Local view: The key is to fight mice on their own turf
For decades, our home was terrorized by mice. No more. We live in an older home. It was built by my grandfather in 1912 from lumber cut in the surrounding forest and sawed on the farm sawmill. The wood has shrunk considerably during its nearly 10...
For decades, our home was terrorized by mice. No more.
We live in an older home. It was built by my grandfather in 1912 from lumber cut in the surrounding forest and sawed on the farm sawmill. The wood has shrunk considerably during its nearly 100 years as part of the house.
During the first few years we lived there, conditions were primitive. It was cold and drafty and barely kept the forest creatures out of our bedroom. There were squirrels living in the attic and porcupines in the crawlspace beneath the floors. Mice were ubiquitous. In 1976, we had had our fill of wildlife. We remodeled and built a basement beneath the old structure. The newly remodeled house proved to be much more comfortable and the porcupines were gone, for sure.
But because the house was built entirely of rough-sawed lumber, locating every crack and crevice proved to be a challenge. Even though we have plastered, caulked and thoroughly weatherized the structure, mice still found their way into our living areas.
About four years ago, we had a terrible invasion of them. I was forced to start a trap line. I had 13 old-fashioned wooden Victor mousetraps set at various locations in the living quarters and basement. We trapped about 30 mice in a few days and eight in one night!
We had to stop storing cooking utensils beneath the kitchen cabinets because we could not keep them clean. One night, an unusual episode caused me to declare all-out war: I had a mouse leap into my hair as I was dozing on the couch! I had had enough.
I reasoned that because the mice could be eliminated temporarily by trapping, and infestation did not reoccur for weeks, the mice must be invading from safer territory. The garage and barn were locations I suspected of harboring these invading armies. I decided to take my War on Mice to those locations. I would fight them there so that I would not have to fight them at home.
I constructed two simple mousetraps from five-gallon plastic buckets. An inch or two of water was poured into each bucket. A little dab of peanut butter was placed above the open bucket. The idea was to get the mice to fall into the bucket when trying to eat the peanut butter. The mice quickly would drown.
I immediately started catching mice. Lots of mice. I would accumulate so many dead mice in the bottom of each bucket that the water would barely be visible. It soon developed into an ugly, smelly, repulsive mess, but it was worth it.
We are now almost mouse-free. We rarely have a mouse invade our house as long as I maintain an offensive presence in the garage and barn. However, about a month ago, little black droppings appeared one morning on our kitchen cupboard. I trapped four mice in the kitchen in the next couple of days. The cause? The five-gallon mousetrap in the garage had tipped over.
So I have learned my lesson: I must continually take the War on Mice to the barn and garage. I must fight them in foreign territory. If I take the battle to the breeding ground of the invaders, we can live a life within our own home almost free of the furry, scurrying, long-tailed terrorists.
Robin Berglund of Poplar is a software consultant who taught math and science at area public schools and colleges for many years.