbing, years of leaks, a decade of no gutters, etc., that I think the termites will be ongoing. Plus, I'm in the country and they're in my barn.

I also work in restaurants. Anyone who is squeamish about the idea of a restaurant exterminating is Really foolish not thinking. You WANT to hear they're doing that every month. Cockroaches live in dry paper, cardboard, etc., and you cannot avoid them in commercial spaces. So ask your favorite bar or restaurant what their extermination schedule is. Everyone will know, because employees help pack up the glassware, pots, pans, liquor, etc in preparation for the overnight exterminators. If they don't know? Ask a manager or run like hell.

Flying bugs. Died and gone to hell.....

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I am torn between my fear and loathing of crawling critters and my desire not to harm other living things. I carry spiders out to the front lawn in a butterfly net, put snails over the fence so they can eat the city's greenery rather than my own, and name the granddaddy longlegs that tend to start their families in the upper corners of my entryway. But ants ... oh, what to do about the ants??? I have come to realize, it's them or me!

On the same note, I started my very first raised-bed vegetable garden last year and quickly found out that I wasn't actually raising vegetables, but rather insects. Every single thing that I planted attracted no less than three different bugs. Once again, I came to the conclusion that it's them or me.

I don't know what it is with me and bugs. When we moved into this house, we planted two trees in the backyard that produce the loveliest coral colored lanterns in the fall. As we soon discovered, those lanterns produce a seed that is the lone food source for a certain species of red and black insects that do nothing more than eat and reproduce. Every springtime, there are thousands, more likely millions, swarming around the yard. They are harmless, but still ... !!! In this case, it's no longer a case of them or me. They have clearly won.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Christine-We had mice off and on for years, even with 2 cats. (We live in the woods.) When we remodeled the kitchen in 2010, our contractor found a "freeway" onramp for mice left over from a previous removal of a Jenn-Air vent. He of course blocked that off. (Don't get me started on how I came home from being out of town for 9 weeks in 2008 when DD1 had twins to find, shall we say, "evidence" of mice in the spice drawer, among other places. Guess DH didn't use any spices while I was gone? But I digress.)

Since then things have been better, but we did resort to having a service provide us with outside bait traps.

As far as termites and maybe even ants etc. are concerned, I heard a "You Bet Your Garden" show about that a few weeks ago. I'll link it at the bottom. That segment is about halfway down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Getting rid of termites

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:42AM
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I've had that same conflict.
In my 37 years of yoga studies, live and let live is strongly ingrained.
A teacher once shared something regarding those things coming into our and compromising our health and well-being. Sadly, it's become lost in the muddles of time and my mind.

However, given the smell mice creates and the disease-borne filth bugs and rodents bring into my living space? GAME ON

I can live with the snakes who come up through the holes in the floor or fall out of the holes in the ceiling. The ones who leave their skin hanging from the roof on the porch when they jump out of it. I can live with raccoons peeking at me through those same holes over head.

I will not deal with disease or stinky.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:43AM
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" ... I can live with the snakes who come up through the holes in the floor or fall out of the holes in the ceiling ... "


    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:46AM
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We had a small infestation of carpenter ants - exterminated them all to heck.

Some years we get a nest of ground wasps under our front steps - killed those buggers too.

Luckily in 25 years we've only had one mouse (of which we're aware), and we trapped it - no further evidence.

So far, so good!

My Mom lives in the woods, and she had bats in her house. Not in the belfry - but scurrying between the floor joists. Since her bedroom is on the lower level (split-level), they were racing over her head. A bat exterminator (his card calls him the Bat Man) got rid of them.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:55AM
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Many moons ago the apartment complex in Queens stopped spraying vs cockroaches. I would awake many times with a few visitors on my pillow or night stand. Walking into the kitchen was always a scene of many running for cover. One night I was late heading to the hospital and a cockroach circled the stick shift until finally crawling into the dash board. As a kid I use to tuck my covers in tightly thinking the bugs would never crawl under the covers. My brother pointed out that they could use the bedposts. My year living in Queens made me deal with insects although I begged my husband to move.
Presently we live in a marshy area with snakes. LAst summer I gasped watching a 16 foot snake slither through the english boxes. The husband ignored my whisper telling me not to be foolish. Soon after he ended his rant about being one with nature appeared the snake stretched out in front of the twenty four foot deck.
The snake reached the length of the first step. My husband ran into the home while I stood in shock.

I knew we had poison ivy near the rural mailbox so I have attempted to conquer a reasonable distance free of the ivy. Last Spring I noticed a cluster of blooming poison ivy up the path. It was very pretty so I knelt to see how far the vines traveled so I could spray in better weather. In the midst of the cluster was a copper head.
Jeeze, my heart fluttered and I mentally hummed so not to show any fear. I was lucky that we still had cool weather so maybe the snake was still sleepy from the cold.
I hate bugs.
I hate snakes more.
Having lived in the woods in several states I have dealt with bats,squirrels and mice in the attic.
What I have found to work is trapping with a have a heart, lacing poison in the attic and basement, setting rat traps and mice traps, and a monthly walk around the home checking on any activity.
I laced the rat traps with peanut butter and granola cereal. I wrap the feed prong so they must tug to remove instead of licking clean. The rat traps snare the squirrels and the mice traps take care of the field mice. I leave the traps along a line since they do travel boards.
I also buy the pellet mice containers and add granola cereal and peanut butter to the mixture. The peanut butter lures them in . I change the location of the traps but I leave the poison feed stations in the same spot.

