Help Needed to Find Dead Rat in My Attic

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Crashnburn, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    I've lived in this house for 39 years, and never had a rat problem. Then, my mother-in-law, Mom, moved in so my wife can care for her, as she's too sick to care for herself.

    Anyway, Mom has a 'special' gift. She attracts critters. We had to bring in an exterminator and have bait traps put up to keep the frogs, mice, rats, and snakes out of her house.

    The smell started a little while ago. We thought it might be sewage from a leaky drain pipe, and I crawled underneath yesterday. Dry as a bone.

    My neighbor (Mike) is a contractor, and remodeled the guest bathroom. He couldn't quite identify it yesterday, but I opened a closet for the first time in a long time today, and it reeked. When I told him, he knew immediately that it was a dead rat in the attic. He showed me where the rat got in. I guess he just couldn't resist Mom's allure. ;)

    I crawled into the attic for a look-see this afternoon. I was hoping I could find it easily. No joy. I have batts of R-30 insulation over the entire attic, and special heat reflecting film is over that. In addition, we had an attic mounted HVAC unit installed going on 5 years ago, and the ducts are barely high enough to crawl under; plus there is plywood nailed to the rafters for mounting the HVAC unit. I spent an hour up there, and did some good - I re-spread some of the film the HVAC crew had thrown back, but didn't find anything dead.

    While I was up there, I was wondering if there is a sniffer or something I could use to find it? I should mention I rarely can smell much, and this pre-dates Covid-19 by many years.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    what about a gas leak?....Mom's house had that and it smelled like something moldy, musty and dead. After hitting a few "dead" ends....the plumber discovered it. One week after sealing the leak the house smells totally different.
     
  3. Racerx

    Racerx Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Only "sniffer" I can think of is my shorthair pointer. She'll range 400 yards for a bird if I let her. Don't think she'd like the attic too much. Mines got r19 plus loose fill up to r60. Good luck!!
     
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Exterminators are adept at identifying and finding such things. We had strange noises in our attic. "What's it sound like?" the exterminator asks. "It sounds like they're bowling at 3AM." "Flying squirrels," he says. "That's lucky, unlike gray squirrels, they don't live in your attic, they just like to hang out there. All we have to do is fix where they are getting in."
     
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  5. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    It will eventually quit smelling. Just takes a few days.
     
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  6. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So you whacked your brother-in-law and now you are worried about the smell....
     
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  7. StevieTimes

    StevieTimes Line Up and Wait

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    Do you have a cat you can bring with you up there? I'd think they'd find it?
     
  8. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah, the maggots don't smell and nor do the bluebottles.
     
  9. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Two step-brothers in-law, and they are still alive, a full continent away.

    Also, I was up there again, with a pest control guy, and neither us could smell anything. The hall closet was really bad, but it seems to be going away.

    Don't they put rotten egg smell in natural gas so you can tell when there's a gas leak? This smelled nothing like rotten eggs.
     
  10. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Some how with a slow leak the rotten egg smell is different. It smelled like something dead.
     
  11. biplanebob

    biplanebob Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A leak in a sewer vent stack ?
     
  12. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Way to pile on mom when she is on her way out. :confused: If it's rats, you need to figure out where they are getting in and plug those places up. They were probably there long before mom and died of old age.
     
  13. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

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    Rodents in the attic, will many times, gain access by climbing up inside the walls ... sometimes that's where they die.

    The use of rodent bait inside should be a last resort as this is exactly what happens. Glue traps are nearly worthless for rats as they will get off of them. Use mechanical snap traps to catch them. Pre-baiting the traps works well as rats are very smart and can be difficult to catch. They love peanut butter but they are also attracted to raw bacon and even cooked pepperoni.

    I'd strongly advise against "smelling out" anything that's dead, especially a rodent and be cautious in any area where they have lived or died:
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases...lmonary-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351838
     
  14. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    I was in two stores today & saw several shoppers buying mouse control supplies. I’m usually up on things, but noticed mouse sign in my shed, as I’m about to store some mowers.

    I set an old rusty trap, freshened my ‘bait houses’. I caught one, then today laid a longer trap line. I like the gloves off dealing with mice.

