Rats and mice are pretty much everywhere in the Portland and Vancouver Wa area. They infest homes in rural areas, urban areas and every area in between. Basically, they are just looking for a warm, cozy place to stay and your crawlspace is really the perfect place for them. They can access your warm, insulated crawlspace in a variety of ways. Often, your foundation vent screens can be open and invite them right in. If no easy access is available, they are also pretty good at creating access on their own by digging under the foundation and into the crawlspace.
Once inside, rats and mice make themselves right at home by creating nesting material in your subfloor insulation. They are also notorious chewers, which is not such a big problem unless they chew on a water pipe or electrical cord.
By far, the biggest problem you face with a rodent infestation is the contamination that they leave behind. Since they do not have control over their bladder and bowel movements, wherever they go, they spread urine and feces. Over time, your subfloor insulation will be loaded with feces and become contaminated enough that it will have to be removed. Same goes for the vapor barrier as well. On top of this, rodents have a really short lifespan and will die after about 2 years. If you have a rodent population of about 100 mice, that means you will have them dying at the rate of at least once a week.
Even more troubling is the fact that rodents can reproduce so quickly. For every one that dies, several more are born, creating an out of control population in no time.
Okay, so now I am totally freaked out. What do I do about it?
Well, as gross as this stuff is, it can all be fixed. A rodent issue can be rectified in a matter of weeks for a couple hundred bucks through our sister company, New Leaf Pest Control. The actual cleaning and decontamination is where we step in. Typically, a really bad rodent infestation is going to require a variety of things that will include removing and replacing the subfloor insulation and vapor barrier, which we call a “crawlspace restoration“. We also have ULV foggers to decontaminate the space and are able to repair and seal any entry points. This whole process can end up costing a few thousand dollars and nobody “wants” to have it done, but a clean and healthy crawlspace will improve the overall air quality of your home. I read somewhere that up to 40% of the air you breathe comes up from the crawlspace, so it is worth it.
If you are dealing with an active rodent infestation and would be interested in an honest, fair assessment of the condition of your crawlspace, please give New Leaf Crawl Space Solutions a call and we would be happy to set up a free inspection.