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Mice Hunting – Battery Powered Camera

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  • #61092
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha

    We think we have some mice in the attic and want to investigate. Overnight, there appears to be a scratching sound coming from the attic above our room. However, going in to the attic, I can’t see anything at all – the insulation is in place and has a fine layer of dust on it, so it doesn’t look like they’re running across that, but potentially under that (which would be why we can hear on the ceiling). The noise has only been present for about a month now, so it hasn’t been happening since we moved in.

    I’ve been outside and I can’t see any way for the mice to enter the attic – everything under the eaves seems fine, with no visible holes for mice to access. Rentokil won’t come out unless it’s confirmed what pest it is – but I can’t see any evidence, we can only hear something.

    We have no power sockets in the attic, so does anyone have any reccomendations for a camera that would be able to run upstairs on battery to try and catch whatever it is?

    Planning on some traps up there as well, in case it is mice. However, it doesn’t smell up there and I can’t see droppings, so that’s perhaps suggesting to me it isn’t mice?

Viewing 20 replies - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)
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  • #61097
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    Over the years I have had more than my fair share of noises in the attic.My first response would be to bait it myself.

    Unfortunately due to poxy Health & Safety regs amateurs are no longer allowed to buy the very effective poisonous stuff, but Wilco and others will sell you a minimally effective bait. Buy both rat and mouse baits. Put the bait containers near where you think the animal is scratching and inspect it every three days. If the bait is taken, replace it and you will have all the evidence needed to talk to Rentokill etc. If you want to make the bait super-attractive to rodents smear a little peanut butter on the bait, rodents generally find this irresistible (squirrels will go for this as well)

    With respect to the cause of the noise. If it is just a light scratching it could be mice, if a heavier scratching then it could be a rat. If it sounds like you have an animal or two racing around your attic then it is probably a squirrel.

    Birds can also make scratching noises and you may have starlings setting up a warm winter roost. Look for any holes/tears in the roof lining ‘felt, and if you can see your roof from outside look for any displaced tiles or missing air vent grills in the eaves. I eventually used a small drone to find out where the damned starlings were getting in. (a missing air-vent grill).

    If you do have any squirrels eliminate them with extreme prejudice. They may look cute but they can cause £’000s of damage including setting your house on fire. Squirrels have ‘dry’ mouths so they nibble with impunity at electrical insulation. They seem to get a buzz from doing this, as if left on their own it will require a full house rewiring. Call in Rentokill and they will either trap or bait as the Wilco stuff will not touch them.

    Do not worry about ‘smell’ from small decomposing bodies, the poisons desiccate them and I cannot remember smell being an issue.

    I would not bother about trying to use technology to gather evidence.

    #61101
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 2,889

    Thanks Ed. I’ve ordered some traps initially and will try and set them up. Annoyingly, the noises are emmanting from as close to the edge of the roof as possible which will make getting there hard, as the entire attic is not boarded.

    I have also realised that there is a hole from the attic in to our airing cupboard from when we had the hot water tank removed in December, so I’ll have to get those boarded up, before whatever is up there decides to come downstairs!

    Eaves did look OK, but might ask our next door neighbour if he can jump up his ladder and double check.

    #61103
    Participant
    Boris
    @boris
    Forumite Points: 1,888

    We regularly have noises from over our bedroom in the early hours.
    I have established that it is not rodents, but assorted birds (mainly pigeons) scratching at the small clumps of moss on the concrete roof tiles to get at the insects there.
    I put a mirror in the back garden, angled to show the roof from the bedroom window and you can see them pecking away in time with the scratching noises.

    Never trust an atom - they make up everything !

    #61105
    Participant
    PlaneMan
    @planeman
    Forumite Points: 7,221

    I’d put an old mobile up there with a trial camera app  on it. Or a CCTV app.

    Get your TZ 90 out to look at the eves, 30X optical zoom should be enough.

    #61107
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,073

    Odds on it’s birds not mice.

    I had a mouse problem at work when we moved into a new build on a rural site. The comms room had a false floor and that’s where the little buggers were. If you can get a pencil in a hole a mouse can get through it so the entry can be very hard to spot even when it’s in front of you.

