If you have mice causing damage in your attic (or anywhere else in your home) getting help from professionals is a foregone conclusion. Putting down some traps or throwing some poison in the attic is not going to cut it. It's time to get rid of them permanently.
Below we are going to go over the story of a family who noticed some noises and saw evidence of mice presence but delayed dealing with the problem. They thought it could wait until spring, I'll spare you the suspense; not a good idea.
We were called to a home in Oakville, Ontario to do a wildlife inspection as the homeowner was hearing scratching noises coming from the attic. Their child had also mentioned that the flights would occasionally flicker in his room.
We advised the prospective customer that we found evidence of mice presence, damage to insulation and contamination in the attic. We also advised them of the dangers with rodents chewing on live wires and the associated fire risks. However, there was no evidence indicating this was a particular risk found during the inspection.
The instances of wildlife causing house fires by chewing on exposed wires in the walls or attic are exceedingly rare. And more often than not these cautionary tales are met with a certain amount of skepticism it seems. People tend to view it as an urban legend of sorts employed as a scare tactic.
Turns out for this family, came dangerously close to costing them a lot more than money on prevention work.
Watch the video below to see the damage these mice did to the insulation and other parts of their attic (not counting the still undiscovered electrical damage).
This scene plays itself out
Due to some extenuating circumstances the family took our recommendations under advisement but decided to put off any prevention work until the following spring. Their reasoning was that the mice were already there, so a few more months would not make a big difference. Sometimes this is true, other times it pauses a preventable risk.
As the winter progressed the family used some live traps and some poison to attempt to control the situation. This seemingly had little effect. Meantime, their son was noticing the lights flicker again. To the best of their knowledge, this had not happened in a long time.
They got used to the scratching noises and mouse droppings and had all but forgotten about the issue. All but ...
After a nasty cold snap was beginning to pass, a large piece of ice slid down an adjacent portion of their roof landing several feet below and puncturing another roof board. They contacted a local roofing company to have the damage repaired. While patching up the area the roofers made a startling discovery tucked away behind a firewall in the attic. A grouping of several wires connected to the heating and ventilation systems, bedroom fan and light and the bathroom fan had been exposed.
There was extensive evidence of chewing on the wires as well as actual burn marks on the wood beams below it. It seems that there were sparks at the very least, quite possibly the beginning of an actual fire. Needless to say with all the wood and insulation found in the attic it poses a significant risk of escalating into a full-blown house fire.
Full disclosure this is the first and only time we have been called to a situation involving mice and live wires almost burning a house down. But it is a powerful reminder these things are possible and do happen.
The homeowners freed up some resources immediately and proceeded with the mice removal and prevention work initially quoted back in the fall.
After some repairs to their roof and a visit from an electrician to ensure everything was in safe working order, the issue was finally behind them.
It all boils down to the old adage it's better to be safe than sorry. It is rare that a mouse infestation will lead to the risk of an electrical fire, but why take the chance? When it comes to mice, they multiply so quickly and are such filthy creatures, there is no favorable outcome if you simply ignore the problem.
Mice removal is a complicated process, contact your local wildlife removal experts before the problem gets out of hand.