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Mice In the Home

Alison Thomas

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
But not just in the home, like scurrying across the floor. Oh no, they're in the dishwasher, and today I've found that they're even in the electric ovens! We hardly use the electric ovens for cooking because we have a lovely woodburning range right next to it but we often use them as cupboards. Now we can't because the mice have found a way though the back into it and are even eating the insulating rope around the doors! I normally appreciate that they live here too and I am quite tolerant of them (much to my relatives' disgust) but this is one step beyond my tolerance. If we use traps then I realise that some will get 'got' but surely if some find their way in then others will just follow. Oh what to do?
dave brenneman

Joined: Jan 14, 2011
Posts: 38
Location: london, england
Note: this post has descriptions of killing rodents.

We had numerous mouse issues in our previous apartments. Here's what helped me:

1: reduce their reason to get inside. Seal up dry goods in jars, make sure counters and floor are clean of food bits and also dry - they will visit around the sink to drink water.
2: make outside seem like a better choice. Is there a woodpile or some other appealing habitat mice could go instead? Is a cat or terrier an option?
3: remove the ones that do show up. I opted for lethal traps rather than catch and release. I didn't have as much luck with snap-traps, so i made up one. It was single-use only before resetting, but remarkably effective, though a little on the grim side.

Supplies: Semi-rigid plastic bag, like a pretzel or crisp bag. Large trash can. peanut butter. water. scissors.

Fill trashcan about 1/3rd to halfway full. This can was about twice the height of a 5gal bucket.
Take the plastic bag and cut the two bottom corners off at a diagonal. This is to allow water into the bag.
Small dab of peanut butter goes in the bottom of the bag. Bag is balanced halfway off the countertop, positioned over the trashcan, before you go to bed.

Either my partner or I would hear the bag rustling and then fall into the can. I would get up, go in the kitchen and kill the mouse as quickly as possible. The water is there as a failsafe; the first version of the trap didn't have water in the bucket, and when I came out to the kitchen, the mouse was jumping around frantically before it was dispatched. Falling into water is no treat either, but at least that way if you don't hear the trap, the mouse will drown.

If the idea of executing the mouse by hand is troublesome, remove the bag and pour water+mouse down the toilet. We only did that once or twice; each time the quantity of water was sufficient to send the rodent down the drain.

This trap is my adaptation of what my dad told me they used to do to get rid of rats in the barn when he was growing up: something similar to this method

I had a remarkably high success rate with this method; the only thing that was comparable was glue traps, which I really don't like to use. When we used glue traps, I would make sure the mouse was dead before tossing the trap, but that still meant the mouse was stuck there all day until I checked the trap. A friend has seen people pick up a glue trap, mouse still alive but adhered, and toss it in the trash. That's downright cruel, if you ask me.

Zone 9, southern UK

Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 107
snap trap, $1 victor traps. peanut butter as bait. i've killed five in the past week and a half. yes, i like to tolerate other creatures too. yes, having mouse shit and piss all over the kitchen counters is not healthy for human beings.
Vera Lothian

Joined: Dec 05, 2011
Posts: 21
Location: Wiltshire UK
I use snap traps. I will not tolerate mice in my house they urinate nonstop get into everything and are just plain unhygenic. They only ever get in the loft otherwise the cats get them.

zone 8, 382.5 square meter garden 2 up 2 down 1920's ex-council house. heavy clay soil
Alison Thomas

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
Well the trouble is that they're NOT on the work surfaces (counters in US?) nor on the floors as we have 4 cats and they're good mousers and I'm a good floor sweeper. Every food item that's not in the fridge is in a plastic container or a tin so as not to tempt them. But they come in the hot air vent of the dishwasher and the oven - admittedly there are crumbs on the plates in the dishwasher but not generally in the oven. And they're getting in to our outdoor food store as well - potatoes, carrots, beetroots, none have escaped their nibbling. What do folk do who have root cellars?

Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 107
yes, work surfaces = counters in US. would snap traps not work in the oven? by snap trap, je veux dire:

Thelma McGowan

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
I year we did not have any cats .....we hadmice droppings in every room and the little buggers were every where....Yuck

Cats are the best Natural all safe chemical free way to remove the mice problem. as soon as we got a couple of cats the mice were never to be seen or heard from again.

