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Smells Like Something Died!

By Chris Williams on February 7, 2013.

dead mouse smellQuestion

We’ve been putting out poison bait for mice but now our whole house smells like rotting, dead mice. How can we get rid of this smell? It’s horrible! Is this something we can do ourselves or can you recommend a company that specializes in smell abatement? Do pest control companies do this kind of work?

Answer

The only permanent solutions to your odor problem are to find and remove the dead mouse or mice, or wait it out. When you can’t find (or can’t remove) the carcass, a commercial odor neutralizing product can be used. These products are applied as close to the source of the odor as possible. If the area of the dead mouse can’t be narrowed down, you may just have to use a whole room deodorizer applied as an aerosol, mist spray, or released through a cotton wick…and let time do its work. You can also temporarily install an air cleaner with an absorbent filter.

How Long Will the Smell Last?

That depends on a number of things. In general, the more moisture in the site, the more the carcass (or carcasses) will smell…and the longer they will smell. In a very dry home or in one with lots of ventilation, there may be very little odor. In the warmth and humidity of the summer, there could be a lot of odor. But as long as you continue to poison the mice, you will likely continue to have periodic odor problems.

Finding the Source of the Odor

This isn’t easy and basically involves following your nose. You can usually narrow down the general vicinity where the odor is strongest, but you may have more than one dead mouse in more than one place. Poisoned mice usually die near their nests.

Even if you’ve narrowed in on the odor (in a wall void, for example), you may want to “treat” the odor rather than ripping your wall open to remove the carcass. This usually involves drilling a small hole into the wall and injecting an odor neutralizer or masking solution (there are various products available).

Mouse

Do Yourself a Favor, Call a Pro

Pest control companies do get involved in odor control because, unfortunately, it’s sometimes the result of a successful pest control program. There are a few reasons why you should contact a pest control professional:

  1. You’ve suffered enough.
  2. Pros have a better idea of where the mouse would die. We have more experience at this and can hopefully find the body.
  3. Professionals have access to a range of deodorizing and odor neutralizing products, and can choose the best for the job.
  4. What you really need is a better method of mouse control so this doesn’t continue to happen. A pro can set you up with a mouse trapping program instead. A trap has the advantage of holding the dead mouse so that it can be disposed of—no more odor. Strategically placed traps can eliminate the mice without use of poisons. And a mouse-proofing job will seal up the openings mice are using to get inside so you don’t keep adding to your indoor population.

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