Sunday, we took the kids to Hyak, an area near Snoqualmie Pass, for a multi-family sledding trip. (It was
originally tubing, but the snow was doubtful until the morning of. The sleds
were a hedge if the place was sold out, which it was.)
When I went into the crawlspace to pull out the sleds, I noticed a big piece of insulation had fallen from the “floor.” On it were little brown things. As I shined the light around, I noticed another piece of insulation was half-out, and many more had obvious indicators of something pushing them down. The feeling of being in deep doo-doo started setting in.
I brought in a better light. There is definitely some kind of critter in there. It’s eaten a hole in the bag of grass seed and, through the magic of digestion, has transformed the seed into feces. Prolific little whatever-it-is, too. I broke the news to my wife, who in turn broke out the yellow pages and started looking for an exterminator. As we googled for the poop on the businesses, we noticed most have plenty of names they do business as. Curious.
I stayed home today to catch up on some other work and be the token male presence in case the exterminator wanted to show us something.
Meanwhile, my wife went to get a stool out of the garage and found it was adorned with turds, too.
The exterminator knew his shit, showing me why it might be mice (instead of rats) and pointing out the places the critters could get in. Some of them are from crappy construction. For example, the perimeter of the house has small vents reinforced by two layers of mesh. Near four of them, the exterior wood overhangs the concrete slab with enough room for me to put my hand in. And if my hand fits in, a rat or mouse definitely will. It’s a wonder we haven’t had this problem earlier.
The initial damage is $225, and includes the survey (an hour and a half), setting traps, two return visits to check the traps. There was a small tear sheet of repairs that essentially block access to the house such as fixing the above and installing shielding. They suggested I wait on cleaning up the scat until after the repairs are done and the traps checked at least once. No argument from me.