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Critter in the crawl space
Old 10-08-2018, 02:40 PM   #1
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Critter in the crawl space

Don't know what, don't know how. A moving thump in the crawl space. Temporarily at bay, using ultra sound, but know this won't be permanent.

Space is about 18" high... 6 inch deep pebble gravel floor, solid concrete all around the home. Only crawlspace outside access is a 8"x16" vent with 3/8" slots. Tried strobelight, and put out peanuts and cheese to see if they'd take it... they didn't. If they won't even eat this, why would they enter a trap?

Based on the loudness of the bumps, not a small animal. Maybe like a squirrel, raccoon, or a possum. Don't see tracks in the floor.

Online knowledge suggests only answer is sealing the entire space 1500 s.f. stone floor and up the wall. Estimated cost 4K to 15K. could mean tearing up parts of the floor and carpeting.

The ultrasound apps keep them/it quiet for as long as the sound is on, but when I shut it down, they/it come(s) back in a day or two.

Inside access to space is a 16"/30" wood covered space between floor rafters. ... and... even if I lost weight, my claustrophobia wouldn't let me go there.

Have checked inch by inch for some access to outside. Can trace cement foundation all the way around the house. No spaces or "dig: holes.

A simple will suffice for the jokes... Have heard dozens from friends and neighbors...

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Old 10-08-2018, 02:47 PM   #2
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Are you sure its alive? Could it be water hammer in the pipes? Your pressure regulator could be failing and as a result the pressure in a line could cause water hammer in the pipes. A leaking toilet could trigger it each time it fills and shuts off.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:51 PM   #3
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By "ultrasound" do you mean frequencies above human hearing? You can buy plug-in devices that are supposed to repel vermin and bugs. Reports I've read indicate they don't repel bugs effectively. Anyway, they are cheap, if you've got a way to snake an extension cord down there you could give that a try since you've got reason to believe it bothers them. Left on constantly, I doubt a critter would stick around and put up with the noise.
If you've got pets, or nearby neighbors have pets, this might be a no-go.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:53 PM   #4
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Have experienced similar in our attic a couple years ago.

I bought bucket of this stuff, put it out in various places, and a couple weeks later the noise is gone.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005BV0DD2
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:30 PM   #5
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Wow... thanks for the quick replies...

1. Pretty sure it's not the pipes. they're plastic, and, as a check, while the sounds were going on, I shut off the water for the whole house, and flushed the toilets... while the sounds were going on... didn't change anything. Can't really even figure out where the sounds are coming from... You would have laughed to see me flat on my tummy, with my doctor's stethoscope .. listening to try and locate where the sound was coming from... couldn't even isolate the room... seems that the sounds were all over, like an echo.

2. The ultra sounds... I used three different "free" computer programs, and a loud speaker in the space. One was a variable high pitched sound that seemed to work best. Recycles for 12 hours, then program has to be restarted. Critter sounds come back after about 4 or five hours when it's off. One of the other sounds is a high pitched tik tik tik tik that is continuous. Both sounds are hard to hear with the human ear, but turned up loud, it's like whistling or swishing ear noises .

3. Re the poison... that was my first thought, and why I tested "food" with the peanuts and cheese on a paper plate. Nothing was even touched. I've heard of the TomCat bait, and will try that next.

The ultrasound has been running now for two full days, and so far, so good, but that's what I thought about ten days ago... along with the sound, a 150W light on all the time.

Not the end of the world, and I suppose I'll end up with the "Orkin Man" but in the meantime, it's become a personal challenge. May write a sci-fi book, "Saving the world from crawlspace critters" .
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:31 PM   #6
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I'd set a live trap and turn off the sound. It might wander in there.

Have you seen any sign or smelled anything? You might want to look at a professional critter removal service. They tend to know skinny folks who can slide into a crawlspace. I'd look into that before filling the space in.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:39 PM   #7
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We had a critter in the basement that I would have sworn was a wolverine, it made so much noise clawing at the door to the first floor. It was a chipmunk.
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:44 PM   #8
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I border open space so used to get a lot of critters: raccoons, possum, moles. Only raccoons would nest under house but I stopped that. Please don't laugh!

1. Lindsay Wildlife Museum suggested throwing them a party. Strobe lights / heavy metal (picked Metallica) worked OK but not great

2. OSH suggested moth balls. Doubled up. Got 2 mothball cakes from them and put them out. Hooked one under the sink outside in the vent that they had been pulling apart. Sealed up all of the other vents really really well. Except one. Tossed 5 small moth balls down under the house from there and waited about a week to give whatever an exit path. Then I hooked the second mothball cake under that window which happened to be under the hall bath & sealed it. Not only don't I have any more racoons, I also don't have any other Critters. But I do hear my neighbor complaining all the time that all of a sudden he's got raccoons under his house. I'm not telling him the trick
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Old 10-08-2018, 03:44 PM   #9
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You might look for tracks outside, since the critter can't spend all its time under there.

