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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"There's No Such Thing As Only One Mouse"

What would you do if you were sitting on the couch one night, watching some TV, and suddenly this guy
bounded into your peripheral vision, stood completely still in a pose that can only be described as "sudden terrified recognition of having made a gross miscalculation," then glared defiantly at you and dashed under the pink Flintstones-esque molded plastic car that your daughter loves to drive around the house? (Photo thanks to these guys.)

You'd send your husband over to investigate, armed with a giant plastic container and lid, obviously.

Of course, the mouse would be long gone by the time he got there, seeing as mice travel at near teleportation speed.

Also, they can make themselves invisible.

Or at least, they can fit under any doorway and through any crevice that is big enough to admit the thickness of a pencil. Which effectively means they can make themselves invisible because that pretty much describes every door and cupboard in my entire house, not to mention every piece of furniture, bit of hanging decor, and raft of Hello Kitty jammies on the floor. Crevices and easement GALORE in a house with two children, I tell you. Not to mention a particularly goodly assortment of crumbs, certainly enough to keep one or two continents worth of mice alive for long enough to get through a few breeding cycles (which are only 21 days!!).

So, back to the what would you do.

You'd ask Google what to do about a "mouse in house." And then you'd learn all sorts of cheerful facts, such as that female mice can produce up to ten litters of 5-6 babies per year, that their pregnancies are so blissfully short that you won't even have watched all the season openers of the shows you couldn't wait to start watching again before that one defiant wretch under the pink car has produced offspring, and that they are all notoroiously hard to get rid of.


And then you'd read some more about traps (both the death and live varieties) and bait, and in weighing the disgustingness of removing dead mice from traps, you would also learn that releasing live mice back into the wild of your backyard has been studied and PROVEN to produce a greater likelihood of increased mouse activity inside your house. Sort of a rodent combination of "you guys aren't going to believe the treasure trove of warm yummy things I just found" with "AND they tried to kick me out...we'll show them!!"

This site will tell you that "Although cats, dogs and other predators may kill mice, they do not give effective control in most circumstances." Which, duh, my dog and I already know.

It also refers to the presences of a mouse in one's house as an "infestation" -- a word I have to say I'm not that excited to embrace.

I would like to think that the guy I saw was a rogue. A fearful deviant. A unique specimen. After all, I lived in an apartment with mice before (oh, yes, in the plural), and there was much evidence of them to be seen all over. (If you prefer the polite euphamism, skip this aside. If you want the gory details, I'll just tell you that mouse poop is, unlike mice themselves, NOT invisible.) But there is no evidence yet in our house. There are no teeth marks on the wooden utensils, no tell-tale droppings anywhere in the kitchen.

I want to believe that what I saw the other night was the exception that proves the rule. It was the ONLY ONE MOUSE who accidentally wandered into our house and has already beaten a hasty retreat. (These helpful folks are totally laughing at me right now for believing this.)

But some small part of me knows that in the next day or so -- before these recent immigrants can bear the first generation of offspring in this, their new country -- I will have to buy mouse traps. And bait them. And put them all over the house in places where the mice might go but the children will not. And then listen for their sharp snaps. And rinse and repeat.

Anyone who has any advice on the matter, please feel free to squeak up. I will take all the help I can get.


E... said...

I JUST wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. So far, the mice are only in our garage (we HOPE), but since our garage is sort of an extended living room of toys, riding vehicles, and the rolling mobile home that is my van, I don't want them in there, either. Speaking from experience, and the advice of friends, I'd say go with the cheap-o neck cracking traps. We've had the best luck with them, and while you'll feel a little pang of sadness when you dump him in the trash (trap and all -- no reuse here!), it's better than watching him struggle in the glue! Nutella works great -- combo of nuts and chocoate as a bait. We haven't won the war yet, but my husband still needs to get rid of the woodpile right beside the garage which is their real home.

LceeL said...

I just found that we have two, TWO, mice living in our garage.

And they have eaten their way through half a box of paintballs.

Who knew paintballs were made with fish oil?

Now I have these heart healthy mice in my garage.

Not for long.