Make sure any edible item in your cabinets or pantry are contained in heavy duty plastic.

You also could do the steps to a bucket trap. You lay out books to step up to a high bucket . The bucket is filled with peanut butter and granola cereal. Again you ned to travel far when releasing them.

I have caught a few squirrels with the have a heart. I cover them with a heavy blanket and twirl the covered container before taking a long car trip. I have never painted their tails to see if they have returned.

I lived in California for a few years and had termites in the attic and a bee swarm take residence in the bedroom wall.
I signed up with a pest control who came through every four months spot treating any termite activity. I did tent at one point since I had more areas to treat then the month before.

I am truly sorry to read about the mice populated your home. Stay on top of it with laced poison traps . Keep in mind your household pets should never come in contact with your pest stations.

.Good luck

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 12:22PM
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Gah!!! You people are scaring me!!! I'm starting to feel almost grateful for my harmless little sex-crazed, seed-eating red and black bugs.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 12:37PM
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Let's see..... There was the summer of carpenter ants that emerged from my house a few a time. Sprayed like crazy. Turns out they were in a tree in the backyard. Sprayed like crazy. And removed the tree. Reappeared in a huge flock with winged queens crawling out to the front yard some weeks later. Don't waste your time with the carpenter ant spray they sell at HD. Brake cleaner kills them within seconds. Still battling the ones who appear in the bath and around my cats litter boxes.
There was rising water from a hurricane ( maybe 04) so that must have been the wet wood happening. While replacing the deteriorating vanity, opened up a small hole in the drywall- big mistake. They had eaten thru 2 of the 3 2x 4s that frame the window. Who knows how much more has been damaged on the other walls. But that's a project that have to wait till the kitchen is completed.
Looks like its time to dust the interior walls and outlets again with insecticide. I punch holes with a small screwdriver and puff in the dust witha little bellows. small holes are pretty easy to patch. Just don't get me started on the furry tailed rats that once moved their nursery into my attic .Bleah.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I forgot about living in Houston and the God-awful cockroaches. I swear they were as long as pencils.

I would come in at night, sneak into the bathroom & grab toilet paper. I'd flip on the switch & start grabbing them to throw them into the toilet.

I hate them.

Yeah, I don't mind snakes. It's really just the startle factor that gets me. Other than that, snakes are very cool. Supposedly we don't have copperheads around here. The biggest I get are black snakes, which eat mice.

This is my every other year to have my exterminator. I like him. The first time he fumigated my barn, the next morning gave a huge show. I looked out my bathroom window, which is probably 70 yards to the barn. I saw this mist around the barn. Huh? Then I realized it was glinting in the sunlight. Beautiful.

For over 45 minutes I watched termites swarm out of the ground in front of the barn. I really wish the prevailing winds headed in the other direction. I would have loved them to infest the illegal church my neighbor built. But... who knows. I just fumigate now.

Before we moved out here in 2002, I'd always lived in a condominium,. Other than my land, gardens and space, I'd trade all this for the low-maintenance.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Mice. Those little traps where the mouse enters, is (I'm sorry) impaled, and you throw the whole thing away. We haven't seen "mousal evidence" in a year or so now.

Chipmunks. If only they weren't so cute. They live under the front and back stoops, and we have had to completely replace one stoop, repair the brick on another, and are about to raise the front porch which has sunk into their tunnels. We trap them and take them over to the forest preserves and parks a mile away. When we visit the parks we are always on the lookout for chipmunks with their hobo packs slung over their wee backs, thumbing a ride home.

Testosterone. Just gotta wait it out till the teenage boys go off to college.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:23PM
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We have Boxelder bugs too (red and black long flying bugs), and I hate them. It's the Japanese Beetles I have a problem with. Japanese Beetles and flies to a lesser extent seem to live in the walls and/or basement (which is a rubble foundation, with a dirt floor, and 200 year old split trees with the bark still attached as floor joists). Even though it is -6 here today still seem to crawl through a crack and start crawling around. Eh. All I am going to do is keep a fly swatter handy.

Our old place is also on a working farm smack in the middle of corn country. We also live next to a big Amish community. Not only did we have a huge mouse invasion in the all just as people were getting into the fields I saw my first rat when I was talking to my FIL in the shop. I was bitten by a mouse as a child, and they will die. They are relentless and a little plastic will not stop them. Even the little ones will chew through plaster and wood.

At our last house we had a really bad problem with carpenter ants because we lived in the woods. I went through everything I could think of trying to kill them. Borax was the first thing that really made a dent and then they disappeared.