    Nolan’s idea of a phone is a good one but what about the lighting? Trail cameras aren’t silly money these days. This one looks fine for £40 on Amazon

    #61115
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    Tbh I would not bother with traps. My experience is that SWMBO freaks out when the little bodies are pulled out, and even worse if the trap half kills them and you have to do the duty, but it is 1000x worse if is a humane trap that does not even kill them and you have to drive up to the Moors to (illegally) release them.. Poison is much better as bodies are rarely if ever seen.

    However I’m with those who say birds, especially as the noises are from the roof edge. Just try and keep them out as they can be hellish noisy at 4am in the Spring.

    Even if you haven’t got vermin it is a good idea to fill any holes inyour airing cupboard just from a heat loss standpoint.

    #61124
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 2,889

    We do have a light in the attic, so would be able to leave that on. Energy bill through the room though, as it’s a 60W incandescent ;-)

    I’ll get the camera out and have a look a bit later – good idea to use the zoom. Hadn’t thought of that one!

    Only issue with a mirror is that this it the front of the house. And we can’t hear chirping or anything, it purely sounds like feet/crawling.

    #61126
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    “feet/crawling.” — almost certainly starlings or maybe sparrows. Mice are quiet except when gnawing. Rats would have left noticeable evidence behind. Squirrels maybe but normally they are very noisy running around the whole loft in the first hour or so after dawn.

    #61128
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    Add on pigeons as noted by Boris. If they are the problem buy a Nerf Gun and just shoot them. You will not even hurt them with this kiddy-safe toy. However if you combine it with lamping as they settle down early evening to roost they quite quickly look for more friendly and less terrifying roosts. :yahoo:

    #61142
    Participant
    Les.
    @oldles
    Forumite Points: 1,757

    When I moved into a “Just done up” cottage 50 years ago, a couple of months in, I heard  running feet and gnawing. Definitely rats, I thought. No cockloft entrance, since no proper roof space. I got one of the works carpenters to come and cut me a suitable access. I got a piece of wood onto which I screwed both a mouse trap and a rat trap. –Covering all possibilities. The piece of wood in case a big rat caught his foot and dragged the trap away.

    Shortly after we went to bed, I heard a “Click”, got up, climbed up to look, and there was a tiny little mouse. Over the next two days, I caught two more, and that was that.

    Over here I have had two similar events, once in the attack (similarly small, and again three caught. The next time, there was a scratching sound just above my head whilst I was in the living room. Strange! There is no space between ceiling and bedroom floor! The foul pipe from the upstairs toilet runs in a  roughly 5″ x 7″ wooden channel across to the rear of the cottage and away to the main foul drain. How had they got in there? There is a point where the wire from the earth rod enters by the door, and there was that pencil sized hole Dave mentioned. The buggers had got in there. I had to remove a piece of wood (2″ x 5″) where the duct narrowed by 2″, just managed to slide in my “Little Nipper” mouse trap with a bit of raison or something on it. Within five minutes, the familiar Click meant number one was caught. Another half hour and the second. This time I thing there were only the two.

    The “Little Nipper” was a commonly available trap, maybe still is, but I did find they were not very sensitive, so I used to “tune them” before use, so that the slightest weigh set them off. That usually meant a matchstick glued by the crude sawcut where the bait plate pivoted.

    Forget about rats, forget about cameras, forget about poisons. Just set a trap, if they are there you will catch them.

    I don’t think you will get starlings in there this time of the year. During the nesting season, they will get in if there is a big enough hole, but you will see them. When I was a kid, we lived in and old house, Victorian, or maybe Georgian, with sagging rafters and holes in the soffits. I climbed in, having seen starlings enter. As I crawled over the rafters, they knew something was there, and flew out. I was patient. 5 mins, in comes starling. Grab, got it! I let it go, and blocked the entrance hole.

    The nest was about a foot high, obviously used year upon year.

    Les.

    #61162
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 2,889

    Looks like it might be birds…had another look last night after our online NCT course.

    If you look at the two pictures, the eaves are flush along the house, until the corner, where it has raised up. No visible nest, but that’s prceisely where the noises are, so assume they’re getting in there or something.

