The Exterminator

The weather report for today called for a 100% chance of rain. I was going to call the exterminator after breakfast, but he called first. He said he’d come today. Yay!

His name is Steve Pluff. He’s native to Door County and his roots go back several generations.
This was his truck loaded with exterminating stuff.

The first thing he did was an inspection. I took him into the house and he asked where I’d seen evidence of the mice. I said, “Everywhere!” I started showing him around and pointing at various sitings around the house. Then he walked around the outside of the house looking for holes. Finally, he went under the house. He said that mice have oily bellies, and he found a place in the crawl space where he could see a lot of mouse grease, I guess. He put poison cakes there and somewhere else below. Steve pointed out to Mark a couple of basement vents that have holes big enough for mice to get in, and he cut some screening to put over the vents for now. Mark needs to get some gray foam to seal them up completely. Apparently they used to think they needed to build vents into basements, but they don’t do that anymore.

Next, Steve showed me an invention he made.

This is a couple of PVC tubes with a cap on the top. Inside the verticle part, he hung a wire with all different flavors of poison cakes. When I told Mom about it, she said it was gourmet poison!
On each end of the horizontal pipe, he put a couple of wires big enough for a mouse to come through, but no larger animals. He learned to do this because squirrels were eating the poison and raccoons were able to reach in and grab some poison. This way, only the intended victims get the poison cakes.

When he was about to leave, I asked if he can get rid of ants in a yard and he asked me how much of a problem it is. I told him that the ants have taken over our back yard. He told me to give him a call. I might just do that after we recover from this. The mice aren’t gone yet, but he set a couple of traps in the house and told me to check them every morning. Once the traps slow down on catching mice, we’re supposed to put a piece of cardboard out with peanut butter on it. If there’s no evidence that it’s been touched the next day, our problem is over and we can move back in. If the peanut butter has been eaten, we are to call Steve again.

After he left, Mark and I pulled the living room apart. He cleared off his desk and found mouse droppings on it. We cleared everything we could off the floor and found droppings and acorn shells.

Empty acorn shells

We pulled the couch and the two end tables away from the wall and found droppings and shells under there. We decided to pull the hide-a-bed out on that couch, and the mattress in there was so disgusting that we had to take it out off the couch and carefully try to get it out the door without dropping too much on the floor. It’s a good thing I had had a cover over the top of the couch all winter. That couch is one my mother gave us and I would not have wanted to get rid of it like we did the one in the guest room.

This is the hide-a-bed the previous owner left for us. It has been in my sewing room the whole time for just such an occasion as my mother’s visit last fall.

I vacuumed the whole carpet and would have used our carpet cleaning machine as well, but the stores didn’t have any of the carpet cleaning detergent. Mark will look for some when he heads down to Green Bay on Saturday.

So far, it’s mostly been the floors and the furniture I’ve been dealing with. I still have countertops and our window seat to clean off. There are droppings and signs of pee all over them. I did clean off the bookshelves in our living room. While I’ve been doing all this, I’ve also taken down cobwebs all over the house. Hopefully, by the time this little disaster is over, the house will be cleaner than it’s been since we started accumulating stuff. There’s nothing like a mouse infestation to motivate one to clean and sanitize!

By the by, I had to go into the post office today, and Jayne, our postmistress, was telling me that she’d heard on the news this morning that in Wisconsin, cases of the coronavirus spiked after Memorial Day weekend. I know that people are getting tired of being isolated, but it’s not time yet to be in group settings. We are all impatient for this to end, but like our mouse situation, you need to let the virus die before you try to get back to normal. Please take care, people!

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