My husband is righteously paranoid about rodent infestation. What I mean to say is he is The Guardian of the Wires. Once we had field mice invade our office (a rustic affair with doors opening to garden and seed storage areas) only to gnaw on the computer wiring as is their nature. This situation caused a lot of havoc and inconvenience, leading to certain rules.
His #1 rule is: No Eating In the Office so as not to provide undue attraction to hungry rodents. Rule #2: If you see poop, report and identify. In other words, keep your eyes peeled for evidence (usually poop) of rodents and report same promptly to The Guardian for verification and identification. Rule #3 of course is trap and bait swiftly and often.
So, my husband noticed some poop on the ping pong table. It was tiny poop, and taking a cursory look at it I allowed it could be very small mice. Very small acrobatic mice, since the table is at table height with no convenient overhangs to jump from. And, the back of my mind kept nagging, Why would mice hang out on a ping pong table?
Bait was set out, each night the table was swept clean, each morning new ever larger poop appeared. Eventually my husband started sweeping off the table in the morning, too, and what do you know? Poop appeared in mid-day also.
You're probably guessing what I should have known all along. Near the ping pong table are some buddleia that were planted in June. I had a look at them and found some beautiful bluish grey grasshoppers (among other things) peacefully chewing the leaves. I captured one of them in a Trader Joe's pineapple chunk container, and left it with some leaves over night to see what, ahem, emerged. Sure enough, the grasshopper's poop matched that on the ping pong table. Poop mystery solved.
Those buddleia were bought from a production nursery in Orange. The grasshopper eggs must have been in the container soil, and they hatched after planting. I am not sure what species they are, but they have not been seen in our yard before. Man continues to prove his/her worth as a formidable agent of insect dispersal.
Why the grasshoppers are attracted to the ping pong table I don't know. It's fun to visualize them jumping around up there, though, first one side of the net then the other bouncing back and forth making points and poop.