The Blaming of the Shrew!

By: John

As I check on homes each week I am finding a new pest this year—shrews.

At first I mistook them for a mouse, which we find coming in homes every year. But unlike mice, they have a long snout and long teeth. They are actually not rodents at all, but related to moles. They eat insects, worms, and seeds and have a very high metabolism, requiring them to feed constantly. I have found them in Lake Geneva, Elkhorn, Williams Bay and Fontana; so it is not just an isolated incident.

How do they get in your home?

They normally live outside unnoticed. However, they can find their way into a home through any small opening. The most common access point I have seen on homes is where the electric service enters the house.

A hole is drilled through the wall and the wire is fed through it, but it is not always sealed up with a filler.  It may not be easy to tell if this is the case in your home because the electric meter box often covers the hole outside, and interior walls may cover it inside. But mice and shrews can sense the warmth and get behind the meter box and get in. If walls are unfinished, place your hand near any hole that was drilled through the wall and see if you can feel cold air entering. If so, look for droppings or torn insulation—evidence that this is the access point.

What to do if they are already in?

The best method is placing traps (e.g glue boards or snap traps) along runways such as along the base of walls. Snap traps should be placed perpendicular to the wall; i.e. with the bait toward the wall. Peanut butter is an effective bait.  If one is caught, put your hand inside a plastic bag, pick up the trap and turn the bag inside out around it; seal the bag and discard it in the trash. Avoid handling directly due to the potential for disease transmission. Never handle a live shrew as they can be aggressive.

If you have problems with pest invasions and need someone to manage the situation, call us at TLC Property Services at
(262) 245-8828 and we can take it from there.