Help! Came home after 4 days today to major yuck in my pantry...I think I have a *friend* - would you throw everything out, even if it's not been tampered with? Any ideas? Thanks!!!
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Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
First wear a face mask. I faced this problem in my garage. Everything that's been, uh, sampled, needs to go. Take everything out of the pantry. Vacuum all of the little left-behinds. Dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag. Mix up some warm, soapy water and wash everything down. Wipe down with some clear, warm water, then make a bleach solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 2 quarts cool water and sanitize everything. Allow to air dry. Go to the local animal shelter and adopt a good cat. Well worth the investment. And June is national adopt-a-shelter-cat month, so most of them have free or half-price specials. I have 4 - perhaps a bit excessive - and the mice moved on.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
I assume you're talking about a rodent. Here's a link about clean up. http://www.foodsafetynetwork.ca/aspx/public/publication_detail.aspx?id=376
Throw out anything that remotely looks like it's been tampered with.
make sure to wear a HEPA filter face mask to clean up, or wait to clean until you've saturated everything with a 10% bleach solution (the airborne bacteria and viruses you can stir up with the vacuum with get past the painter's type face masks.) Read the CDC website page about clean up - it's scary! http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/index.html
Agree with HLA. The face mask is imperative.
So is a good cat.
One of my cats once had a baby field mouse cornered in my kitchen when I lived in an old house in Madison. I sat there watching for 10 minutes and nothing. I finally scooped the baby up with a ladle and took it outside.
Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.
My co worker uses humane traps and transports them upstate when she goes to her country home on weekends I wonder if the rodent population has increased significantly where she lives. NYC is over run with the little critters I agree with everyone here, bleach, face masks, cat, all of the above.
But that cat let you know the mouse was there ; )
A friend in California used humane traps also. She took to marking the critters with a sharpie because she suspected the ones she release outside were coming right back inside. Rightly so! So they started taking them several blocks away before releasing. Not close to traveling *upstate*, but great story, sd!
Exactly, I would be afraid they would come right back in. I can see your friend with a sharpee marking mice, Now thats funny.
It was seriously very funny, especially to them. Californians, what can you say ; ) And rather than get a cat, they got more sharpees. Personally, I'd take the cat, but go ahead and call me obsessive.
uh ou, boulangere, you might be turning into a crazy cat lady before our very eyes ;)
How crazy is 4? Two are mother and son. All rescues, obviously.
4 is safely in not crazy territory. I had 5 at one point, but am down to 2.
Whew! But then there is the dog, 2 rabbits (sisters!), 2 birds.
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Oh, this conversation is making my skin crawl. I have an irrational fear of rodents. Last summer we had a mouse in the attic and I thought I was going to admit myself to the insane asylum. If I found evidence of a "friend" in my pantry, I'd have to move! (No pets for me--I'm Ok with visiting them, but I don't want to live with them.)
Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.
Food storage tips from an 8-year NYC resident:
Keep everything in glass jars or metal canisters with tight fitting, screw-on lids. When you come home from the store, transfer anything that is not canned or jarred into non-permeable containers like mason jars, metal cookie tins, glass cookie jars or tight-sealing bread boxes. It has to seal tight so they can not smell the food or chew through the container. You can also use thick plastic containers but tupperware or anything flimsy like that is not vermin-proof.
Examples are: Cereal. Take it out of the box/bag and pour into large jar or cookie jar. Pasta: take out of bags/boxes and do the same. Cookies: transfer to a tin or jar. Flour, sugar or other dry goods: Rip open bags and pour into canisters or bins with sealed lids. I repeat: do not keep anything stored in your kitchen in its original packaging unless it is an unopened can or jar. The plus side is that this is a much more attractive way to store food and you can see everything in front of you :)
Move your fridge and stove to check for cracks, holes, and other entry points. Even a fraction of an inch is enough for them. Also check for openings around sink pipes, corners of cabinets, lighting fixtures or other architectural features. Stuff any openings with steel wool and seal with spackling paste.
If you have pets, feed them at certain times of the day so that their food is not sitting around.
This should help end the problem.
my story: i had a field mouse problem 25 yrs ago in the fall-apparently they come in looking for warmth as the temps cool. i had 4 cats at the time and they couldn't seem to catch it. it always ran behind a particular cabinet in the kitchen. so i begged & cajoled and my husband pulled that cabinet away from the wall. there on the bottom of the wall was a perfect arched mouse hole-just like in the cartoons!! that night the cats got the mouse and we've not been bothered since!
What friend is it? Rats, mice, chipmunks, raccoons, cockroaches, ants? Having traveled and lived in various places hospitable to these friends, have learned that each requires a different invitation to vacate. mcd2 is very wise - how are they getting in?
Another vote for cats mcd2!
Thanks everyone for the advise and links. It's a house mouse, or two or 500. Next door neighbor is renovating and I'm thinking that could be the problem. Everything that's even a slight possibility for entry has been sealed, but one little bugger remains in hiding and I'm assuming, sealed in now, and poor thing (me), has to be patient and wait. I'll spare you all the details, but I think once my de-con suit arrives, I'll be able to cook again. But really, thanks. I appreciate it!!
In old part of Austin, Texas and 'Norwegian Roof Rats' are a common problem. Since bugs are, too, I keep everything possible in glass jars. As for the rats, we use kill traps, and one of the dogs kills them when she can, otherwise we'd be over run. There are no logical relocation spots that wouldn't either make them someone else's problems or vulnerable to other predators anyway.
For what it's worth, when I asked my doctor whether I should worry about what I breathe when cleaning up the rat...poop...she said the urine is the big health concern.
We've gotten them under control and nothing in the house for over a year now, although the dog still catches one occasionally outdoors.
@ Queen of Spoons: Make sure your dog is vaccinated for Leptospirosis, it can be spread via rat urine. I'd be surprised if the rats don't urinate when your dog catches them! It can cause kidney failure and/or liver disease (depending on the strain,) and is transmissible to humans.
@hardlikearmour Do most 'standard' canine vaccinations include Leptospirosis? We're always up to date on vetting, but wondering if a special inquiry is warranted.
It is often, though not always, incorporated into the "distemper-parvo" vaccine. It's certainly possible it's not an issue in your area, but I'd check with your vet to be sure.