Asked on Oct 22, 2020

How do I make sure pests don’t start coming from behind Cabinets?

Becky at Flipping the FlipKelli L. MilliganCheryl A


I’m hopefully and finally closing on a home next month. I’ve been living in an apartment with my two kids this past year and a half and my landlord is terrible and isn’t helping with an obvious mouse infestation. I’ve blocked off the entire kitchen with cardboard “walls” so they are at least contained in the kitchen where it seems they’re coming from behind the appliances. I moved the appliances at one point and my husband put steel wool and foam, but they were still able to chew the foam and come back in. There must be more holes behind the cabinets where they come from as well. Long story short, I’m so anxious and paranoid I want to move in my new place and make sure I never have a problem with mice or any pest for the matter. I know I’ll have to close off any holes before moving in along the baseboards, but I can’t stop from thinking that I somehow need to get behind the cabinets to make sure 100% of a job is done. Am I crazy? What options do I have without completely Renovating the kitchen? Thank you!

18 answers
  • Cheryl A
    Cheryl A
    on Oct 22, 2020

    rats can get into a tiny opening and they will chew through wires, cardboard, sheet rock, etc the landlord needs to get an exterminator out to handle your rat problem - they breed continually and have a lot of babies. We had issues in our house a few yrs ago, they ate through the side of the house to get inside.

  • If you close off any holes, you should be OK. You're not crazy, you've just had a very bad experience...congrats on the new house!

  • Redcatcec
    on Oct 22, 2020

    Ok, please read your contract for your apartment-the one both you and your landlord signed. It should say who is responsible for pest management, and it is usually the landlord. Have you communicated to the landlord you have a mouse infestation? Terrible or not, you have to let him/her know. Do you have pictures of when you accepted the apt?

    What cabinets are you trying to get behind?

    If you would like to try to treat the infestation there are things you can do. DIY stores have a foam for mouse holes that has fibers in it that will cut the faces of the mice when they try to chew through it. Also, go to Walmart and get a multi pack of cardboard sticky cardboards, spread them opened flat in the paths where they run, especially under low lying things like couches, stands, etc...they learn fast so you'll need to keep on moving them.

    We have had a mouse infestation and it was horrible, they chose to ignore the baited standard snap traps, would not eat the Dcon bait, the sticky traps worked well.

    Also, take a look at this:,of%20the%20bucket%20to%20thread%20the...%20More%20

  • Betsy
    on Oct 22, 2020

    Hi Lulu: I can understand your angst. Mice are not welcome guests. Your husband is right about the steel wool. What I have used in the past was SOS pads pulled apart. The mice didn't like the soap at all. Some people will suggest that you get a cat, but I have 3 and they make pets out of them and will lay in the sun together with the mice, so that's not a sure thing. My cats are so nuts! Here are a couple of sites that should help you out:

  • Oliva
    on Oct 22, 2020

    You have a health violation issue. Call your local board of health, a local television station, and anyone else who might help with getting your landlord to call in an exterminator. Post the issue on social media. I doubt your landlord will want to lose potential tenants, but post photos and document each and every contact with your landlord, having a witness, if possible.

    Copper mesh appears more effective than steel wool. Is all your food/seeds, flours, rice, cereal, etc. in rodent proof containers? If you have pets, is their food secured except during feeding time? Where do you keep your vehicles? Rodents love to chew on wiring harnesses in vehicles and can gain access into passenger compartments.

    Scrub your walls and floors with peppermint, which dissuades mice. Place peppermint essential oil on cotton balls and insert it behind cabinets, at entry points to your apartment, etc. Leave no crumbs on floors/counters and immediately clean up all spills.

  • Congratulations on your new home! Hire the best home inspector you can find. Read the report very carefully. Any imperfections can still be negotiated with the seller to repair on their dime. If there is any hint of an infestation of any type, it is up to the sellers to remedy before escrow closes.

    As to your current apartment you have excellent suggestions here. If you were staying, I would provide you with the steps to take to have your landlord comply without fear of retribution.

    There are habitability laws in every state. You are also entitled to quiet enjoyment, which means you are to be provided a unit in good condition and completely pest free.

  • Mogie
    on Oct 23, 2020

    You need a home inspector. We are selling a home right now and they protect both the buyer and the seller.

    If needed hire pros to fumigate the home BEFORE you move in.

    Not only are mice a health hazard but their droppings are a horrible problem. If there are mice droppings clean them up right away but when you do so wear a respirator and gloves.

  • Michelle Leslie
    Michelle Leslie
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hello Lulu, first up, congrats on your new home. I hope you guys will be very happy there. WRT to your potential mouse problem, this article will give you some ideas what you can o before moving to stop them -

  • Unique Creations By Anita
    Unique Creations By Anita
    on Oct 23, 2020

    You can maybe try using expanding foam spray to seal the holes.

  • Johnavallance82
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Hi, Call in Pest Control or borrow someone's Cat. Get your Landlord to fix it. Don't pass on the problem - please!

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Your landlord isn't helping you with a mouse problem? They are responsible for maintaining the house. I feel your pain. I hate mice and am also extremely afraid of them. I saw one in my garage once and I had my niece carry me to my car. Poor thing, she was only about 12 years old and could barely lift me. Before you close on your new house, be sure to look around for any holes. Remember a mouse can fit through a hole smaller than a dime, but they can be filled with expanding foam. There are more mouse tips here:

  • K. Rupp
    K. Rupp
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Definitely use traps (the old fashioned ones).....and call an exterminator. If it is a bad infestation they should be able to take care of it easier.

    on Oct 23, 2020

    i feel your pain! Here’s what worked for our mouse problem:

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on Oct 23, 2020

    Since you have had such horrible past experiences, you might consider hiring an exterminator as a preventive measure. I use HiYield 38 for bugs and "Just One Bite" for mice control. Mice;I break the bars into small pieces and scatter all around in the attic, crawlspace, garage, and basement to keep them from entering the house. They also can't stand the smell of cinnamon and peppermint. I spray that around just for good measure and I like the scent.

  • Mike T
    Mike T
    on Oct 23, 2020

    As you are leaving in a short time I would not spend a penny as it is the Landlords problem to fix. If your move falls through and the Landlord won't fix the problem get in touch with your hygiene department and see what they say and if they are not helpful. MOVE OUT

  • Cheryl A
    Cheryl A
    on Oct 25, 2020

    also before moving into your new place you could have exterminators come in and inspect and spray for bugs and check for mice droppings

  • Kelli L. Milligan
    Kelli L. Milligan
    on Oct 29, 2020

    Agree, just hire an exterminator.

  • Have a pest inspector visit the new place and see what they say. You might be perfectly fine in the new place.

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