My 90 year old grandma lives in the Missouri Ozarks and I saw what I thought was a weird raccoon or something in the middle of the road in front of her driveway. As we got closer I realized it had 8 legs and started moving toward the car. Once we got to the house I made DH check under the car. I have seen way too many horror movies. My dad though tried to convince me wild tarantulas are harmless to us. Yeah right. How did they get so big? She also has a really bad problem with Black Widows and Brown Recluse getting into the house. Her house was also built over a tree stump so it's just a matter of time before the whole thing comes down. I've had my run ins with Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, and Water Moccasins. I hate snakes, but Black Snakes aren't so bad. I really hate Bull Snakes because they are super aggressive and will chase you. I also had a run in with a fox and a mountain lion (separate occasions) at our last house in the woods. Don't go for a walk in the woods without at least a hunting knife kids.

Oh about your mouse problem and not being able to reach them. I heard some running around in the ceiling at Thanksgiving with no way to get to them. The only thing you can really do is wait. If you find a hole, throw in some poison and stuff the hole with steel wool. This old farmhouse has lots of cracks and crevices, and we have put steel wool everywhere. Our outdoor colony of cats help too. At least my FIL got that wild dog problem under control last summer.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:26PM
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Fascinating thread!

Hobo chipmunks? How cute, I can totally picture them! Snakes that chase you? That's nightmare stuff! Japanese beetles? I kinda dig those. Did anyone else ever tie thread to their legs and fly them around like kites? Okay, so we didn't have a lot of toys when we were kids. I know, it sounds mean, but we did set them free afterwards (forgive me, beetles).

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Japanese Beetles?
I wonder if they're different in different parts of the country.
Here in the DC area, JBs are about the size of a dime. They're iridescent but eat the BUDS off everything. My crape myrtles' blossoms can be so full of JBs it's hard to see the plant.
I have dealt with those. If your grass starts out beautifully in your spring then gets patchy? Chances are you've got grubs, which are the JB larvae. Milky spore or Grub-ex gets rid of them.

I wonder if you're talking about some big beetle aka in Michigan as the June Bug, because they come out in June and are quickly gone? These are big enough to [cough] use as kites. You actually touched one of those on purpose!?! ickickickickick

Shall we talk ground hogs? We have ground hog condominium developments in my field. Definitely along the perimeter fences, but smack dab in the middle of the field. I've stepped into a hole and sunk down to my femur (thigh) bone. Gawwwwwww.

They're also undermining my barn. I need to save a TON of money and have a concrete floor poured, but I'd rather finish the electricity in my house. OTOH, I don't want to lose a 1400 SF barn.

I'm thinking right now about where I can stuff steel wool. When you have a crawl space, do I have to climb around under there? (Hey! That's my opportunity to check to make certain my plumber is using good workmanship. Sorry. I digress into another thread with a really dumb statement.)

But. On task. Do I line the entire bottom of my house with steel wool? under the insulation?

I admit confusion, but I'm up to the task...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:22PM
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As I remodeled one bathroom and opened up the wall (due to water damage) I found holes drilled through the framing into the crawl space below the bathroom from mis-drilled plumbing holes when the home was constructed. Guess who had been using that little hole? Mice. I found a nest under the vanity and a dead mouse for good measure. I have taken to carefully plugging up holes when I remodel rooms. Of course that doesn't help your current situation, but wanted to mention it for those that are in the process of remodeling.

We had ants (not sure what kind) last Spring. I found where most seemed to be coming into the house and spread ant killer powder outside. The problem seemed to go away very quickly. I am always afraid to put extermination chemicals inside my house. Locally we had two little girls die a few years ago from an exterminator not following regulations and putting vole-extermination chemicals too close to the house and unfortunately causing the death of these children. Sometimes extermination chemicals are a necessity, but I always feel this reluctance to bring such chemicals into my daily living environment because I just don't understand the possible ramifications.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:54PM
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I must admit that I find the regional variation fascinating! We recently moved into a condo and love the low maintenance life but during the prior 15 years we dealt with everything from wasp infestations under the eaves, mice, grubs, ants, termites, gophers, but I will throw in another regional one: swallows!

Several years back we lived in San Juan Capistrano a few miles from the Mission where the swallows return to every year.

Swallows have a tendency to choose a home or building that they favor in a given year. And dozens and dozens of pairs of the birds will nest under the eaves of the choice. We had seen it happen to neighbors but were horrified the year it happened to us.

Dawn and dusk the birds swarmed the house building their little dirt houses. Any space under the eaves on all four sides of the house would have a pair building in each and every corner. Watching them swoop in was like being in a Hitchcock movie!

As many know, there are very specific restrictions on what you can and can't do. Once the birds have built enough of a nest to lay an egg, you CANNOT do ANYTHING to remove or damage the nest. And once the nest is complete they are extremely messy. Initially I was out with the hose twice a day keeping them from getting to that state but it was a completely losing battle.

Luckily there are companies that specialize in this who will come out and put up netting to block access to the eave corners. So, several thousands later, house was netted and no more hosing.