    BCDC41EE-A9C1-4F4F-9F96-A2B59635656C.jpeg
     
  15. SoCalPilot88

    SoCalPilot88 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Had a similar issue at my old house. One bedroom started smelling. I went up in the attic and found nothing, smelled nothing. Still convinced it was coming from the attic, I got on a step ladder and sniffed the ceiling. As silly/gross as it sounds, I sniffed out the disgusting epicenter within 5 minutes. It was a standard drywall ceiling. Zero stains visible. So I go back up in the attic, knowing exactly which insulation to lift up, and there it was. Lesson learnt: inspect under every eave for openings and seal them, even if you must hire a roofer.
     
  16. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    We are dealing with grey squirrels now.
    we can't shoot within the city limits or they would be gone by now.
     
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  17. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Get a pellet gun
     
  18. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for all your suggestions.
     
  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I use this, with good success. Bait is peanut butter with some bird seed mixed in, spread just above the pressure plate. Then I sprinkle a little extra bird seed around entrances.

    https://www.wildlifecontrolsupplies.com/animal/WCSTUBERR.html

    (Sorry for the iPhone rotation)
     

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  20. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    got one.. city does not like them either. next door is a city cop. He's a good guy but I don't like to push my luck.

    last time I set a trap I caught the cop's kid's cat, that got ugly.
     
  21. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This trap has the option of adding restrictor plates. Small enough to keep out a cat, but squirrels can’t help themselves.


    8B425AB2-E37D-4CE4-A5B4-A89970892A7E.jpeg
     
  22. flhrci

    flhrci Final Approach

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    Now I am suspicious of your BBQ meat. LOL
     
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  23. biplanebob

    biplanebob Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Grind roasted peanuts into a powder, mix with plaster of paris, set out in bait stations …. it will permanently and lethally constipate rodents.
     
  24. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Meh. If I eat the squirrels then I technically need a fur-bearing trapping license and can only take them in season. If they are “nuisance animals” I can kill ‘em all.

    I haven’t cooked squirrel, but smoked rattlesnake is not bad.
     
  25. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

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    You can use black pepper blown into an attic or crawl space to drive out the squirrels but it won't last long. Good trick to use to get them out while you patch the entry points ...
     
  26. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    SNAP !!! got one. regular old rat trap.
     
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  27. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Had an exterminator up there. He found nothing and smelled nothing. I don’t think anything died up there. However, both bathrooms have a strong sewer smell and the smell is coming from underneath the house (its crawl space), too. I looked before and the crawl space was dry as a bone. I guess the next step is to find a plumber to investigate.
     
  28. Cloudhound

    Cloudhound Filing Flight Plan

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    Do both bathroom tubs/sinks get used regularly? If not, the water in the trap can evaporate, allowing sewer gas in.
     
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  29. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    This ^. Now that you mention sewer smell, check for a dry trap somewhere. Also check for a loose sewer or vent pipe (may not be leaking necessarily).
     
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  30. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-Flight

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    Using rat or mouse poison in a house is the wrong thing to do .... the rodent dies in a wall or attic and stinks for months.
     
  31. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Well, it wasn’t a rat, in the attic nor elsewhere. Turns out the kitchen sink drain had rusted through and there was a huge puddle.

    The house is 60 years old so I guess it was time. I didn’t want to mess with the muck underneath, so I hired a plumber to fix it.

    Has anyone else had this happen, and how long did it take for the smell to go away? Also, was there a mold issue? Thanks
     
  32. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    If you can get in there, dump some lime on the puddle. It'll help.
     
  33. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-Flight

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    Happened in my parents old house .... slow leak in the kitchen drain .... and boy did it stink which is amazing considering it did not contain "real sewage" just bacterial kitchen waste.

    It was an older house and the leak had soaked (for months) into the wood floor and floor joists under the sink so I took a half gallon of javex mixed with half gallon of water and slowly poured it under the sink ..... it went where the leak had gone and killed the bacteria which caused the odor. Not sure if I would do that in a house with a finished basement and fancy cupboards.
     
  34. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just as I was about to explain why the smell might be connected to Jimmy Hoffa .....



    Glad to hear this mystery is solved..!!
     
  35. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Jimmy Hoffa is probably buried in the Meadowlands Stadium.

    Unfortunately, my wife and mother-in-law think that because the leak is fixed the smell should be gone, too. And they can’t understand why the smell is stronger in the bathrooms than elsewhere. They don’t believe me when I tell them that’s because the toilet and sink drains, and supply lines penetrate the floors and walls to let the smell in. Finally, they think because the leak was by the kitchen the smell should only be there. It’s not like the house walls extend past the floors to the ground and there are little doors to allow access to each area.