home organization tips &ideas
Keeping the Varmints Out of Your Kitchen
No, I'm not talking about your spouse and kids. I'm talking about mice. Eeeek! One ran under my feet the other day and I felt like I was in a cartoon. I didn't jump on a chair, but I did have to catch my breath and put on my battle gear.
Because I live in an old house, I’ve been plagued by mice for many years. Each fall when I see the signs, I think ugh, here we go again. This newsletter is going to make it sound like I'm really interested in mice. I'm not. I'm just interested in living without mice. Working in the kitchen is a drag when there are signs of mice everywhere.
I’ve decided to get smarter this year about how I deal with mice. And because mice are a universal problem and can cause potential health risks, I thought you might be interested too.
How to Tell if You have Mice
We like to look the other way when we see these signs. At least I do because acknowledging them means baiting and setting messy, fussy, yucky traps. And then if I’m lucky, after a moment of silence it means putting the dead mouse in a little baggie and walking it straight out to the trash so it doesn’t stink up the indoor trash. Sometimes it means throwing the whole mousetrap away because it’s just too gross to handle or the mouse won’t “let go.” Is anybody else out there cringing and making a face besides me?
Why Wage War on Mice?
Besides the fact that mice are pests, there are other more serious reasons why we want to keep them outside:
Out of Denial and into Action
To help us get out of denial and act quickly, it’s helpful to read about the habits of mice and how fast they can get out of hand. For example, by the time you see signs of them, they’ve already gotten married, set up housekeeping and have found all of the sources of food they need.
Did you know that mice can breed 35 days after they’re born? No wonder they take over so fast. Although they usually live only about a year, if all their offspring lived and reproduced at a similar rate, one pair of house mice could produce a population of more than 500 mice in one year. This is a good reason to act quickly at the first signs of them.
More Mouse Facts I Found Interesting - skip down past the stuff about rats....to read about mice
The best way to control mice is to prevent their entry. They can enter through very small openings (1/4 inch in diameter or larger). Popular entry points include foundations, around garage doors, utility pipes and wires passing into the house, and basement windows that do not seal correctly.
I've heard that they won't chew through steel wool, so I’m going to stock up on that and caulk this weekend. Any other tips for plugging mouse holes in and around the house?
More Prevention Tips
Tips on Successfully Eliminating Mice
A Better Mouse Trap
I did a Google search on this term “building a better mouse trap” and 168,000 results came up. Popular subject. Yes?
In my local discount store I talked with a couple of other customers and the sales person about which products work best. I don’t use poison because the mouse can die between the walls and stink everything up and because one of my cats was poisoned by a neighbor’s poison stored in his garage. So I am interested in other products that work well.
I found a cool new trap by Victor that is
much easier to set and bait than the old types I used to use. Here’s a picture
You just squeeze one end to set or release it without having to handle the messy parts or snap your fingers off. I love that. I got a better deal at the discount store than the price listed here.
Here are various kinds of traps and how to bait them:
FAQs About Mice and Mousetraps:
At the discount store I also discovered a variety of electronic devices that drive out pets by disturbing their nervous sytems. Shaped somewhat like a night light, they plug in near food or potential nesting material and emit a continuous high frequency -- unnoticeable to humans or pets -- that sends rodents packing. I bought two for about $18. They seem to work, but I did see one mouse the other day. After I wrote this piece, I heard that the mice get used to them and the traps stop working. Tonight I saw signs that this is true. Do any of you have experience with these devices?
To read more about them, go here:
If you have any bits of wisdom to share about controlling or eliminating mice, please email me and I'll share the tips with the rest of the group.
I’ve read or heard about using moth balls, sheets of bounce, Coke, or cakes of soap cut into slices and cubes. Do these work?