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Got something in our crawl space
Old 08-29-2011, 07:30 AM   #1
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Got something in our crawl space

We live in a 2 story home. For the last few days (usually in early morning), we hear noises above our bedrooms in the crawl space above our bedrooms. It sounds like scratching and thrashing around. I am thinking about investigating it myself but my DW insists we should call somebody. Who do you call ? an exterminator?


Please advise.

Thanks,
Golfnut
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:44 AM   #2
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Sounds like a rat or other rodent. Go up with a flashlight to look for droppings - to determine what it is. If a mouse or rat, get some traps at home depot. Don't use poison, a lot can go wrong.

thread on mice Ah, Mice!
another on rats Rats...

After you determine what your guest is, you can also reconnoiter the area around your house to look for entry points.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:00 AM   #3
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If it's a raccoon or squirrel, you might be able to borrow a trap from your local animal shelter or humane society. Be particularly careful if it's a raccoon - they can carry rabies.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:11 AM   #4
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I always thought a crawl space was below your house (for houses without a basement, but not built on a slab), and just below the roof is the attic.

Anyway, first make sure it isn't branches scraping against the roof in the wind.

If you don't want to take care of it yourself, and exterminator is probably the way to go. I'm not sure if they take care of something as big as a raccoon but they should handle rodents. They also probably have experience finding the entry point that you'll need to seal up.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Sounds like a rat or other rodent. Go up with a flashlight to look for droppings - to determine what it is. If a mouse or rat, get some traps at home depot. Don't use poison, a lot can go wrong.

thread on mice Ah, Mice!
another on rats Rats...

After you determine what your guest is, you can also reconnoiter the area around your house to look for entry points.
Thank you for the advice. Poison won't work as we have a dog. Just curious, did you have your problem in your Chicagoland home? We live in the western burbs.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Sounds like a rat or other rodent. Go up with a flashlight to look for droppings - to determine what it is. If a mouse or rat, get some traps at home depot. Don't use poison, a lot can go wrong.

thread on mice Ah, Mice!
another on rats Rats...

After you determine what your guest is, you can also reconnoiter the area around your house to look for entry points.
+ 1..
And about that poison..If it dies behind your wall it will leave you a terrible parting gift..
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:25 AM   #7
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Thank you for the advice. Poison won't work as we have a dog. Just curious, did you have your problem in your Chicagoland home? We live in the western burbs.
We've had problems everywhere we've lived. The darn critters don't understand that when human-kind moves into their habitat they're supposed to leave quietly. There are no areas in Chicagoland free of rodents and there are pest control trucks in my neighborhood all the time

No reaction from your dog? It might bark if it were a raccoon or squirrel. If you're comfortable getting into the crawl space, checking first for droppings will save you time and $$. Pest control efforts are more expensive when you don't know the type of pest or magnitude. If you can narrow down you can either do something yourself or at least spend less.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:37 AM   #8
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We've had problems everywhere we've lived. The darn critters don't understand that when human-kind moves into their habitat they're supposed to leave quietly. There are no areas in Chicagoland free of rodents and there are pest control trucks in my neighborhood all the time

No reaction from your dog? It might bark if it were a raccoon or squirrel. If you're comfortable getting into the crawl space, checking first for droppings will save you time and $$. Pest control efforts are more expensive when you don't know the type of pest or magnitude. If you can narrow down you can either do something yourself or at least spend less.
Our dog is a 10 yr oldyorky who I understand were originally bred to hunt down rats. The only time he barks is when he is looking for a treat or hears somebody/something outside. Still luv him even though he is not much use. I told my dw we should carry him up there to investigate but my wife nixed the idea.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:54 AM   #9
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Our dog is a 10 yr oldyorky who I understand were originally bred to hunt down rats. The only time he barks is when he is looking for a treat or hears somebody/something outside. Still luv him even though he is not much use. I told my dw we should carry him up there to investigate but my wife nixed the idea.
Until you rule out raccoon you probably want to keep your yorky safe.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:28 AM   #10
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Depending on the city you live in around Chicago, there's ordinances (north suburbs) that make it illegal for you to kill a raccoon or possum. You're required to contact the a trapping service instead. I've found old squirrel skeletons in the attic before and had a friend call me about a pregnant raccoon in his attic. I went to help him investigate since he was too scared. Found a nesting area and also the entry/exit spots. The raccoon bent his metal power vent to a 90 degree angle and metal screen to get in and busted out the soffit to get the babies out. Pretty easy to tell if you find droppings, the raccoon droppings were the same as a small dog or cat. Harder to tell if it's a squirrel, you should check the exterior of your place for any possible entry points, rodents and squirrels don't need much space to get in.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:35 AM   #11
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The raccoons in these parts are pretty simple to trap.
You can get a "Hav-a-Heart" trap at home depot. Add some spoiled fruit, and you'll have a waiting list of coons wanting to visit your cage.
Handle with care when releasing though..
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
We live in a 2 story home. For the last few days (usually in early morning), we hear noises above our bedrooms in the crawl space above our bedrooms. It sounds like scratching and thrashing around. I am thinking about investigating it myself but my DW insists we should call somebody. Who do you call ? an exterminator?


