Dead Mouse in Attic - Rotting Mice


02.18.2004 - The problem with dead mice in the attic is that they are hard to find. This is because they love to burrow, and they dig their way down into the insulation. So when they die, they're already buried down in some tunnel. This is often right against the drywall ceiling, so the smell seeps down into the house and creates a strong odor within. However, when I go into the attic to search for the dead mouse, I barely smell anything, because the odor is blocked by the insulation, and the strong air flow in the attic, due to the ventilation, prevents much of the smell from building up. Next, I want to wear a hepa filter mask to prevent myself from breathing in fiberglass insulation. This prevents me from getting any kind of good stiff at the air. So I have to remove the mask and face the ensuing health risks. My trick is to sniff and sniff the attic space, back and forth, back and forth, until I get a whiff of the odor. It can be very subtle. However, when I hit it, I keep narrowing it down, back and forth, until I know I'm close. Then I get on all fours and dig around in the insulation, still sniffing, until I hit the jackpot, as seen in the above photo. I then bag it and spray it down and call it a job.

The next step is to find out how that pesky mouse got into the attic in the first place, and to seal up all those open entry areas so that this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

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If you have found a terrible stench in your attic, it could be a dead mouse. It's important to remove dead creatures and to remove the source of smell asap. How can you identify if you have a dead, rotting mouse in the house? Maybe you're shaking your head while reading this because you've actually spotted the little nuisance. If you haven't actually seen the mouse, look out for the following signs:

  • Tiny paw prints: you will usually find these along the trimmings of wall edges or skirting boards
  • Small droppings: the size of a sunflower seed typically found in small clusters – these will usually be dry and dull brown if the mouse has died
Dirty streaks along your wall edges If there are no signs allowing you to follow the trail straight to the dead mouse perfuming your attic, then you should follow your nose to the most concentrated area of the stench. If there's still no sign of the corpse, it could be that the mouse, or mice, have died in an air duct, a wall cavity, the attic, the crawlspace, or under a floorboard. You will need to do a little detective work on this one and put your nose to the wall and sniff until you can tell that the smell has changed and become more potent or a little fresher. This will let you know that you've hit the jackpot and found where the dead mouse in your attic is rotting away. The dead mouse smell is caused by a lovely mix of methane, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and other chemicals that come from the bacteria reacting with the sulfur in the decomposed body of the mouse. You'll need to remove it before it spreads, so get sniffing! What to do once you've found the corpse? You must disinfect the areas both where you found the dead body and wherever there are droppings or nesting. Then to get rid of both the smell and the fumes, you should air out your house with fans and deodorizers. Once you've located the corpse and anything the mouse may have left behind, such as droppings and streaks, here's a quick action list:
  • Put on rubber gloves, expendable clothing, and nose mask
  • Prepare a solution of 10 percent bleach/90 percent water
  • Place the corpse inside two Ziploc bags
  • Spray solution over the infected area
  • Wipe the area with paper towels, removing all marks, prints, and defecations
  • Place paper towels in a tightly-sealed garbage bag
Then you should throw away the gloves and aprons that you wore and wash your hands thoroughly. Then maybe take a shower! Open the windows, spray air freshener and relax, your home is clean and mouse-free!

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