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Quick—what sound does a pest technician most hate to hear? Is it the hiss of a leaky hand-held sprayer spewing chemical all over his leg? Maybe. Is it the thump-thump-thump of a flat tire at the end of a tough work day? Could be. Is it the boss’s gruff voice bellowing, “I’m going out to check on one of your jobs!” Bingo!

I recently got a call from a customer: “Mike, your worker just finished a mouse job at my cabin, but I’m still hearing scratching sounds in my ceiling. Can you take a look?”

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll head over.” I wasn’t angry at my technician because rodent proofing a home is very challenging. It’s like proofreading an article—it’s easy to miss the same typo over and over.

As I drove to the cabin, I wasn’t convinced that the “scratching sounds” were being made by mice. Mysterious noises are one of the most challenging pest problems because they can have many causes, including ones that have nothing to do with pests.

One time, I went to the home of an elderly couple complaining that they had a bird chirping inside their house. “That darn bird is going to town day and night,” the frustrated husband said. I went into their basement and, sure enough, a smoke detector’s low battery warning was to blame. God, I hate those things. 

Back at the mouse cabin, after doing a painstaking inspection, I found a small opening that allowed the critters to worm their way inside. My customer had been right all along. I showed the opening to my technician and he sealed it shut. Another problem solved… on to the next problem.

Oh, and if you see any typos in this article … blame it on the smoke detector.

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