Carolina Rodent Infestations | What’s That Scratching?

Rodents in The Walls – Or Something Bigger?

When cold weather hits Charlotte, NC, expect to experience some problems with rodents and other household invaders. Winter brings an early close to the light of day. Chilly winds follow. And then… mammals of all breeds and some of the more cold-hardy reptiles in the Metro region start seeking new housing for winter comfort and survival. That scratching noise you hear may mark a raccoon invasion, bats in the attic, or the beginnings of a Carolina rodent infestation throughout your entire home.

But the core of the matter is this: while it’s possible that a snake is trapped in the wall or that yellow jackets found a nifty nesting spot behind the siding, the most common causes of such noises in the home are bats, birds, raccoons, squirrels and… rodents (rats and mice).

Rodent Infestations Driven by Changing Weather

According to Dark Sky Weather, the 8am North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC temperatures for the 2017 Halloween day kicked off at 38°F (1). Historical data gathered from 1981 to 2010 reveals that Charlotte Metrolina November-thru-March average low temperatures come in below 34°F (2).  With these temperatures, you should expect rodent movement from outside to indoors.

It can begin slowly, with perhaps only one female mouse. You leave the door open while hauling in groceries. It’s only a moment, no more than twenty seconds. But sometimes, even as you watch, a lightening quick mouse can take advantage of the opportunity. Then comes the really aggravating part. Even though you know she is in the house, capture can be elusive.

An example of this frustrating situation, shared by a new client:

“Three weeks ago, I noticed some minor mouse droppings in a drawer just left of the sink. While digging for more evidence, I caught sight of a mouse darting from the laundry room, past my feet, and then up under the dishwasher. Having some experience with mice, I went to work. Here is how my battle went:

First Attempt to Capture the Mouse

Action: Set sticky traps all along the floor to block exit from the bottom of the dishwasher.

Result: Was working on the computer when I hear the mouse struggling with one of the traps. Imagine my surprise when I turned and saw the critter break loose and retreat back under the washer.

Second Attempt to Capture the Mouse

Rats, mice and almost every other mammal can be very smart. Once escaping from any kind of trap, they become more difficult to capture. Thus I rearm.


  • Use duct tape to completely seal the opening between the dishwasher and the floor
  • Clear all utensils from the drawer where I first noticed the mouse droppings
  • Set two spring-loaded snap traps baited with peanut butter inside the drawer.

Result: Mouse steals all the bait without causing traps to spring.

Third, Fourth and Fifth Attempt to Capture the Mouse

By now, you should be sensing some of my frustration. What to do? How to eliminate this “single” mouse?


  • Reset the snap traps
  • Surround with multiple sticky traps, all also baited.


  • Bait gone
  • Snap traps empty
  • No mouse captured.

Victory in Attempt to Capture the Mouse

Now the mouse has me frustrated, angry and feeling stupid. I can’t stand being outsmarted by a mouse, yet all my best efforts fail. At this point I’d like to pay for professional rodent removal services, but my pride won’t let me.

I’m thinking I might have to purchase a professional mouse-baiting trap.

Sixth Action:

  • Take all steps previously used in the fifth attempt to capture the mouse
  • Remove bag of grated cheese from refrigerator
  • Sprinkle grated cheese over all traps and all open regions of the drawer.


  • Success, my honor exonerated – The mouse is captured
  • Dispose of waste
  • Clean drawer
  • Wash utensils
  • Back to normal life without rodents in the home.”

Lesson Learned from Battle with Single Mouse in Home

If one mouse can be so difficult to capture, imagine dealing with many mice scratching in the walls, ceiling or attic. Sounds stressful, right? Learn a  lesson for the sake of your home’s cleanliness and your own peace of mind: if there ever comes a time when the walls speak and there are droppings in the drawers…

Contact Carolina Pest Management. It’s the place to go for regional Charlotte safer, greener and more effective pest control, including quick and reliable Carolina rodent control. It’s also the humane way to go for better wildlife removal and control.

By Kristin Dodd

Kristin Dodd, the President of Carolina Pest Management, has been with the company full-time for over 20 years, but has been a part of the family-owned business for much longer. She is currently an active board member of the North Carolina Pest Management Association, and was the President from 2010-2011. She is a licensed operator in...

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