Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Unwanted Guests

Last spring we had what we thought was a really random incident. I had a virus and stayed home sick. Our dog sky was being a pain and thought it would be fun to play a game of see how many times I can get Melissa off the couch. He'd bark to go out, but as soon as I shut the door, he'd bark again until I'd give him a treat to come in. We played this game (his favorite game) for a few rounds before I decided to leave our back door open. He never realized he could still bark. I felt like I won and went back to the couch to take a nap for a few hours.

The next day, I was home sick again. I was feeling well enough to work from home for a bit, so I was working on the computer in our study. I started hearing the food in our cat, Midnight's bowl rattle around. I didn't think anything of it until she pranced in the room while I heard the sound. I turned around, but nothing was there. I thought I must have misheard it, until this hap pend again three more times. At this point, I thought I was crazy. Until the fourth time when I turned around and saw a little rodent scurrying to the corner underneath the base board heating pipes. I screamed, ran out the room and started yelling to sky to go get it. He looked at me like I was crazy.

I called Jim to tell him about it so he could come up with a plan to get rid of it when he got home. I described it and said he had a nubby little tail, to which Jim responded mice have long tails. I told him it definitely didn't have a long tail. He was skeptical until he ended up catching it later that night. At that point we realized we had a mole in our house, which apparently is extremely rare. We googled photos and it seems to be that it's a mole. We also have holes/tunnels they've dug in our yard, so between the no tail, holes and his little snout, we think we've figured it out. We chalked it up to me leaving the door open for a few hours the day before. End of story.....or so we thought.

A few months had passed when I started hearing a noise in the same corner I had seen the previous mole run into. I apparently have good mole listening skills because Jim could never hear it when I did. Again, I felt a little crazy. Then one day while we were watching a movie in the living room, I heard it. I jumped up and saw it scurry into the corner that has a whole for heating pipes between the living area and office. Luckily Jim saw it, too.

We knew there had to be a way it was getting in, but we couldn't figure out where. We looked around the exterior of the house and couldn't see a way. We knew it was time to call in the professionals. We used service magic to find a few professionals in the area. We've had great luck with vendors we've used through them in the past. This time though we never received a follow up phone call form any professional, which was weird because normally we receive phone calls from multiple vendors in the first hour. After a day or two of no response, we started calling other pest control services. Each time we were told that they don't do mole control in homes because moles don't go into homes. If we had a mole issue outside, they could help us. They then went through the "are you sure it isn't mice?" where I'd have to confirm we've seen at least two moles in our home and had caught one.

After 5 calls with no luck, I received a follow up from a service magic rep. I let her know we never received any calls. Within about half an hour, two vendors reached out to us. The first said they don't do moles, the second said he had a lot of experience with moles outside the home, but found it hard to believe they'd be coming in a house. However, he was willing to give it a try!

We were pretty relieved. A pest control guy came out within that week and found a few small holes that he thought could be the issue.  He put out some baits and gave us a few tips like not putting bushes so close to the house. He also recommended using rocks near the house instead of mulch, as mulch can be inviting for termites.

We thought we were in the clear until the next weekend when I heard it again. I was home alone and heard something in the walls, but not near the same location. Previously he/they were near the right side of the wall and coming into the house, now he was on the opposite side of our entrance door and while he couldn't get into the interior of the house, it sounded like he was digging to get into the wall between the interior and exterior. I banged on the wall and scared him away.

Pest control came back a second time and found a few more holes that were overlooked and filled them in. Again, we hoped they figured it out and we'd be in the clear. About a week or two later, I was home alone (again- apparently the mole is more scared of Jim) and I heard the same scraping noise in the same spot. We realized there was a pattern. Every time he tried to get in the house (or succeeded) it was raining.

Awhile back my dad had mentioned that our front step slants and we should remove it. He said if we didn't it would rot out the door frame. I remembered this comment and asked Jim to check under the kick plate. Once he pulled it off, he saw that the wood had completely rotted and we were completely sure at this point we found the issue. The pest control guy came back a third time to add this filler that keeps moles/rodents away. It's a temporary fix until we get the whole door frame removed and upgraded.

The past few weeks have been pretty long and stressful to say the least. I thought the little guy was damaging our house and no clue how he was doing it or how to stop him. I've been reluctant to write this post because every time I think we've got it figured out, he's back. He' the unwelcome house guest that can't take a hint! However, now that we're working on getting a new door and frame, my fingers are crossed that this will be the last of him.

What's the craziest thing you've come across as home owners/renters?


  1. Oh no! That sounds like a nightmare! I'm sorry you're dealing with that. That is so odd they are getting in the house though, how upsetting nobody wanted to help you! Hopefully the door frame was the issue and you won't be seeing any more rodents!

    We haven't come across anything like that, but we do struggle with spiders and roaches. We have an older home too and unfortunately, that just comes with the territory. We are going to be filling in our flower bed in the front of our house soon, I never thought to use rocks instead of mulch. That makes sense though! I'll look into it!

  2. I'm so sorry you had to go through this! I would have been really frustrated, too, with the back and forth, and not being about to fully resolve the problem immediately. I guess that's par for the course with owning a home. Hopefully a new frame will get rid of them completely! I had mice in an apartment I lived in, in Richmond, but it was a rental so the landlord had to do most of the legwork in getting the problem fixed. It was still a pain, though! It's never fun to share your space with critters! Fingers crossed for you that it's all coming to an end soon!