    I will put a trap in the attic as well to make sure, but looks like we’ll need to consider some outdoor work to repair. There goes the new carpet fund! :cry:

    #61166
    Participant
    JayCeeDee
    @jayceedee
    Forumite Points: 5,356

    It looks like you’ve got the traces of having had ivy growing up there at some stage in the past. That’s a real b*stard thing for causing problems. It displaces anything, fixed or not and is probably what opened the gap in the soffit board.

    I’ve got problems with some growing up our garage wall on the neighbour’s side. He’s good these days at keeping it under control mostly, but in the past, when he was working full time, it had penetrated under the roof. Not a problem ordinarily, but it’s a corrugated asbestos/cement roof that is fine for the time being, and not a risk, unless it cracks or breaks – hence the ivy being problematic.

    Some soffits used to be made from asbestos ( ours was here ) but yours looks to be more recent with the built in vents. We just went over the top of our old ones with upvc cladding trimmed to fit and held on with Gripfix or similar and tidied with edging trim and joint strips. It’s not been a problem for 9 years or so and wasn’t hugely expensive.

    #61168
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    You will rarely see a Starling nest, they seem to like eves such as yours. Nice warm winter roosts!

    Once upon a time I used to regularly climb 60ft ladders with no back rest. However those days are long gone, so I  paid my window cleaner £15  to hammer in some replacement ventilation covers in my eves. If you have a friendly window cleaner getting him to stuff some wire mesh into the hole might be a low cost solution.

    #61170
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 2,889

    You will rarely see a Starling nest, they seem to like eves such as yours. Nice warm winter roosts!

    Once upon a time I used to regularly climb 60ft ladders with no back rest. However those days are long gone, so I paid my window cleaner £15 to hammer in some replacement ventilation covers in my eves. If you have a friendly window cleaner getting him to stuff some wire mesh into the hole might be a low cost solution.

    Our window cleaner is now strictly from the ground using the extendable poles. Next door likes to get up and paint his eaves every year, so I might ask if he’ll do ours and prevent access at the same time…

    #61172
    Participant
    Dave Rice
    @ricedg
    Forumite Points: 9,073

    Beat me to it. Window cleaners don’t use ladders any more.

    #61175
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    I’m obviously very lucky, or he is just low-tech. I guess he wants to use his ladder certs for windows as well as cleaning algae from  UPVC barge boards. (I’m not sure the pressure hose boys do that job very well as my guy seems to have a monopoly on that particular trade.)

    #61197
    Anonymous
    Forumite Points: 0

    I look at urban pigeons  singer rodents, due to the amount and variety of diseases they carry. When we lived in the village, I used to go out and scare them off the bungalow roof with whole football rattle. Yes, that’s how long ago I wasn’t first match! Neighbours were OK after I explained, but it became too much of a chore because of the pigeons’ outstanding characteristic: they are dumb and have an attention span that would make a goldfish feel superior. They just kept coming back! Have you ever had to slow down in order to allow a pigeon’s thought processes to understand that the ton ( or more) of metal heading straight for it, may actually be injurious to its health? Most birds realised this a long time ago.

    It’s why there are hawks and falcons planted and nested in high buildings of towns and cities. Their waste either encourages the growth of diseases, or is already present. I love to come across wood pigeons in a wooded environment, or on rocky areas as Rock Doves, but within built-up environments, no.

    #61199
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    Strangely enough they soon grow terrified of a nerf gun, and flee if I even walk out with it, but the really effective way is to lamp them at dusk with an LED torch and one or two nerf foam darts. They do not really fly too well in the dark so they tend to remember locations that unsettled them at night. Even with the idiot laws we have, scaring pigeons is quite legal but I would much rather it were a .22 pellet as that would be a more permanent solution..

    #61293
    Participant
    Drezha
    @drezha
    Forumite Points: 2,889

    Well, it turns out we were all wrong – it’s wasps. :cry:

    Watched the buggers flying in and out today and this is the noise we can hear, which isn’t constant.

    Will be calling the pest control tomorrow.

    #61304
    Participant
    Ed P
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 16,286

    Well at least they will keep out the Starlings!

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