How about a game camera? You might have one, or a friend or neighbor might. Or you can get a pretty decent one for about $50 (they're kind of fun). You could set it up to catch any movement, especially at night, moving it from one side of the house to another each day until you catch it in flagrante delicto.

Once you have your photos/video of the critter going into or out of the crawl space, you'll know where the access point is (and it might be underground, so have the camera showing a wide area).
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:26 PM   #10
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Interesting about the ultrasound. I was under the impression that there is no proof they work. Good Luck!
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:33 PM   #11
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Been there, done that, feel your pain.

In our case it was raccoons. Wait until they start fornicating at 0200..

Not knowing how they are getting in makes it tough to fight. It is true in our case that the raccoons don't like mothballs. If YOU can stand the smell, buy a box or two at the dollar store and get them down there. We also found in terms of noise, that talk radio is the best. They habituate pretty quick to the sound of music but apparently don't like that sound of loud human voices constantly.

In the end, you have to trap and get rid of whatever it is. We have a live trap and took the two of them on a long ride from the suburbs to the open country. My business partner did the same with a smaller trap for his attic squirrel infestation.

Once out, you have to seal up where they get in (not easy in your case). For raccoons that meant running chicken wire for about 15 feet and digging a trench. Secured and backfilled one side of the wire into the trench and nailed the other into the floor joists at the top. I also made a one way door in the middle of it out of plywood and one way hinges to make sure that anything that was in there could get out.

Bonne chance !
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:41 PM   #12
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I love threads like this! Do I really have something constructive to add?

Thoughts: The fact that the critter will not take food indicates it is trapped, so if you kill it, it might smell. Maybe fogging would be the way to go. I can vouch for the gopher fogger as being effective but it might burn your house down. I wonder if they make a fogger for this purpose. I wonder if roach fogger would work. I had mice in between the floors in our house. I was able to lure them out with food traps and deplete their numbers - one by one.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:45 PM   #13
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Call a pest contractor.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:03 PM   #14
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I wouldn’t use poison. If they die under you house, what then? I’d get a live trap. Just because they didn’t hit the food you set out, doesn’t mean they won’t. Make sure to try other foods. The classic for me is something with peanut butter on it. I would also spend more time on finding the entry point. The field camera was a good idea. You have to find out how they get in and seal that up. Good luck.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:16 PM   #15
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It took me a long time to get rid of the roof rats in my attic. I quickly learned that these ultrasonic thinggies, at least the ones I bought, meant nothing to roof rats.

Using an infrared camera pointing right at a baited trap, which also had the ultrasonic thinggy pointing at it, I recorded a rat sneaking the bait off the trap without setting it off. And the rat showed absolutely no knowledge of the ultrasonic sensor pointing at it from 2 ft away.

Maybe it works on different animals.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:27 PM   #16
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I had a squirrel in the basement and crawlspace this spring, would not go into my live
traps with peanut butter. I had to call critter control they got him in 5 minutes with peanut butter in their live trap. Go figure. It would run the rafters what looked like 100 miles an hour. Came in under my outside door, chewed my siding, made a mess. Cost me $500 to get rid of it.
What a pain. Turned out it was male, I could not imagine a litter down there.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:34 PM   #17
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If a cat had a dab of peanut butter on its tongue, I'm sure a mouse would walk in to get it. I've never heard of a rodent that could resist peanut butter.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
.... Can't really even figure out where the sounds are coming from... ... seems that the sounds were all over, like an echo. ....
Is this your Illinois home? Location makes a difference.

Are there ducts in the crawl space? Even a small animal running through ducts can sound like something big, and that sound will be all over.

As far as ultrasound - most speakers and practically ALL computer outputs will not put out much/any energy above the range of human hearing. The ultrasonic pest devices they sell have a special ultrasonic "transducer", which is not a typical speaker (usually a piezo element).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectric_speaker

Hire a pro (Blow that dough!). You don;t want critters in there, they can do a lot of damage, or at least smell really bed if they die in there.

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Old 10-08-2018, 05:45 PM   #19
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Get an exterminator. Short sweet ride for varmint.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:14 PM   #20
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PB never worked for me on mousetraps. Not on the raccoons either. Sardines though... guaranteed raccoon bait.
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