The idea of the swallows returning to Capistrano each year sounds nice, but not when it is your house!!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I just stuff the steel wool from the main floor. Mostly its in doorways and along the trim work where there are crevices. This was originally a one room house for a farmhand and then added onto four or five times so there are lots of crevices. I bought a couple of bags of fine steel wool and use a screwdriver to stuff it into the hole or crevice. Remember mice can get through any hole they can squeeze their head through.

Also we have some awesome mousetraps. Its called 'The Better Mouse Trap.' We have one that's a little slower than the others but the rest have a hair trigger on them. Plus no need for peanut butter or anything. We put one outside of their hole in the house and just wait.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:28PM
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I wondered about the Japanese Beetles in the home too. My experience with them is: grubs that live underground & destroy your lawn until they pupate into flying Japanese Beetles that feed on plants & trees. As JB, they lay eggs in your lawn that become grubs & the cycle goes on. Google search & what do you know, they can infest a home also. I dislike them even more.
Mice, we catch those live with those tin mouse houses baited with peanut butter & crackers and a soda bottle top of water (they like water). DH releases them a couple of miles away.
Squirrels in the attic, a raccoon in the attic & a woodpecker drilled a big hole in our mailbox. The squirrels were expensive to get rid of. We have a first floor master BR & didn't hear them. 9 holes in our soffets outside.
No ground hog experience.
Christine, you start the most interesting threads.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:29PM
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Yes, CEFreeman, the DC-variety iridescent beetles are the ones I am referring to ... I grew up in Maryland. We used to set out our watermelon rinds as they would attract the beetles and then we could use them to make our kites. Just show those beetles some thread and they will likely fly off your crape myrtles of their own accord!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:34PM
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I also wanted to add that Japanese Beetles look like ladybugs but they are orange instead of red. They also stink when you squish them even if you barely touch them. You would think we would have lots of spiders with this old, leaky house but not really. Just a plain house spider every now and then. The beetles swarm in the spring and fall when farmers get in the fields. My FIL earned us yo spray the house last fall otherwise we wouldn't be able to see out the windows.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:37PM
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Japanese beetle.
Mouse story. DH & I were cleaning the garage & disturbed a mother mouse who ran out of the garage with 4 or 5 baby mice attached to her belly (nursing?). One fell off. Within about 5 min, she poked her head around the corner, came back into the garage & retrieved him. We found another baby in the nest. She made a second trip back & got him too. I had no idea that mice had "motherly instincts". Not a fan & don't want them in my house.
Christine: what is the smell that mice give off? I swear I can smell when we have a mouse in the basement crawl space. My whole family thinks I am crazy. I can smell lots of things noone else can smell.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 5:28PM
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I flushed several baby mice when I found them in our Christmas decorations, and I think its the urine you can smell.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 5:37PM
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Ugh. Plenty of ants of all sorts and HUGE ENORMOUS palmetto bugs around here (look up Madagascar hissing cockroach if you really want to know, but I don't advise it) , but fortunately mice/rats stay outside and the snakes keep them under control. (I cherish my snakes.)

My only mouse encounter came many years ago when I was renting an apt in building with an interior hallway and people were moving into the apt across the hall. I was worried, because I could smell the mousy smell from their boxes out in the hall, and sure enough…

My front door had about an inch gap at the bottom. It led into a little foyer about 4 x 6 with five doors and the opening to the living room leading off it. That night I saw a mouse and managed to get all the doors closed and chase it into the foyer with the broom, but then we broke down.

It ran madly from side to side, bonking into the doors, then would run back and bonk into me and we would both scream, then into another door and so on. Luckily for me it found the way out again. But it must have been like something from a cartoon while it was going on.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:26PM
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The continuation of this thread has reminded me of things I have apparently "chosen" to forget (until now). It is the (mice) urine you are smelling, I think. We've lived in this house for 34 years now, and we get our share of critters around here-moose being probably the biggest-but mice have been the worst. Years ago, before I was more diligent about the mice problem, I had gone downstairs (daylight basement) to the bedroom across the hall from the unfinished shop. This was my craft/wrapping/realbigmess room. I also had presents i was saving for the next holiday in an old dresser. I was looking for something in a drawer there, and there was this faint but icky smell. There was a woolen scarf and hat (or something like that-see? I've blocked it out) in there and I started to pull it out and it moved! Ack-a mouse nest! I honestly don't remember what I did next-DH was asleep upstairs-but the next thing I remember was being in another room with the whole drawer out and my cats in attendance. I think I just pulled the whole mess of a nest out and put it in a plastic bag and into the trash. I felt bad about doing that, but as everyone has pointed out, disease carrying rodents in my house is unacceptable.

Oh-and thanks for the idea of steel wool in openings. That's a great idea.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Our house in Connecticut was built in 1926 and had round field stones for the foundation in the basement. You could hear the mice in the walls. We even had a nest with babies (squeak, squeak) in the wall behind our headboard. Ugh!!! I started with have-a-heart type traps but quickly got cynical and started killing the little stinkers. Mouse poop in drawers. They'd climb up the brick furnace chimney in the center of the house--ran through the kitchen--and into the drawers. Gross. Finally was able to get them all, but each year when the cold started to set in we'd set out traps.