Please advise.

Thanks,
Golfnut
We had squirrels in a rental house years ago and a couple of moth balls got rid of them.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:33 AM   #13
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Thank you for the advice. Poison won't work as we have a dog. Just curious, did you have your problem in your Chicagoland home? We live in the western burbs.
I'm in the western burbs too golfnut.

I've trapped dozens and dozens of possums, racoons, squirrels, ground hogs and, uh oh, skunks over the years. They burrow under our front porch, damage (chew) my lawn building, dig up the garden and generally create a mess.

My furry friends have all been caught outdoors in one of my Hav-a-Heart traps. But my next door neighbor had racoons in his attic (mom and 3 little ones) and we trapped mom in the attic.

If your issue turns out to me mice (likely), you can easily trap them yourself. If it's something bigger (probably racoons), you might want to call in the pros if you're not an outdoorsy type who wouldn't be intimated by standing on a step ladder passing your trap through the hatch to the attic while the racoon inside hisses, spits and generally goes crazy.

edit: Dimsumkid's post (above) is good information. Yes, trapping yourself is likely illegal and I keep a low profile doing it. Only my next door neighbors know and they think I'm a hero. I used to dispose of trapped critters by taking them to work. MegaCorp's parking lot, 20+ miles away, bordered a large park and I'd just park out in the last row and turn 'em loose. Since retiring a few years ago, I've found some other places or just use a more "life altering" method.
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:20 AM   #14
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After you determine what your guest is, you can also reconnoiter the area around your house to look for entry points.
Check for overhanging tree branches.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:30 PM   #15
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We had wood rats (common in the south) in our old house attic. We would hear them scurrying around and gnawing on the wood. Critter Control came and found a hole in the vent screen that they accessed our house. He set out traps, closed the hole, and came back later to remove the dead rats. No more problems afterwards.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:40 PM   #16
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I have had mice in my attic many times - almost always late fall or early winter. I can not hear them unless they crawl down the wall cavities. So my bet is something other than mice. I would say squirrel or raccoon. You're burb may have an animal control office that you can contact for advice. I would not send the dog in there.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:51 PM   #17
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Probably a mouse. A mouse in an attic can make quite a bit of noise. The mouse itself is being reasonably quiet, but the wood ceiling joists transmit the sound downstairs very nicely. Can hear a mouse scampering along a joist, rustling sounds as it works its way into a comfy spot, and louder chewing sounds as it sharpens its teeth on a top edge of a joist. The chewing sounds are amplified by the joists, the actual amout of wood removed is tiny, but it can sound like a lot!

Living in TX, the friendly mouse in the attic doesn't seem to exist here. Rats instead. Years ago I went to a town's park district pest seminar put on by an old-time exterminator here. He said using poisons on mice was usually OK, that if they did die in a wall they just dry up and mummify. But a rat was a different story - stinking for a long time! Warfarin-based baits tended to be good, as they were slow-acting, and the vermin felt ill and would head outside to wait and die. I tried that here on rats, they were getting up to soffit and then to attic via going behind some siding corners, which I later totally renovated and solved the problem.

While using the warfarin, I came home one day, and saw a rat sitting in a narrow flower bed. It was looking right at me. I thought there was no way I could get something to club it with, that it would be long gone first. I went the long way around, and came back wearing a glove and brandishing a piece of 1/2" rebar. I moved up on it ever so slowly, always expecting it to suddenly take off. Slowly, slowly...
Then I struck! Whump! Hit that #*@#* again! Whump!
Feeling triumphant at a job well-done, I then realized... that it was already... dead. It was just sitting there in a very life-like position.
So much for the cave man hunter!


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I always thought a crawl space was below your house (for houses without a basement, but not built on a slab), and just below the roof is the attic.
Yup!
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:05 PM   #18
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One more thought, golfnut. Your house isn't over an old indian burial ground, is it? (South Park)
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:39 PM   #19
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Then I struck! Whump! Hit that #*@#* again! Whump!
Feeling triumphant at a job well-done, I then realized... that it was already... dead. It was just sitting there in a very life-like position.
!
Just chalk it up as an excellent practice session..
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:03 PM   #20
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We are dealing with a skunk family who moved in under our house a few months ago. In the past few weeks we have managed to trap 3 of the youngsters and we think from original sightings we may have two more youngsters and mama skunk to go.

I am feeling a bit like Davy Crockett, I bound out of bed every morning at 7.00 a.m. in my pj's to creep up on the traps to see if we have caught anything.

Our number one reason for trying to get rid of these pests is because they spend all night running up and down on the other side of the wall where we rest the head. It makes for a noisy and restless night's sleep.
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