When Mice Invaded the White House

President Obama recently had a problem with cockroaches in the White House, but he’s not the first resident of the 213-year-old building to have a pest problem. It’s worth chuckle today, but back in 1977 when mice invaded the White House, President Jimmy Carter wasn’t laughing.

According to a humorous National Journal account, the White House rodent battle is legendary. In a typical governmental snafu, a turf war between two federal agencies turned a small problem into a huge headache.

Responsible for maintaining the interior of the White House, the General Services Administration told the President it had eliminated all inside mice and insisted that new mice had come from outside the building, making them the responsibility of the Interior Department which manages the building’s exterior maintenance. Interior said its hands were tied because the mice were now inside the building and out of its jurisdiction.

The pest control problem came to a head when mice started running across the President’s desk and the smell of dead mouse cast a pall over the Oval Office. An irritated President told agency heads to solve the problem or risk being fired. An epic two-month battle ensued and 61 mice were caught before peace again reigned in the White House.

The moral of the story? When mice invade, call Stern for expert commercial mouse and rat extermination.