Then about 6 years ago the stink bugs started. They are horrible. We have them here in Virginia too, but honestly the ones in Connecticut had far worse stink. They are the bane of my spring existence. I keep a plastic container with about an inch of isopropyl alcohol in it. I use the top to flip any stink bugs I see/can get to into the alcohol and pop the top back on. After I've made my rounds inside and out, usually a few times a day when they are really starting up, I just flush it all. No squishing them, no smell. I read about a chemical called Defend CS that you spray on your home exterior to keep them off. They don't like whatever is in it. I bought some, but for whatever reason last year was not nearly as bad as the year before. But I'm ready!!

Great thread, Christine!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:47PM
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Eww my skin is crawling after reading all these posts!

When we moved into this house a year ago, I knew there were mousetraps up in the attic from the home inspection, and that it was treated for termites the previous year.

I discovered a ton of rat droppings in the garage, and sure enough found a dead rat behind a box the previous owners left behind. Got Orkin to get rid of it, and I disinfected the heck out of that space. (Thankfully it was only part of the garage, as the other part was converted into den)

There have been several times when I have heard little feet running around in the attic above my office. The first time my husband was out of town, and I was freaking out. Orkin came by, saw nothing in the attic, but put that steel wool type mesh in some holes they found outside. The last time I heard the same noise, the other Orkin guy just stuck his head up in the attack and declared there was nothing. I made him climb up and sure enough, found 2 dead mice in a trap.

Getting ready to start our kitchen remodel, I am so worried that the cabinets will come out and we'll find something disgusting. Our cats have a habit of staring at one of the cabinet corners, and I am convinced there is something behind there.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Diatomaceous Earth is fantastic. I have not seen one insect this winter after carefully applying food grade DE last fall. I found it while researching effective and safe flee treatment and couldn't be more pleased. We typically have spiders and what we call cricky bugs (look like crickets and jump) all winter. Careful application along with sealing entry points has worked wonders. I plan to extend treatment to the outdoors come spring. It is inexpensive and lasts a long time.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 10:15PM
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Groundhogs. Not in the house thank god, but the barn, the pasture, along the drive. Everywhere. The first time I saw one, the dog was investigating. Just kinda sniffing at it, it reached out and scratched his nose. That was it, one swift shake and the deed was done. I was horrified that my dog killed that creature. That was years ago, and easily 50 groundhogs ago. Jack the dog has taken this infestation seriously. Happy to report no more active holes in the barn! Now if only Jack could do something about the stink bugs!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:03AM
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My entire renovation is due to, you guessed it, mice. I left a window slightly ajar in the basement then went away for a few months. They made themselves at home under and in my cabinets, and in the soffit. I even found acorns up there. ACORNS. Now my kitchen cabinets reek in May, June, July, August, September... you get the picture. And they're stick cabinets, so they fall apart when you even slightly disassemble them. I would be so much happier if I'd never left that blasted window open "just a crack...". My kitchen would be retro, not old and tired. I'd just be replacing some appliances. I'd be thinner, dating, my hair would be perfect.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:22AM
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When I first moved into my townhouse over 17 years ago, I had ants! Any time I opened a box of food, I put it in the refrigerator. All spices went into the refrigerator. I had no pets then, so I sprayed with store bought sprays. Then I never had ants again. I know it is probably not the best idea to keep the spices in the refrigerator and any cookies or crackers or food is put immediately into sealed containers in the refrigerator still as I do not like living with bugs. I still get a spider once in a while that I nicely carry outside in a plastic bag as I hate killing living things. But I do kill mosquitos or biting flying if they happen to come into my home.

Years and year ago, I had mice when I was living at rental room above a soup kitchen in college and the mouse kept biting into my little healthy snack bags I bought with my hard earned college money. I had to stay up all night to hear the mouse and close the metal cabinet door where I kept the food to catch the mouse. The owner of the house did not like it when I brought the cabinet outside to get rid of the mouse. I would not be afraid of the mouse if it is did not carry diseases or could bite me as it had not been brought up as a domestic loving pet. I felt sorry for the mouse and did not want to kill it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:02AM
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" ... Diatomaceous Earth is fantastic."

bbtrix, I agree! I sprinkled some around an enormous ant swarm and a minute later there was not a single ant in sight, anywhere! It was like they just disappeared into thin air. I thought that they were supposed to carry it back to their nests and eat it ... ? It doesn't work when it gets wet, so you have to reapply when using it outdoors.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:15AM
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That smell. ooooo oo that smell (anyone singing with me?) can't'cha smell that smell? ooo oooo that smell? The smell of death surroundssssss me.

We can safely say it's mouse excrement. Oh, God.

I remember my first time in my 2nd floor condominium trying to control ants that were coming up from the very rain-soaked ground below. Cinnamon, they said. Mice hate it. "Just" sprinkle it and it'll be fine.