There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
jacque greenleaf

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
If you want a permanent solution, you must block off all the places they are getting into the house. Any space as large as a dime (about half an inch?) must be blocked with fine mesh metal screening or flashing. They will run through the walls along the wiring and the plumbing and nest in the insulation and then enter the living space through gaps around pipes and even through gaps around electric outlets and fixtures. They climb very well. They will chew through some caulks. In addition to the obvious health and sanitation problems, they will chew on electric wires and have been known to cause fires.

The most immediate thing to do is make sure your food storage places have no gaps between the cabinet and wall, and that the cabinet doors latch securely. Keep your food put away and keep your counters free of crumbs. Then go on a gap hunt on the exterior of your house, and block *every* gap that might let a mouse in, from the roof ridge to the bottom of the basement, including door jambs and thresholds. Otherwise, you'll always have to be trapping and killing them in your house.

I don't hate mice - I have been known to rescue them! - but they are a real hazard inside your house.

Cats differ in their mouse-killing tendencies. I've had cats that would bring their live catches inside the house to show off!
Lori Crouch

Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
I used to live in the mountains in Virginia and the mouse issue in our house was exactly as you are describing. We used the mouse trap and it was too sad for me to handle, so I threw them away. We used the bricks ( teal colored) and those worked great until I saw a mouse in the throws of death; couldn't handle it--bye bye bricks. After this, I did essentially what the first poster stated. I made a wonderful outside home for them. I sealed off every hole I could find in the house, put everything in sealed containers, and blocked off all water supplies. During this time I was making a safety nest for them outside with shelter and food scraps. When they starved for a few days I made a trail out the door and into the shelter. It took them a week of finding this consistent food trail leading to the shelter and they decided to live there instead. Never saw them again, but I'm sure the black snakes all over that property doubled with that new food source, at least they seemed to.
Stacy Zoozwick

Joined: Dec 15, 2011
Posts: 74
We had the same problem in our house 3 years ago when we moved in. I tried traps for about 3 months. All of a sadon it seemed they got smart and would not go into the traps. So I went with the tried and true, cats. I have tree cat that do more in one night than than traps did in 3 months. I however don’t like cat litter in the house at all! So I trained them in the summer months to be outside all day and bring in at night. They are potty trained like dogs, they do not go in the house, they wait till morning to go outside. Same for the winter months, however because of our frigid winters here in WI you can’t let them get use to heat then throw them outside for the day. So I have a litter box on our porch not in house. I let them out 3 time a day and they are fine. No mice No rats, and they love to cuddle on a cold day.
Marcia Young

Joined: Jan 15, 2012
Posts: 1
just got registered here so I am a newbie,,but was interested in knowing if you had solved your mouse problem? thought I would pass on some info that really helped us,,if you have a barn where you have a mouse problem,,put some peanut butter on the bottom of a deep barrel..add some cracked corn or sweetfeed,,not much just enough to tantilize,,the mice fall in the barrel, can't get out,,in the morning you can either set them free somewhere else or feed them to your chickens,,they are great protien for the egg layers and it is a handy way to teach your chickens to keep the mouse population down..for the mice in your house put fresh or dried mint in your cabinets and drawers,,you can make a sashet or just sprinkle the leaves around,,mice hate the smell of mint..Plant some around the foundation of your abode..not only does it smell wonderful on hot summer days but you can keep the mice away and enjoy yummy mint tea when you harvest. mint jelly is also a favorite with lamb or goat meat and chocolate mint jelly is sooooo good with homemade goatmilk icecream..good luck
Nemo Lhamo

Joined: Dec 17, 2011
Posts: 14
Find where they get in. I would use expansion foam and then steel wool or metal mesh for the last inch. They hate steel wool. It pokes their noses and they won't pull it out. Even a hole you can barely get your pinky in is big enough. The smell of mouse pee lasts for years. So disgusting. Chewing the insulation off your wiring and spreading disease and fleas.