3 Crazy Irishmen said...

A sure sign fall is coming around here! Our house is 200 years old and with a fieldstone foundation, there is NOTHING I can do about the mice. We've lived in general harmony for the last four years but this past winter we did give in and get a cat. She is pretty effective, though I can hear them skitter in the walls periodically. My two year old just lovingly came to me caressing a "See, Mama, mouse!!" to prove the cat is doing her job... a fresh kill, no less. :(

I highly recommend peanut butter mixed with bird seed for the traps. Though we don't trap much anymore. Before the cat, we could trap 5 or more a week, but now we rarely see any and haven't been able to trap any so either they are getting smarter or she is keeping the population at least a little bit at bay! Don't use the glue traps...ugh! They are supposed to be "humane" but they were horrific when they did work and getting the gook off a four-year-old accidentally-placed foot was no fun either!

I refuse to kill any personally as I already have bad mouse karma from five years of TB experiments on them in grad school so I try to live happily with them until my husband goes on a trapping spree! :) Best of luck, though!

Marybeth Poppins said...

Good luck. We've been dealing with these creatures on and off all summer. Every time we leave our garage open for more than an hour...we get a new visitor! UGH.

I hope you have luck ridding your house of your new friends.

AnnetteK said...

Bummer! Yeah, if there's one there's at least a few. My cat keeps them away for us, but he's a particularly good hunter.

Lisa said...

I had one in my laundry room ... which lead me to find a home in our garage and droppings in my, what-I-thought-was-clean, pantry (GROSS!)
We used all types of traps throughout the house, cayght a bunch and thought we conquered them, until I almost stepped on a live on (sticky trap) smack dab in front of my basement steps.
Get containers for ALL open food and trap, trap, trap!!!
Good luck!

suze said...

i was going to say peanut butter, but I'm sure nutella is even tastier

Shannon said...

Oh my god, every other line of this made me pee my pants. Seriously, my kingdom for a couch and one more evening with you.

Now, I had a house with "a" mouse, too. We laid out 8 bazillion traps and only had to once empty them. See, happy furry friend is smart and once he sees his neckless buddies, he runs for it. If you lay enough traps the first time. Make a bold statement, sister, and they will vacate.

ree said...

Want to borrow my fearless hunter? She's great at fly-catching and moth-squashing. ;-)

mep said...

Oh, don't sweat it. I'm sure it was just that ONE mouse!

MidLifeMama said...

We have had a rogue mouse on occaision. We have used the sticky pad traps, as our mice seem to be stupid enough to step on them. The problem then becomes disposal. I refuse to release them back into the wild, for reasons you have outlined. So I become the mouse judge, jury and executioner. I explain that if he/she had just stayed outside we would not be at the moment in time. I am swift and merciful and that is all I will say about my technique. The spring traps work pretty well too, and peanut butter is definitely the lure to use. Then you toss the whole thing out and start over.

Jaina said...

Ugh. We had some in our office recently, and the bf's parents had some in their house. Sticky pads work pretty well...at the house they finally had to use a couple of those poison wedges to get rid of the last of them. Good luck!

GingerB said...

I have an older home, with cracks much bigger than a pencil in many places. My husband had been working on tightening up the ship but we still have access. We just use poison that the exterminators tell us is dog safe and we put it where we hope babies and dogs can't fit. Sadly, it helps. I cannot live with the traps. So many ways the disposal goes badly. So. Many.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have "occasional Mice" in my cellar and put out peppermint oil on cottonballs. Advice from a herbalist last year and so far so good. I am loudly knocking on wood. Good luck. Julie

Anonymous said...

I saw a rougue mouse yesterday and thought, cheeky! But at that point i could have let it be... then today i saw it twice stirring me to go out and buy to spring traps. SNAP!! 1 hour later no more mouse. Now i wonder if there will be more?

Anonymous said...

Ugh I just caught one. I hope that was all. It was a sneaky devil. Bored a hole from under my dog's food and treat cabinet, so I wasn't seeing any evidence of it. One night my husband was out of town and I could hear it gnawing without his snoring around.

Anonymous said...

So my daughter and husband found one in our bathroom closet which I'm seriously trying to figure out how he got in. I filled every hole in this house years ago. I've been here since 2006 and this is the first time I've actually had one in my home. I purchase snap traps, glue traps, and those Victor Electronic sound devices that has that sound that annoys them. I'm really wondering will these things work. Has anyone ever tried them? He is dead today...but I am soooooo praying that he was the only one. I am super afraid of mice and I've become a prisoner in my own home. Something has to change!!


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