Have you ever noticed when the word "just" precedes something, either it's a serious Pain in the @SS, dumber than hell, or incredibly difficult? If something were "just" so darned easy, you'd probably have done it by now! Don't get me started on the word "should."

Anyway, I "just" sprinkled cinnamon in the window sill and sure 'nuff, shortly thereafter the ants were gone. Until I turned around to find the cat food writhing with ants and the cats just sitting there watching. Well, lo and behold. The ants JUST Went AROUND THE CINNAMON, up and along the underside of a shelf, directly to their new food source. That was the end of "humane" treatments for me.

Boric acid bought in a dry squirt bottle at the dollar store does the trick. It's harmless to humans and pets, (Edited to add: in the small dusting you'd need to kill bugs under things like sinks, in outlets, etc.) but bugs including ants and roaches carry it back to their lairs on their legs. Although I would revel in the details as to how it kilss them, (preferably with great agony) I can't remember the how it works. But, dead they are very very shortly. You lightly dust/squirt it so their ant trails go through it.

Ground hogs laugh at me. Moles. Ha. Voles (actually field mice) are the bane of my gardens. And, get this. I have FIVE CATS. They stare at a particular cupboard. They watch moles bump up the ground as they dig through the dirt. Yes, with heads tilted sideways, they watch....

Stink bugs I bat out of the house with a broom. Of course, in the fall when they come through the holes in my bedroom ceiling looking for warmth, I about lose my mind. I turn on a night light so it's warmer than my head. Then they leave me alone until next time. I forbid my Multi-Purpose Fred to smash them on the walls no matter how much he hates them. After all, he's the one who's going to have to clean that off to paint!

Ok. Off to create some poisonous garlands and force pieces into the front of my house. I'm fairly confident that under my siding, the floor and wall plates are not sealed shut. The freezing cold is a pretty good indicator.

Wish me luck. I'm a'going in.

This post was edited by CEFreeman on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 12:41

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:36AM
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>. It's harmless to humans and pets

Uh, well, not exactly. It can be toxic to cats, although they have to consume a fair amount of it. I'd try to find places they don't want to go for sprinkling it around.

EDIT When I used to have a pest service, they would puff it into the space around the electrical and phone outlets, since it's most effective inside the walls and away from pets there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell on what's toxic to cats.

This post was edited by writersblock on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 12:05

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:03PM
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We are dealing with silverfish due to bathrooms being super hard to ventilate. Ugh.

Diatomaceous earth is cheap, non-toxic, and wonderful for dealing with crawlers.

And clothing moths! Driving me nuts! The last time I finally tracked them down to feathers in the craft bin, for heaven's sake!! That look a while to figure out.

This post was edited by feisty68 on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 12:12

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:11PM
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feisty, how to apply the Diatomaceous earth indoors? Around the baseboards?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Why did I open this thread??

*itch scratch twitch*

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 2:30PM
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Just vacuumed up about a quart of these Asian Lady Beetles out of my showroom. The building just attracts them somehow.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:27PM
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I don't have any current infestations (that I'm aware of -- knockonwood!), but we just moved to this house in a semi-urban/suburban setting with lots of trees, and there are SQUIRRELS everywhere! It wouldn't be so bad, except they are the FATTEST squirrels in the world, and they run across all the rooftops. It sounds like Santa's reindeer have landed on the roof. Every. Morning. It was kind of funny at first, but now my dogs have learned it's the squirrels, so they get antsy every time it happens now. Not cool, squirrels. Not cool.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:42PM
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My undergraduate university had an arboretum on campus so you can imagine the number of squirrels. I saw a giant squitrel leaning up against a tree eating a big cookie with cream filling. I'm pretty sure that guy just lived on the ground.

The squirrels were also very aggressive and would try to sneak up on me and try to chew on my leather sandals.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:56PM
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FATTEST squirrels....Santa's reindeer....tea snorted all over keyboard..............

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:07PM
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If you are putting out poison for mice, just remember that if the mice then go staggering out of your house and are caught by a predator (say, your next door neighbor's cat) the cat is a goner. The vitamin K in the mouse poison will cause the cat to bleed out internally. Like a massive overdose of Coumadin. It is a godawful, painful death for both mice and cats. Also, poisoned mice are a lot more apt to crawl up into your walls and die. A snap-trap seems awful but in a lot of ways, it's cleaner and quicker.

romy718, I know that smell! I smell everything. A single mold spore, I swear, and I can smell it. The dh is constantly laughing at me.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:43PM
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Jelly toast, application of DE depends on what you are treating. I started in my lowest level (basement) and puffed it around the entire perimeter, doors, and windows as a preventative to all insects attempting to enter my domain. Be sure to poof any point of entry or cracks. I only treated the levels of my home that abut earth; the upper levels were not dusted. You can purchase a duster on Amazon, but I tried a few homemade devices. I used a plastic reclosable water bottle as it's pretty good around the baseboards though I wish it were a finer poof. I also made a shaker out of a Pringles can for larger areas. My cat had fleas and I dusted our family room carpet. Be sure to purchase food grade DE and wear a good mask or respirator when dusting. Keep critters (and humans) out of the areas being dusted until you're satisfied the dust is well settled - we waited 8 hours. You do not want to inhale the dust. Also, be careful if you plan to vacuum as it will put it back in the air and can ruin your vacuum. This stuff takes care of difficult to treat infestations like silver fish, bedbugs, and fleas. It's a good idea to read up on it. I am thrilled to have no creepy crawlies this winter!