For traps I used the non lethal variety. I think peanut butter and bacon is the best attractant. Drive the mice FAR away. I've seen some racing me the 100 metres back to the house.
Walter Jeffries

Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 1029
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
We used to live in an old (230 year) farm house. It was impossible to make rodent proof. Snap traps, rat poison, cats, mouser dogs all helped but there were always mice.

Now we live in a tight, solid, masonry house. There are no mice in it. They can not get in. We have foot thick walls and they can't chew through them. I love it.

I have nothing against mice, outside. But I do not like them in my living space. They make too much noise.

Alison Thomas

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
Marcia, that's interesting about the mint - that's one we could try in the dishwasher. Our cats do a great job where they can actually see the mice but there seem to be lots of nooks and crannies where the mice have 'runs' - like behind all the heavy funrniture.

Our house is old and has overhanging eaves where the mice can get in oh-so-easily, or up through the floor and it's impossible to seal up all the spaces. Yes, Walter, it's the endless scratching that's irritating, wondering wether they have scratched through yet more plasterboard. At night it wakes me up - grrrr.

I'm hoping to store lots of produce next year (squashes, beans, corn - can you tell I've read Carol Deppe ) but I think it would just be mouse-heaven. How on earth do homesteaders cope? Do you just grow extra to account for losses? What about root cellars - are they over-run with rodents?
Casey Homecroft

Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 20
Location: Ohio, Zone 6a
Last year, I moved back into the old farmhouse that I grew up in, and I feel your pain about mice. They were everywhere! I would be sitting in a chair reading or watching a movie, and they would run right across the floor in front of me. I have two cats, but they hadn't made the move to the old house yet, so I tried snap traps. I did catch a few, but others somehow learned how to get all of the peanut butter off of them without setting them off! Still, quite disgusting to find little black "pellets" everywhere, including the kitchen counter and my laundry basket. Yuck!

Fast forward a couple months... my two cats made the move to the farmhouse, and -I kid you not- overnight the mice disappeared. I don't even think the cats ever caught one. I think the mice realized that there were new resident predators and skipped town.

Of course, I still see mice out in the barn and chicken coop, so maybe they just decided those were more hospitable places to take up residence. Maybe you could build a "mouse house" shelter of some sort somewhere away from your house to lure them away, especially during the colder months?
gani et se

Joined: Apr 24, 2011
Posts: 215
Location: Douglas County OR
not just the noise!
I was living in a cabin where an occasional mouse would get in. One night I got up to figure out where to put the snap trap, because a mouse had just moved in. I was standing quietly by the bed, listening for where it was moving when there was a sharp pain in my bare toe. The bugger had bitten me! I screamed like the sissy I am. But I laid out the trap and got that mouse.
p.s. As a sissy, I always use gloves when I dispose of dead mice. (But not white ones)

Intermountain (Cascades and Coast range) oak savannah, 550 - 600 ft elevation. USDA zone 7a. Arid summers, soggy winters
Abe Coley

Joined: Nov 13, 2010
Posts: 88
Location: Missoula, MT
i think cats and mint are the way to go.

i've also heard that many rodents have an instinctual fear of the smell of cat pee, and they desperately avoid places where the smell pervades. perhaps you could concoct an aromatic tincture of cat urine that's sub-threshold for your own nose but detectable to the mice.

Me: http://www.abecoley.com
Taylor Stewart

Joined: Feb 15, 2012
Posts: 45
A mix of flour, sugar, and baking soda can kill mice and rats. Rats and mice can't burp, so if there's enough baking soda it will close off their windpipe and kill them. I know it sounds kinda rough, but when you consider standard poison takes 3 days for them to bleed out....it seems a bit more humane. I always try to hit a big infestation with a multi-prong approach. We had a serious rat problem on the farm I currently work on, thanks to some poor choices for grain storage. I started with poison and a pellet gun (there were a lot of rats), added traps and then moved to cats for a long term fix. The biggest thing is keeping the populations from getting out of control and eliminating excess food such as poorly stored seed, feed, grain, trash etc.

