Mice in the house

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Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17
Mice in the house

Help! I'm overrun with mice and they have been devastating the indoor plants and seed pots under lights in my basement. At least I no longer hear them scurrying around in the overhead dropped basement ceiling when I sit at the computer to write about it since I started to put out poison - the one that is supposed to dry them up - from the hardware store and every morning they have completely eaten the bowl of it I put out every day. One day I'll probably find a pile of their bones in a burial ground here?? They seem to be night feeders and there must be an awful lot of them. This morning I find the leaves of some of the bulbs have been bitten off as well - so they seem to be omnivorous. Wonder if a blast of Safer's Soap would stop that? Between the devastations of the rabbits and squirrels outside and the mice inside, it's getting harder and harder to grow anything at all. Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Fran, we always have field mice and voles somehow getting into the house in the fall when the weather gets cold.  I don't set any poison for them in the house, because if a bunch of them die, the decaying carcasses can stink for days. 

Instead, I buy the old fashioned cheapo wood mouse traps.  I bait then with a small smear of peanut butter, which they can't resist, and since it is sticky, they can't as easily escape the trap with morsels of food if baited with a bit of cheese or a nut.  I also position the traps so that it can only be approached in the "dangerous direction"... placing the traps up on a narrow ledge, or use pieces of wood or boxes to block sideways access.  Already got about a dozen this season so far... I don't hear them scratching around anymore, but I always leave a few traps baited in case more make their way inside.

The traps are so inexpensive that if one is squeamish, through away the mouse and trap together, rather than reusing the trap.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Schier
Schier's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-02-16

Frances, it's a bad year here for mice too, but I would guess it is everywhere,
every year, seems like.
I know what you mean about it being hard to grow anything with all the critters
that chow down so much of our carefully grown green stuff!
Alas, I don't have a basement to even grow seedlings, only a chilly pumphouse,
which is kept at a cool greenhouse temp., but when I start seedlings and grow them
on in there or my little greenhouse, there are ALWAYS mice. And why does it seem
they go for the stuff that's seems most difficult to get up and growing? haha
Anyway, we finally gave in and put poison in the pumphouse, but yes, still they
come. so, I made 3 or 4 frame type things that fit over top the seedlings, then I tack on
some of that cheap screening that you can buy at the hardware store.  ( Kind of like
a long and low coffee table with no top makes up the frame ) That stops them cold, of course, but depending on how many plants you have, it could be a pain in the neck.
I've also tried traps just around the plants but I do hate that, and even so, many can make it through the minefield! ( I see Mark just beat me to it about the traps in his post but I agree with him about the squeamish part, and throwing the trap and all away if you have to )

Faith S.   Gardening in central Alberta climate, from min. -44 c to max. 36+ C. ( not often! ) Avg. annual precip. ~ 48 cm  Altitude ~ 820 m. Have "frying pan gardens" up around the house, and also some woodland areas down the pa

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

I don't have any sophisticated answers, but after years of dealing with mice/voles in our house (mine is almost 200 years old, so it's a literal goldmine for these rodents), I now have 3 cats. That's the answer for me. At least one is always cruising the house overnight, and I not only don't have a problem in the garden, my house is now free of rodents as well. The food and cat litter are modest prices to pay for the honor of being rodent-free. And although they are outside a good deal as well, they are always in at night since we have fishers and coyotes here, which enjoy a nice cat dinner if they get one. And given their preference for rodents, the local bird population is not affected at all. In the past 4 years I've found only a handful of birds dead on the property, and almost all of them seemed to have died 'naturally.'

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

You have your computer in the basement, too!  People always give me guff since mine is in an unfinished room.  But without air conditioning, it is a nice respite in the summer dog days.

I also use the cheap wooden snap traps.  You don't need much peanut butter, and I only put it inside the role of the trigger.  That forces the little buggers to work for it, and they never get away scot-free with the "cheese".

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

I also use the cheap wooden snap traps.  You don't need much peanut butter, and I only put it inside the role of the trigger.  That forces the little buggers to work for it, and they never get away scot-free with the "cheese".

Exactly what I do... putting a small smear on the "role of the trigger".. wasn't sure best to convey that! I do reuse the traps if I find and dump the vermin soon enough after the kill; if it goes unnoticed for a couple days, then I might toss the whole thing out.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

Our house was so infested with mice that we had to wash all the utensils, plates, bowls, etc., before using them, and when the oven was turned on, the smell was revolting. Mice would wave at us while we ate dinner.
We finally found the holes where they were entering the house, and stopped them up with steel wool.
The mouse population here has been reduced to almost zero thanks to the influx of some very large snakes.
My wife used the usual steel traps, which I found objectionable, so eventually we turned to the Tin Cat. You put peanut butter in it, and a mouse goes in to get the peanut butter, is trapped, and apparently attracts other mice by pheromones or crying about peanut butter or some mouse thing.
The mice sit in the Tin Cat, sweating, all night, until you empty it in a field, or your neighbor's yard. The smell of frightened mice is pretty strong.

Bob

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

We too get a number of mice inside every fall. They never (or almost never) manage to enter the rooms but roam inside the walls and roof insulating.
(BTW what do you call the layer between the ceiling in one floor and the floorboards in the next floor where the beams and insulating material lie?)

When we get tired of them we use old fashion wooden trap with bait like carrot. Have never tried peanut butter but I will ;D I like it too.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

I also grow cats and that takes care of all the rodents inside and out!!!!

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I do not grow cats but the neighbours do. However I think they (the cats that is) are fed to well and don't bother chasing mice. Some of them are sleeping the days off in my beds and they pay with some nasty smelling stuff I could do without >:(

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

The replies to my Mice message are delightful reading - really had a good laugh at Bob Nold's remedy - must look for a "tin cat" - I'm allergic to the real ones.  I have tried to create some rather crude looking structures in the garden - Asphodeline lutea, overwhich stands a tall, wobbly home made "tunnel", has some lovely, unmutilated leaves at the moment and perhaps, after many tries with this, there should be some nice flowers next spring.  I like your idea of blocking the escape routes from your traps, Mark, and will certainly give that one a try as well. And yes, they are quite furtive and only now and again does one actually see them - the other day, as I was sitting here typing, what looked like a vole actually fell down from somewhere up there but beat a hasty retreat before I could actually get a good look at it.  Didn't realize that the dried up corpses had a bad smell - so far haven't noticed it - but this year seems to be the very worst so far as others of you have said.  Thanks for all the ideas.  Fran

Frances Howey
London, Ontario, Canada
Zone 5b

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