How do I get rid of mousie?
June 2, 2014 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Pestfilter -- Intermittent mouse smell coming from behind impossible-to-block-off radiator -- with bonus bug problem!

About a month ago I decided to take measures heading off a strange bug problem (they appear to be roaches of some sort, ranging in size from sesame seed to large pine nut) by cleaning out the area under my sink, which connects to a radiator which weirdly sticks out in my kitchen. To my horror I found that a lil mousie had made his way through a hole and was living, peeing, and shitting under my sink, presumably eating old sponges and bits of cardboard as there was ZERO food down there. The smell was overpowering, but I scrubbed and scrubbed and plugged the hole with steel wool and blocked off the rad unit and hoped mousie would go away, and for the most part, he did.

However, the smell lingers. A musty musky mousie smell, not urine but like warm wet hay and live animal. It's supremely disconcerting, especially given the fact that it comes and goes seemingly at random. I haven't been able to pinpoint a time of day or circumstance that brings the smell out, but it will at times vanish and at others be completely overpowering, making the kitchen impossible to be at all comfortable in.

I've laid down some traps, which have done nothing. My two cats, while fairly decent mousers, have all but given up interest as mousie doesn't come near their reach. I'm wary of rat poison, because I suspect live mousie smell is better than dead mousie.

Oh, to make things a lil more complicated, the back of the radiator looks to be inaccessible broken boards. Directly under me, a Chinese restaurant that looks to have fallen on hard times!

Aaaaand a bonus -- the weird roachie things persist. I've tried to keep the cat food where they can't get it, so there's no food in their reach in the kitchen. The tiles were just relaid a week ago so the only place they could be coming from is this same radiator space.

The only thing I can really think of at this point is filling the space entirely. Perhaps with that expandable foam insulation stuff? The radiator would have to be decommissioned, if that's a thing, so it doesn't heat up (i'm willing to have a cold kitchen in the winter). Patching all the holes in the rad with steel wool would be impossible, especially right now, and I want to completely patch off the holes at the back.

Do those plug-in sonic mouse repeller things work at all?

Does anyone have any not-horrible-smelling-or-too-noxious roach recommendations either?
posted by custard heart to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
When I had my garden center, the main point of operations was a small was a mouse magnet.

The one thing I tried, that worked, was cleaning the hell out of the shed every few months, then sprinkling peppermint oil all along the 'baseboards'.

Now, you have cats, so the essential oils are a bit of an issue...but I think if you are judicious in the use of them, it may help.
posted by PlantGoddess at 7:09 PM on June 2, 2014

To answer one of your questions, we found the plug-in sonic mouse repellers totally useless. Sorry can't be of more help. That mouse smell is pervasive and while it does fade eventually, IME this takes years.
posted by glasseyes at 2:30 AM on June 3, 2014

Are you renting or the owner?

As far as your bug problem goes, one thing you can try, which I might even do if I were renting to save myself the headache, is to get expanding foam (spray foam, "great stuff", etc) and silicone caulk and caulk/foam up all the openings I could find, especially that hole by the radiator. Take off faceplates to electric boxes, check behind your stove, etc, and seal up all penetrations (where pipes/boxes go through a wall/floor surface). Look at your ceiling as well.

You may be able to get a piece of sheet metal and slide that between the radiator and broken boards, then just seal around the edges of the metal sheet instead of having to decommission the whole radiator.

Could you post a picture of the radiator area? Imgur is handy for that.

I've had good luck with the insecticides available at Do My Own Pest Control and they have a lot of information available even if you don't buy from them. For my house, I used an insect growth regulator (IGR) and insecticide to eradicate pretty much all insect life for most of a year with one application. They're safe for vertebrates once dry. You have less control, given the downstairs restaurant, but may well be able to reduce or eliminate them from your dwelling.
posted by bookdragoness at 4:52 AM on June 3, 2014

Does "fallen on hard times" mean closed? Most likely the pest stuff is originating there. Get your landlord to take care of it.
posted by brujita at 5:50 AM on June 3, 2014

Response by poster: I'm renting. My landlord is responsive but only does what I specifically ask.

The smell is coming from behind the rad and under the sink -- the mouse can't get out into the kitchen, but the smell can -- but this means essential oils and poisons can be laid down around the mouse but where the cats won't get at it.

the restaurant is still open but a notice was posted on their door about their unpaid gas bill -- i suspect they've cut back on certain luxuries, like pest control.

Picture of the whole mess here
posted by custard heart at 8:01 AM on June 3, 2014

As mice can chew through plain spray foam but do not like the feeling of the steel wool on their whiskers, the most effective way to apply the foam is a combination of foam and steel wool at the same time. Messy, but 100% effective.
posted by lstanley at 8:09 AM on June 3, 2014

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