I'm sure providing good habitat outside may attract mice to inhabit the area, but I would be careful about the distance from your residence. If you provide a good place for them to breed, and there are not enough predators, you may exacerbate your problem.
Sherry Smith

Joined: Feb 10, 2012
Posts: 1
Put all your food in Glass Jars with tight fitting lids. Mice cannot chew through glass as far as I know. This also helps to keep bugs and other critters out of your food and makes your house less inviting to these problems. Hope that helps.
Andrew Parker

Joined: Feb 13, 2012
Posts: 467
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
Another thing to remember is to not leave your animal's food and water out overnight. If possible, it would be better to not leave the food unattended at all (I lose a lot of food to magpies and starlings). Try to get your animals to feed at specific times of the day and only give them what they will eat right then (I keep trying but have never been successful at it, but I do put their food away at night). This also helps with general varmint problems.

Rats and mice are insectivores. If you have a lot of bugs (we get box elder bugs year-round) and spiders in your house, that may be all a mouse needs to survive. They will still go on patrol throughout the house, leaving their calling cards in closets, dressers, desks, hampers, etc.. A house is a big draw as shelter as much as a food source.

I hate to use poison, not that I feel any great empathy for the mice, I just don't like the smell of rotting corpses wafting through the house for months afterward or finding their dessicated remains while rummaging about, but all the mouse infestations I have had were only ended after I broke down and put out poison bait.

My hens also love to eat mice. Maybe they have been chasing them into the house? I also hesitate to use poison because I am unsure what will happen to my hens if they eat a fat lethargic poisoned mouse staggering around the yard, but if the mother-in-law is coming to town, the poison gets used.

Growing up, I didn't think much about mice, but after the hantavirus scare, I consider them a bit more sinister, and I have become absolutely obsessive about soaking the droppings with bleach and only slowly sweeping them up, so as not to risk aerosolizing them.
Neil Evansan

Joined: Jan 10, 2012
Posts: 69
Location: Valley of the Sun
A Mouse, it appears, got into my house
And while I’m not happy, I’ve decided not to grouse.

What now can I do now with this pesky young mouse?
I can make him a Teacher instead of just a louse.

So, what can I learn as a student of a mouse?
Oh, there’s plenty to see as he scurries ‘round the house

how he moves and evades the several traps I have set
(so-far they’re non-lethal, so don’t worry or fret)

Each new wall he encounters, he studies, and then
Finds a way to surmount it, and disappears once again.

Later, I’ll hear him, and erect one more barrier
And quickly he solves it, with no sweat off his derriere.

Each time he is blocked, he finds a way to go around
His solutions are simple, which makes them profound.

When stopped, he doesn’t focus on how to avoid
Rather, when confronted, he doesn’t seem much annoyed

(now, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t worry
when he hears me approach, he’s ALL hurry flurry scurry)

So, what have I learned from this mouse as a Teacher?
Define my Main Goal, and be determined to reach’er

and when I’m confronted with a big’ol new wall
I don’t think to avoid it; I think how it will fall.

So where is he now, when he’s not on the rove?
He’s where I can't reach him, deep inside of my stove.

How now do I get this young mouse back outdoors
When he’s no longer in the cold he no doubt abhors?

Right now, I’m not sure, but of this, I am certain
I’ll test these suggestions, to give this mouse his final curtain!

I AM a Warrior in whom
the ways of the Olde
enhance the ways of the New
Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
all I can think of is to try screen..our neighbors have a huge problem with mice too..


Bloom where you are planted.
Chaya Foedus

Joined: Feb 20, 2012
Posts: 16
Vera Lothian wrote:I use snap traps. I will not tolerate mice in my house they urinate nonstop get into everything and are just plain unhygenic. They only ever get in the loft otherwise the cats get them.

I didn't previously know this until in a conversation with our local health inspector. He told me that it's true, they NEVER STOP peeing. Ever. And that using a blue light in the dark room will show you everywhere they've been. Apparently, their urine glows in the dark. Apart from the cool party trick, it might help you determine their nests and point of entry.

Produce, Prepare, Preserve your own food surplus
Alison Thomas

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
Taylor, the 'concoction' had me interested but then I thought about them decaying somewhere (like the one that fell into the coolant of our fridge/freezer - oh boy, did that stink!).

