Well, it’s been a while since I’ve invited all of you to ask your most pressing questions, but this week I’m back with one that has even been vexing our esteemed Councilman!
How Do I Get Rid of a Mouse in my House?
Raise your hand if you’ve had mice in your house. (Okay, put them down. You’re at work and your coworkers are staring.) It’s the time of year that the cute but pesky (dirty, annoying, thieving, eating, pooping) vermin tend to invade our homes seeking warmth and snacks. The first one I had, I sort of hemmed and hawed because it was sort of cute, you know? But, when I discovered that the little bastard and his friends had eaten an entire bag of my dog’s food, we went to war. That first year, I lucked out – I put out the black plastic snap traps you can find at Frager’s and a few days (and 3 mouse carcasses later) my mouse problem was solved. (I don’t believe the theory that if you have one, you have hundreds – I mean, maybe, but that’s never been the case at my house.) Admittedly, one of those carcasses was produced when I vanquished one with my sneaker, but mostly the snap traps (laced with peanut butter) were good.
The next year, the invaders had gotten sneakier – snap traps weren’t getting it. I put out sticky traps, but ultimately I killed one with a funnel (it happened to be in my hand), my trusty schnoodle Ramona killed the other and again – we were rid of our unwanted guests. (If only getting rid of the human kind were that easy… )
So basically, my mouse disposal success has come down to luck. Don’t want to rely on that? Well, I’ve got a few suggestions (with pros and cons for each).
Just want them gone? Poison is the plan. This is the quickest and most efficient method to rid yourself of the critters. There are a lot of downsides to poison though, the first being, duh, it’s poison. So it’s off-limits if you’ve got pets or kids. (Just because you put the poison up high where your pup can’t get to it, doesn’t mean that the mouse isn’t going to eat it and then get eaten by your pet, which can be harmful or fatal to Fluffy.) But, if you’re looking for a swift and efficient kill – this is the way to go.
Snap Traps are usually a good line of defense. Like I said, I’ve had success with the plastic ones in the past, but not so much recently. (Oh, yeah – I have at least one in my house right now.) I know some people who swear by the old fashioned wooden ones, smeared with peanut butter and/or cheese – but in my experience, these are part of a good strategy, but not enough on their own. I’ve been left with more than one snap trap clean of food, but empty of corpse. The downside: you’re going to have to handle the carcasses.
Sticky Traps are another piece of a good defense, but like their snapping counterparts, I don’t think they are sufficient on their own. Sticky traps also suck for the squeamish since once the mouse is trapped, it’s not dead and requires some hand-to-hand combat to finish the job.
You don’t want to kill Mickey? Fine, but you better drive him out to the country to release him or else he’s coming back inside either to your house or your neighbor’s and that is not cool. Frager’s has a variety of “humane” traps that I’ve been told have varying degrees of success. I get that mice are God’s creatures too and for whatever reason some folks may wish to keep their rodent invaders alive, but again, I must beg you, not to release them anywhere near anyone’s house.
The pacifists can also try a sonar repellent which I’ve heard (har har) are quite efficient. They say that it’s inaudible to other non-rodent pets (obviously these are a bad plan if you’ve got rabbits, guinea pigs etc.) but I’m not sure I believe that and am frankly unwilling to test it out on Ramona the (Rodent) Destroyer.
The last tip I’ve heard is moth balls. Mice are repelled by the odor, but they’re also poisonous to your pets and well, they smell like moth balls. If you can deal with the smell and keep them out of reach of Fido, this seems like a not terrible way to keep the undesirables away and it does double duty keeping the flying nasties away as well.
So, there you have it – my comprehensive guide to staying rodent-free this winter. I recommend a combination of several of the above techniques, since you’re better safe than sorry. Of course, there are professionals trained to manage this for you – I know Claudia has one that she gives raves. Perhaps she’ll share in the comments?