Mice don't pay rent, so they can't live here any more.
September 7, 2008 12:44 PM   Subscribe

How do I choose an exterminator who will make this episode of Tom and Jerry end once and for all?

The brownstone I live in is infested with mice, and our exterminator up to this point has been unhelpful. They spray and leave bait (the kind in those plastic packets), and the mice run around our home like it is a playground.

My landlady has given me free rein in choosing a new pest control company, and I'm wondering what questions I should ask regarding the strategies and chemicals the companies use.

Note: No one in this house owns a pet or has small children. At this point, all the tenants are at their wits' end and would be happy to cooperate with a good pest control expert, even if he asked us to stand on our heads for three days straight -- as long as we knew it would put an end to the reign of the mice.

Another note: We're not into glue traps or other slow torture devices. In fact, we're all of us pretty squeamish.
posted by brina to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I train exterminators, and some things that I think differentiate companies are:
1. What is their initial equipment setup like? Are they going to do a mass trapping and then follow-up in a day? A few days?
2. Will they repair any structural defects that are allowing the infestation to continue? Or will they punt that to the landlady?
3. What kind of access do they need? At what times? In which spaces?
4. Do they strictly do residential work?
5. Do they communicate clearly about what you (the tenant) should expect?
6. Do they agree with you on what consists of a "tolerable" level of activity?
7. Will they address outdoor conditions as well as those indoors?
8. How and when can you reach them with a problem?

These are just a few off the top of my head. Feel free to memail me if you have other questions.
posted by Coffeemate at 1:09 PM on September 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

The one I used earlier this year employed fancy snap traps, and they worked really well. He put them in the problem spots, and I was able to call him weekly so that he could come empty them. I specified when I called that I didn't want them to use glue traps. The one I ended up choosing was okay with that. Some of them told me that it would be up to the exterminator. I avoided those places.

My problem was finding companies that would do short-term contracts. Most of them required a year-long contract. The one I picked was the only one in the area that would do a month-long contract.

Another thing I learned is that they're not insured to go up onto the roof -- which is where my rats were getting in. I had to do the rooftop exclusion myself, though I supposed I could have called a handyman.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:02 PM on September 7, 2008

There are two steps to getting rid of mice:

1. Sealing up the house so more can't get in
2. Catching the ones already there

The finding and sealing up/blocking all the potential entry places is a big job, and without it you will just keeping having problems forever. I would recommend finding someone who emphasizes that over the trapping.
posted by cali at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2008

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