Andrew - ha, we have the opposite 'issue' - our animals eat all their food in an instant (so it seems) and then pretend that they haven't been fed.

Sherry - I could quite believe that glass is the only thing they can't chew through! The trouble is that I think all the stored roots etc have to have air circulation or they go mouldy. What do homesteaders do who grow lots of veg to last them through the winter?

Neil - love the poem. I have to say that's one of the reasons that I have resisted trapping them because I am actually partly in awe of how darned clever and tenacious they are. They just don't see stuff as obstacles, just challenges - what spirit!

Well we've had a VERY cold spell ( I think it made international headlines!) and all of a sudden there seems to be a lot less scratching in walls and stuff so either the cold has reduced their numbers somewhat or they have gone into hibernation. I've decided to leave the dishwasher empty for a few days to see if they think "Oh, food source dried up, let's go somewhere else" and I've been leaving the oven doors open so that any escapees get got by the cats. In fact, one of our cats has gone into rodent-killing overdrive and even managed to get the rat that had been stealing our hens eggs for ages. We'd had no luck in trapping it but Hobbes just sat there day after day until he got it. We had a celebration

Yuk, that's horrid about the pee - it sure does stink. I wonder if I dare get a blue light?
rowean mcroy

Joined: Feb 21, 2012
Posts: 3
Okay couple of things on the topic of mice lots of traps and plugging holes are good starts, you can also get things that you plug in that emit a sound that repels rodants. If you are opposed to poison and they keep stealing the bait from your traps, try mixing plaster of paris with oatmeal and leave it places for them. The plaster hardens in thier guts and kills them so you don't have to worry about something else eating them and getting sick. As for the storage of vegtables in ones root celler I recomend trying to put things in sacks/net bags/old pantyhouse and hanging them from the roof of your root celler if you are haveing a rodant problem(do not use regular plastic bags things must breath, net or mesh of somekind is best)
. Other things you can do to make your house less attractive is keep a compost pile that is rodant accesable about 20 feet from your house this will seem very attractive to rodants in the fall and help prevent them from likeing your house as a place to live and a source of food for the winter. rodants love compost piles specailly if you use them all winter. They are warm and there is lots to eat for them and they help with the composting process there is no lose there. If you are keeping cats to help with the mice you want females as they tend to be better mousers then male cats.
Suzanne Cornell

Joined: Apr 19, 2012
Posts: 44
Location: Chemung NY
I haven't tried it yet but a tribal elder told me that they used to store 2-3 years worth of veggies ( root) and grain underground. This is how they kept rodents out. They would build stone root cellars and line the outside of them with wood ash 4-6 inches deep as they back filled it in, including the top. The door was a large stone that covered a hole that you could wiggle through. That was also covered in ash and back filled. Ready for when they needed it. I don't know how the ash worked as a deterrent perhapse the outside layer turned to lye and was too caustic for the critters? The ash would have insulated the whole structure on all sides except for the floor.. Would matain a good constant temp. Maybe this would keep mice out of our root cellars?

A life worth living is one with no regrets.
marty reed

Joined: Dec 09, 2010
Posts: 120
what yeah need is a rat killing dogs like these on youtube warning may not be suitable for all veiwers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxQksEF2uso
Alison Thomas

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
Marty, didn't dare watch the video but I can imagine! One of our cats is fairly swift on the rat front.

But now it's war on the mice. We've lived peaceably with them for 3 years now but all of a sudden there's been an explosion in numbers (might be because it's so wet outside now after a mini heatwave in March) and the last straw was when one ran across my pillow whilst I was IN bed and poo-d as it went!!! They have made nests in the wardrobe with materials gathered (chewed) from our best wollens and pure cotton things, chewed holes on sheets, chewed through the packaging on a brand new sheet and made five holes in it so now it's useless and not even out of the wrapper, pee-d all over everything so now I'm having to wash the entire wardrobe contents and that makes me angry because we try hard not to use the washing machine too much for environmental reasons, there were 10 in the dishwasher the other night, and they're even eating aluminium foil that's in the oven. So the snap traps have been bought and primed and the hens have been told to expect some tasty treats soon.
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
subject: Mice In the Home