LESLIE: Mackie in Jamestown, California, what’s going on at your Money Pit?
MACKIE: Well, too much that I don’t like. (chuckling) Like the mice and rats.
TOM: Mice and rats. Not good.
MACKIE: Not good at all. Fortunately, a handyman was here when I turned the dishwasher on. He was in the bathroom doing – fixing – working on my fixtures and I had the dishwasher going. And the dishwasher flooded all over the floor. And I screamed. He came and pulled it out and the mice had chewed the back of it where …
MACKIE: … the water – that rubber thing in the back of the dishwasher.
TOM: Oh, man. Hmm. That could actually be dangerous. They can chew electrical wiring and cause shorts.
Alright, here’s what you need to do. First of all, you need to eliminate any areas around the outside of your house that could be considered a nesting area for mice or rats.
LESLIE: Piles of wood for a fireplace.
TOM: Garbage cans.
LESLIE: Get the garbage cans away. Make sure they are lined and covered at all times. Don’t leave piles of foliage or branches; anything that they want to burrow in.
TOM: Secondly, inside the house make sure all of your food storage is in secure like metal cans; especially things, like for example, dog food.
LESLIE: Canisters that close up.
TOM: We find mice and rats will chew through, you know, animal food bags all the time. So make sure that’s all sealed up.
LESLIE: And even at night. Don’t leave your pet’s food out overnight. Pick it up, dump it out, put it back; whatever you want to do with it but don’t leave it sitting there overnight. And wash the dishes.
TOM: The next thing you want to do is get a rodenticide and put it in the areas where the mice are. Now the rodenticides are poisons that the mice will eat and then have a heart attack and die. And they’re very effective. They’re very efficient. If you have pets, you need to make sure that you put the rodenticides inside a pet-proof container. They have special like bait stations where the mice can get in and the rats can get in but the pets cannot get in. They’re lockable. So that’s one thing you want to be careful of if you have pets.
The other thing that you could do is set traps, but many people don’t like to see the mice when they get caught in the trap. And so, that’s why the rodenticide is very effective. We’ve had mice here at my house from time to time over the years and when they start to come back I just head down to the crawl space in the basement and the areas behind the kitchen counters and places like that and throw some bait packets in there and then they just disappear. I never see them again.
LESLIE: You’ve really got to look for places where they’re getting in. So pull out everything under the sink. Look back there. Even the tiniest opening around a pipe they can fit through. So fill them up with steel wool. Can they chew through Great Stuff or no?
TOM: Yes. Definitely. Foam? Sure.
LESLIE: So …
TOM: But if you put some steel wool in with the Great Stuff it’d be OK. And that’s the expandable foam insulation.
LESLIE: So really fill up everything. If it’s an opening that – even if it seems too small, fill it anyway. It’s better safe than sorry. Look at cracks where the floor meets the wall. Any sort of unusual space – whether it’s flat, round, small, big – they’re coming in through it. So just fill them up.
TOM: You know, Mackie, a mouse only needs the size of like the circumference of a dime is all the size that a mouse needs to get into your house. So look for those really, really tiny holes and fill them up.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.