Mice: My Nemeses

November 8, 2011

Food Storage

Since my previous posting about mice, we have continued to battle them.  They are a thorn in my side.  If only our rabbits were so prolific!

I’ve learned a few things in the recent months of this war that I thought I’d share with you.

  1. Mice are inexplicably drawn to silicone kitchen utensils. I have no idea why, but they will climb up to anywhere I store them and chew on them.  Apparently it doesn’t kill them either.
  2. The pinch kind of mousetraps don’t work well.  We tried those first because they were less likely to break an unsuspecting person’s finger if they came upon them.  Occasionally, they will actually kill a small mouse, but more often they will drag the trap off and either escape or die in a place where you cannot find them.  And then the stink sets in…
  3. It is possible to get two mice at once in the same trap!  I was nearly giddy.
  4. Cats will fight over a dead mouse being emptied from a trap.  On the one hand, this annoys me because I want them to catch their own.  On the other hand, if they find them that delicious, maybe they are motivated to hunt more between freebies.  Really, how filling could a mouse be?
  5. Natural peanut butter (the kind with lots of oil) is nearly irresistible to mice.  It is also very aromatic.
  6. Add a fresh smear of peanut oil to the traps each day, even if they are not tripped.  The peanut butter on them will dry out and lose its attractiveness.
  7. Find out where they get water and bait there.  I suspect they lick condensation off of pipes because we catch them in places (like under sinks) where there is no food source but possibly water.
  8. Place traps along their pathways.  They tend to hug baseboards and run behind furniture.  You may be able to catch them just because of the traffic pattern even if your bait doesn’t draw them.
  9. Count on the mousetraps beginning to go off as soon as you drift off to sleep.  That loud snap in an otherwise quiet house will jolt you out of a lovely dream, but at least it’s for a good cause.  🙂

What other tricks or tips do you have to share for outsmarting these awful little vermin?

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14 Comments on “Mice: My Nemeses”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    The reason the mice are under your sink is because that is probably where they are coming into the house. They can squeeze through tiny holes/cracks. put some caulk in the cracks by the pipes, no matter how tiny the crack is. Also, look around under the cavity under the sink and caulk any seams in corners under the sink. If you have a basement or crawl space, caulk from underneath. They might eat the caulk if it is silicone…lol. Stuff in bits of steel wool, then caulk.

    I bought coyote pee, seriously, to scare off a raccoon, but it will work for scaring off mice. Go to a hunting store. I was at the point that I did not care if the whole house smelled of coyote pee. Actually, once the ceiling was back up, there was NO smell.

    Examine where the mice pills are. If you can find the pattern, this might also help you find where they come in. The trail each morning led me to pull out the stove where I discovered the entry. But, this was a rat. Where I sealed off the entry above and below in the basement, I had no more rat. It was coming in and snacking on my bananas on the counter. Ewwww.

    I would store silicone in the refrigerator. That is odd, their predilection for silicone.


    • Jeff Says:

      Instead of coyote pee, try your standard, off the shelf mothballs. We had a mouse infestation in our RV. What a mess. After a complete clean up and decontamination, a friend suggested mothballs. They use them when winterizing their cabin. We tried this and no more mice. We also pack any food in glass or metal containers to prevent attraction and access.


  2. Beck Says:

    My sister used those glue boards in her basement and ended up catching 5 small snakes. My question wasy, where is the mama snake?


  3. Twelvetoe Says:

    To be most effective, set the traps out unarmed for a couple days. Mice are naturally wary of things that are new. This way they realize that the traps are not a threat and then all of a sudden the non threatening thing has food! I got 5 mice in one night with the same trap. (Not at once. Consecutively.) Also be sure to empty the traps immediately. If you don’t the other mice will just turn the dead one into a meal. Ewww.


  4. Laura Says:

    Thanks so much to all of you for your insights!

    Practical Parsimony, your thoughts about sealing off the points of entry for the mice is a great one. However, we live in a 110 year old house that has settled so that there isn’t one level floor or 90 degree angle anywhere. We’ve discovered that in some areas, there is only newspaper for insulation. The house is like a sieve. Unfortunately, there is no way to seal it up completely. We love this place- it has lots of character and room to stretch our legs- but it is a definite fixer-upper! I will look into the possibility of predator urine.

    Twelvetoe, we have learned we must empty the traps immediately too, but for a different reason. We’ve never had one cannibalized by other mice, but instead the “smell of death” seems to remain on the trap if there for more than a few hours and then we don’t catch anymore mice with it. There have been some episodes when we have caught a whole new family of mice. I think our biggest haul in one day was 11! Isn’t that awful? And what may be equally awful is that the preschoolers beg to see them before we dispose of them to see if the trap caught them in such a way as to make the eyes bug out. Uggh!

    One more plus about having chickens I never mentioned was that they catch and eat mice too. I’ve seen in many times out in the yard. You go, girls!


    • Dennis Says:

      We also have a 100+ year old house. After debating on the high price we had Retro Foam insulate with spray foam. It works beyond anything I could imagine. We heat 3000 sq ft with wood and am amazed at the improvement with this insulation. I do not have anything to do with Retro Foam other than being a very satisfied customer.


      • Laura Says:

        Thanks for that suggestion. We have discussed that possibility (renting the equipment to do the blow-in type or hiring someone) to fill the walls but then we back off when we think about having to fool with repairing the plaster walls where we make the holes. Are your walls plaster? Did you have any problems?

        We looked into replacing our mostly single-paned, painted closed windows for energy efficiency too. The company pretty much convinced us that there is little point in replacing only some, but to do all of them was outrageous. And we were afraid we would be opening a mighty big can of worms by removing them. What if all the framing material in the walls had to be replaced because it couldn’t support the weight of the newer better windows, etc?

        Old houses definitely have their charm, but they sure are a maintenance headache. At any given point, it seems we have to choose which major project to drop lots of money on. Most recently, it was a new roof. You would not believe what the wood looked like when they took off the shingles. Previous owners had actually used boards spaced out horizontally instead of sheets of plywood. No wonder we had rolling waves in the roof and lots of leaks!

        I’ll look into that company. Thanks.


        • Dennis Says:

          The foam is injected from the outside of the building. I had one sheet of sheetrock blow loose and a lot of foam leak at the sill (was OK to me, if foam leaking the wind was also) My experence on the money pit is to take the highest bid and triple it to get close to final cost.


  5. Sentient American Says:

    Cats are the nemesis of mice. Small dogs, like a rat terrier, work really well also.


  6. Devon Says:

    Cats work great but traps are crap. With traps you will NEVER get rid of all of your mice. Try poison.



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