I loathe rodents. They are twitchy, dirty, and disgusting.
Our neighborhood, Sunset Park, is notoriously mice-infested. Lovely, I know. Our mice problem is three-fold:
- Our landlords do not maintain their property. It is an old property in a mice-infested neighborhood and it’s riddled with holes.
- Mice enter from the environment. Since there are so many mice in the neighborhood, they come into the house using exterior holes that we don’t know about.
- There are already mice living in the house. For every mouse you see, there are probably 20 that you can’t. So, since I’ve seen 3, we have a big problem.
Me and the mice in our apartment have an unspoken grudge against each other and try to one up the other every chance we get. I am vigilant of mouse holes to the point of paranoia; the mice only reveal themselves to me – seriously. I was sitting in the kitchen one day while tía Kim and ST were at work. All of a sudden, this little gray guy runs from the living room, under the fridge, and along the kitchen cabinets to get to his hiding place.
After freaking out perched on a stool for 3 minutes, I realized this was war.
My first plan of action was to call the exterminator again since we have a 2 year guarantee with him. He came and did his thing. We found that the mice had chewed through the white foam he used initially. Mice eat everything. This time, he went over everything with caulk.
The next night as I’m getting a glass of water alone in the kitchen, I SEE ANOTHER ONE. Oh, HELL NO. You will not play me again, mice. I immediately texted the exterminator but he told us a bunch of excuses why he can’t come until next week. Perfect.
So, I checked the patched holes and found that those pests have been busy undoing all our work.
I did some research on the web and formed a plan of action:
- We can’t just set traps. Since we have a serious infestation with unlimited access outside the house for mice to enter, simply setting traps is like putting a bandage on a gaping, infected wound. We need to come at this problem with both traps and by patching holes.
- Mice eat white foam. These nasty, highly-adaptive creatures seem to actually like eating expanding white foam, which is what our exterminator used. What is recommended is triple expanding yellow foam.
- Steel wool doesn’t work. Our exterminator plugged up holes with steel wool. This was obviously ineffective. Rocks and pieces of glass are recommended to deter mice from coming back to their holes.
We went to Lowe’s for some heavy-duty anti-mouse supplies. Based on what our exterminator used and my own research, this is what we got:
Here’s our arsenal all ready to go:
First, ST assessed the situation and found out that the hole was actually bigger than it seemed. He peeled away the old patch and began on a new one.
Side note: It was hard to get a good picture using the ol’ iPhone under ST’s armpit.
Once the old patch was peeled away, ST shoved a chunk of mouse poison into the hole using a broomstick. Then, he stuck the nozzle of Great Stuff’s Big Gap Filler into the hole and went to town spraying. He literally sprayed for 5-7 minutes.
Then, ST began shoving marble chips into the hole with a broomstick. High-tech, I know. He stuck the chips into the hole until it was midway full.
Then, he sprayed the foam again. After that, he cut a piece of drywall patch and stuck it over the hole. Side note: I wouldn’t recommend this brand of drywall patch because one side wouldn’t stay down even after ST Gorilla-taped it.
Finally, he covered the whole thing with ready-mixed concrete.
Let’s see you chew through that.
Next, we moved onto the stove. Pretty, huh? I estimate that’s about 5 years of not cleaning, ever.
Nothing looked amiss here so we sprayed some more Great Stuff for good measure and I crumbled some mouse poison and tossed it everywhere.
Our last stop was the cabinet under the sink. This spot has been the bane of my existence. It’s grimy, smelly, and no doubt the source of several hidey-holes. I cleared everything out and we began to simply toss marble chips into the space between the wall and the cabinet until we filled it up.
Side note: The previous “mouse control” was a piece of left over laminate countertop that was propped against the wall. Very efficient.
After filling the space with rocks, I went to town with the spray foam.
And that’s that. The whole ordeal took about 2 hours. ST promptly took a nice long nap afterwards.
My plan is to set traps in all the other parts of the apartment while we’re in Hawaii next week. I’ve never seen any evidence of mice in any other part of the house but I need to know.
We could have saved a lot of effort and money by scheduling an appointment with our exterminator or even complaining to our landlords. The problem with that is, we would had to wait days if not weeks for them to respond and even then it would’ve been a half-ass effort.
Basically, you just can’t care enough unless you actually live in the place. I need to totally make this place mouse-proof for two reasons 1) my own sanity and 2) in case you arrive earlier than planned.
Will it work? Only time will tell.
Side note: Hipsters are welcome to hunt mice in my apartment and use them for their taxidermy classes.