Here is a link that might be useful: Diatomaceous Earth

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 12:36AM
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Scorpions! In the pool, in the house, on the walls, and on the floor. I know they can crawl anywhere, but I try not to think about them being in the bedding. I shake out shoes before putting them on. I never go without shoes in my house. This winter we haven't seen any live ones crawling around but I know they are there because we find them dead.

Snakes-so far only outside. Pygmy rattlesnakes, other rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins...I hate them all. They are all cobras!

Canadian geese- used to be so nice to see when they winter here. I got over that quickly. They poop on everything. They come on our porch and by the garage door. They make nests and run us off our dock walkway. They drive our dogs crazy. Too bad they don't eat scorpions.

Raccoons and beaver frequently kill fish and leave the bones and scales on the dock for us to clean off. The beaver will swim right underneath us when we are on the walkway to the dock. He/she is fearless. We don't like raccoons on the dock because they can destroy anything within minutes. Life vests, boat seats, etc.

Deer-everywhere. They are not afraid and we get to see twin fawns sometimes. They do drive my outside dogs crazy though. I never see them but the dogs can tell they have been by our cars.

My basic rule is that the house is mine so anything that gets inside gets terminated. I tried to threaten them and told them to go back and tell the others to get out and not come back. You know, the humane way.... it didn't work. They are fair game in my house. Outside is another story and they are left alone. Unless the scorpions are swimming when I want to swim or the spiders are on a chair I want to sit on, then I leave them alone.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 4:22AM
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I just posted over in the Kitchen Table Forum about how stink bugs are driving me crazy.

They don't really "do" anything they just somehow get into the house and "hangout". Walking along a window, sitting motionless on the wall for days, just going wherever they please without fear, because nobody wants to squash them.

You have to watch where you are walking because they walk slowly across the floor, and it you step on one the room will stink. You have to look carefully when you set something on the kitchen counter, which because it is tropical brown granite is prefect camouflage for them. I've discovered them clinging to the bottom of the wire rack in the kitchen sink when I've drained pasta, when the boiling water hits them them fill them room with their stink. I've found one just hanging out on the handle of the refrigerator. I've had one crawl inside the smoke detector and set it off. And at one point my wife grabbed a raincoat from the hook inside the front door, put it on and discovered 50 or so of them hiding inside the coat.

But some of your posts here reminded me of another "pest". Several times we've seen a large black snake in the yard, near the house, and that is startling when you come across him, but I'm OK with that. However one time after my wife saw him near the hose faucet outside when she was turning on the water to fill the horse trough. She returned to turn the water off a few minutes later, and saw the last 2 inches of his tail disappearing up behind the wood siding on the house.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Peke, I like the way you think. I just could not deal with scorpions. I remember my dad warning us to shake out our shoes and clothes when we drove out to see my grandparents in San Bernadino CA. Yikes.

This could easily go into "When Animals Attack" like those great Killer Bee movies on network tv. Man I love those.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:35PM
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LOL@ Peke. I live in Phoenix and we have scorpions also, and lots of other poisonous critters. I used to live 5 miles away in a more urban area. I never saw much except a rare roach in the summer and an occasional gecko. Oh yes...and this guy/gal...they had fox puppies in the gutter and would sit on my front porch in the shade while watching the gutter/den. One year they had 9 puppies!

Then I moved to an area that had larger lots and is on the side of a mtn. There are washes running through the property and lots of areas for animals to hang out. Right away I started seeing javelinas, coyotes and great horned owls. The house was abandoned for over 10 yrs and I had to gut it to the studs. I was horrified my first night in the house to hear something running along the ceiling. It turned out to be a roof rat/fruit rat that was dropping into the house through a drywall hole in the ceiling where a shower was being placed. He stole the treats from my two parrots dishes every night (luckily they sleep in night cages near the master bedroom). I finally caught the guy (after he outsmarted me several times) and took him to the desert near a canal and let him go. He does look well fed. They are a problem in my area. They eat the fruit that falls from the trees but are happy to move into homes if given the opportunity.

Since then, I have found 3 scorpions in the house, so I am averaging about 1 a year, which I dont think is too bad for this area. I have also found a couple centipedes, which are HUGE. They cannot run on the slick floor and run in place. By the time I find them, they are exhausted. I let them go outside. They are poisonous and I hate finding them. Killing them would make a mess, and to be honest, I think they play a part in the environment OUTSIDE. All scorpions get killed. I HATE THEM. My grandmother's house was infested with them and I was stung while visiting.

I found these in my new pool shortly after I installed it:

I try to let spiders go, but sometimes I kill those that look poisonous. Wolf spiders I try to let go. Sun "scorpions" I leave alone (if small) or let go. This spider was very aggressive. Can you see the huge fangs on it? I dont know what it was, but it scared me (maybe a desert recluse?).

Geckos I try to take outside as they tend to die in the house. I dont think there is enough food for them. I have one LARGE gecko who has been in the house since I moved in. I see her hunting at night around the house in the summer. I havent seen her for a couple mos. now and there is really not a lot of insects to feed her, so I hope she is okay. I would take her outside if I could catch her. Last summer, she lived for awhile under a lounge chair. I tried to feed her mealworms, but they were too big for her, plus I think I spooked her by always checking on her during the day. Every now and then I find her droppings, so I have hope she is still alive.

I came home to find this bird (peacock) on my patio one night. Thinking it was a girl, I named her Ernestine. I fed her and did my best to take care of her while trying to find her owner. She learned to come when I called her. I worried constantly about the coyotes getting her at night. I used to go to petsmart almost every night on the way home to buy her mealworms. I finally got smart and bought a huge bag of freeze dried ones at a feedstore. She lived outside, but would follow me from room to room through the glass. I was getting ready to have a habitat built for her when I found her owner. Turned out Ernestine was a young male. Ernestine taking a tour of the house (very well behaved):

I found this little guy on my patio last fall after a huge rainstorm. He was stuck and could not get any traction on the concrete. I brought him in to take pics and then let him go in the dirt. I thought he was so cute and beautiful. Look how tiny he is!

Lastly, I found two whip scorpions in the house. I am ashamed to say, that I ignorantly killed one. When I learned that they are harmless and rare, I did feel bad. The second one I let go. They are very interesting creatures, with VERY long tentacles that they hold away from their body.

I tend to find things in the summer. I think they are coming in to get water. I also think they are sneaking in under a gap under my 6 foot pivot door. I am working on getting a 6 foot long "snake" to fill the gap.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 3:19PM
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This is southwestern indiana and would you believe we have been living with brown recluse spiders in our house for at least ten years, never been bitten, knock on wood. We have been told by various exterminators that it is impossible to get rid of them completely. Actually, we stopped using exterminators and started using insect sticky traps In our house and I rarely see one now, just a few baby ones in the traps. I stay vigilant though-no dust ruffles that touch the floor, never leaving clothes on the floor, etc.

I truly believe most people around here have them in their homes but they just don't recognize what they are. I have seen them at our church while cleaning, one or two in dressing rooms at dept stores (dead ones), even when I worked at the local hospital. Very common here and in many southern states. All you have to do is google it, and you will see many pics to help you recognize them.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 4:11PM
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Bec1977, somewhere I read that a lot of people have numerous recluses in their homes and the humans and spiders happily cohabitate. I read about one home where there were thousands of them, but the family had never been bitten. I have scorpions in my part of the country, and I do as you do...keep covers off the floor, etc. My friend woke up one day to find a scorpion on her stomach in bed!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:19PM
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My grandma raised peacocks, and we would chase them around so the male would drop their feathers. Birds drop feathers or moult when they get scared. Eh. Kids.

My sister was bitten by a recluse. They doctors thought it was a recluse anyway because she had a huge bruise around the spider bite, lots of pain, and flu like symptoms. She was living in an apartment in Kansas City and thinks it happened when she was sleeping.

Ive read from university websites about recluse spiders, and it seems people mistake similar spider for a Brown Recluse because they are poisonous. Well I've seen a couple, and they're big but do try to stay hidden. So if you get a bruise and get sick check for a spider bite kids.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:47PM
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Rockybird, I hope the people who bought your home didn't freak when the foxes came back to litter. That would have been so, so sad! That really was a gorgeous fox.
You really have a menagerie where you live. Always interesting!

I came back to report a small success. I hung garlands of mouse poison from wires, as suggested. The one in my oven drawer was gone in a week. There's a hole in the floor directly under the oven.

One of the ones in the garage is 1/2 gone. The other still there. I put one in the future closet in the front of the house where I'm hearing them in the bedroom walls. They haven't touched It, but I haven't figured out how to get the poison into the walls yet.

So somewhere, in my garage or home, I have fewer mice. At least less poison...

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 5:24PM
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I was varmint-free when this thread started - but have since found mouse poo in my kitchen! Not in food locations, luckily.

I've caught 2 so far, and haven't seen any evidence since the last one went to that big mouse hole in the sky, so we might be good. If this snow ever melts, we'll do a thorough inspection of the foundation to see where they're coming in.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Snow, snow, lots of snow. Thank GOD for SNOW!!!!!

I love snow. The bugs on here are practically making me hyperventilate. Very thankful to live in an area where it gets good and cold enough to keep most of these critters far, far away.

Glad to hear your garlands of death seem to be working, Christine. : )

Our cats are excellent hunters, but leave the poisoned animals alone. Won't touch 'em.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 6:18PM
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